Forklift Battery Replacement, Watering and other FAQs
Why do forklift batteries need water? How long will my battery list? Should I recondition my old forklift battery?
We answer these and other frequently asked questions about forklift batteries in today’s post.
How long does it take to charge an electric forklift battery?
Typically, electric forklift batteries take eight hours to charge and need an additional eight hours to cool down before use.
When should I replace my forklift battery?
Physical signs such as corrosion on the battery case, or a rotten egg smell are clear indicators your forklift battery is on its last leg. A forklift that is difficult to handle may be caused by poor response time and a weak battery.
How long will my forklift battery last?
A forklift battery is designed to last an entire eight-hour shift on a full charge, but this can vary based on the age of the battery and how hard the equipment is working. A truck that doesn’t travel much doing minimal lifts might get twelve hours off one charge. Conversely, an older battery on a truck doing heavy lifts might last only three hours. The lifetime of an average forklift battery is five years or 1,500 cycles. The five-year average assumes the battery is charged once per day, 300 days per year with infrequent fast-charging and deep-discharging.
Should I replace or recondition my battery?
The cost of a forklift battery is not insignificant. In fact, the battery represents about 30% of the vehicle’s cost. Reconditioning can save money, but it’s not right for everyone.
Reconditioned batteries: The good, the bad and the ugly
The good: reconditioning a battery saves money in the short to medium term. Also, by using fewer batteries over time, there is an environmental benefit.
The bad: not all batteries can be reconditioned. Each cell in the battery must be tested to verify the voltage. Some models can still be reconditioned at 80%, but past this point an older battery needs to be replaced. Also, reconditioning takes your equipment offline for one to two business days.
The ugly: reconditioned batteries don’t last as long, only three to four hours per charge. For this reason, reconditioned batteries make sense only for single-shift operations where the equipment is used infrequently throughout the day.
Why do I need water in my forklift battery?
Water protects the active material that lives on plates inside the battery. If the water level drops too low, the active material dries out and becomes brittle. This permanently damages the battery and shortens its useful life.
However, you never want to overfill a battery. An overfilled battery can overflow, spilling sulfuric acid that burns skin and erodes floors.
Add deionized or distilled water after every five to ten charges (check manufacturer recommendations), and always top up after charging – never before.
We hope we’ve answered your industrial battery questions. If not, give us a shout. Total Industries is not “just another” forklift service department. Our qualified service technicians maintain and service all forms of material handling equipment including: forklifts, balers, crushers, sweepers, scrubbers, aerial lifts, conveyors, and more!