Can Your Business Operate Without A Dock Leveler For 2-3 Months?

Dock levelers are essential at most warehouses and distribution centers. They create a bridge between trailers of different sizes and allow for fast, safe loading and unloading.

What would happen if you didn’t have your dock leveler for three months? Due to supply shortages, the current lead time for a new dock leveler (also known as a pit leveler) is 14-16 weeks. Because Total Industries is a preferred vendor, we can often get a replacement in as little as 6-8 weeks. 

In any case, now is very bad time to have your dock leveler break. That’s why we’re offering free dock leveler safety inspections. It only takes an hour, and you can avoid months of hassle and lost productivity. NOTE: the request form is for a complete loading dock safety inspection, but we can focus on just your dock leveler if you prefer.

Not sure if your dock leveler needs to be inspected? Read on to review signs your dock leveler may need service and how long the average dock leveler should last if well-maintained.

Dock Leveler Inspections: The Next Best Thing to a Crystal Ball

Maybe your dock leveler is working fine, and a safety inspection seems unnecessary. Fair point. But if your dock leveler is getting up there in years, our free, one-hour inspection may can you avoid the nasty consequences of being without a dock leveler for weeks (or even months). 

You may be wondering: how long do dock levelers last?

  • Mechanical dock levelers should last 5-7 years, if properly maintained
  • Hydraulic dock levelers last about 10 years, when properly maintained

Signs Your Loading Dock Leveler Needs to be Repaired Vs. Replaced

If your edge of dock leveler is functional…but not working perfectly, now is not the time to roll the dice and hope it won’t fail. As mentioned above, you’ll be waiting 6-8 weeks minimum for a replacement.

Here are some of the most common dock leveler problems that can (and should) be repaired before they trigger bigger problems:

  • The leveler doesn’t come up with you pull the chain (mechanical levelers)
  • The dock leveler makes a weird noise (hydraulic levelers)
  • The lip won’t come out or won’t stay out

Unless there’s an underlying issue, our experienced technicians can typically fix the problems above in a single visit. While the tech is on-site, they can also inspect and service the mechanical and electric parts of your dock leveler to keep it from failing unexpectedly.

Signs your dock leveler may need to be replaced:

  • The lip is bent
  • The deck plate is warped
  • The plate lifts up when driven over

If your loading dock leveler has any of the issues above, get a professional inspection. It’s just a matter of time until that dock leveler will fail.

Tips To Prolong the Life of Your Dock Leveler

Below are some tips you can share with your staff to help ensure your pit leveler lasts a long time. 

  • Position the dock leveler with at least 8 inches of overlap on each end
  • Don’t drop dock levelers into position, be somewhat gentle
  • Lower the hydraulic dock leveler to ground level when not in use
  • Don’t exceed the load capacity; remember to account for the forklift and the operator weight in addition to the load

If being without a dock leveler for several weeks sounds like a headache and a half, why not schedule a free loading dock leveler inspection? As mentioned above, the request form is for a loading dock safety assessment, but we can focus on just your dock leveler if that’s what you’d prefer.

Free loading dock safety assessments are free to businesses in the Bay Area, Fresno, Sacramento and the Central Coast. If you’re reading this in, say, Vegas or Hawaii, the inspection is free, but you have to pay for the airfare and hotel.

Let us know how we can help. Contact us online or by phone. 

Bay Area – Livermore (510) 379-5210
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
Dock Locks and Vehicle Restraints
How Dock Levelers Drastically Improve Loading Dock Safety
Warehouse Safety Audit: Checklist & Tips