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Forklift FAQs - Batteries, Tires, Pricing and More

by Pete Thomas on August 29, 2019
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Forklift FAQs - Buying and Maintenance Questions Answered-1Purchasing and operating a forklift can be complicated.  So in today’s post, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about forklifts including:

We’ll also cover:

How Much Does a Forklift Cost?

A new forklift can cost between $15,000 - $30,000 depending on capacity, tires and fuel type. Generally speaking, an electric forklift will cost about 50 percent more than a comparable internal combustion (IC) forklift.

So why are electric forklifts so popular? Because their operating costs are 85-95 percent lower than a diesel or propane forklift. Learn more about forklift pricing

Toyota makes the world's #1 forklift. Low cost of ownership, superior safety features and reliability (well-maintained Toyotas frequently go 10,000 - 20,000 hours without major repairs) make the Toyota forklift a top choice for buyers across dozens of industries.

Toyota forklifts are also made in the USA.

 

Different Types of Forklifts

OSHA uses different classifications to categorize forklifts, pallet jacks, order pickers and other material handling equipment. Below is a quick run-down, you can read our article about forklift classifications for more detail.
  • Class I: Electric Motor Rider Trucks
  • Class II: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks (such as order pickers)
  • Class III: Electric Motor Hand Trucks (Pallet Jacks)
  • Class IV: Internal Combustion Engine Forklifts with Cushion Tires
  • Class V: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks with Pneumatic Tires
  • Class VI: Electric and IC Tractors (Tow Tractors and Tuggers)
  • Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks

forklift-types-credit-MMH-1Image credit: Modern Materials Handling

Forklift Capacity - How Much Do You Need?

When buying a forklift, choosing the forklift’s capacity is one of the most critical decisions. It’s not as simple as knowing your heaviest load. The load center and attachments can significantly impact capacity. For example, a forklift with a 10,000 lb. capacity using an attachment with a max capacity of 5,000 lbs., means the maximum load your machine can lift is 5,000 lbs.

Read our forklift capacity article to learn more about:

  • How to choose the right capacity 
  • Rated capacity vs. net/payload capacity
  • How much can a forklift actually lift?
  • What is load center?

 

How to Decode Your Forklift’s Data Plate

Your forklift’s data plate includes important details such the maximum weight the forklift can handle and other useful info.  Data points #1 and #10 in the diagram below show  you how to find a forklift's capacity using the data plate. For a complete breakdown, read our full article how to understand your forklift's data plate.

1) Model number: The model number of your Toyota forklift contains a lot of useful information.  For example, a THD2200-24 has a 22,000 lb carrying capacity at a 24” load center.

10) Rated Capacity Chart: This is where you’ll find important information including:
The horizontal and vertical load center
The maximum fork height
The maximum distance the forks can be offset from forklift’s center line
The maximum rated lifting capacity

Toyota Forklift data plate explained how to read


How to Choose the Right Forklift Mast

Another important consideration when buying a new or used forklift is the mast. Here are the most common types:

Single stage masts have limited lift heights and are best for outdoor applications or environments where overhead clearance is not an issue
2-stage
also known as a duplex, offers great visibility and is ideal for moving loads in trailers
3-stage
is the most versatile forklift mast and most popular, a good choice for general warehouse applications
4-stage
aka "quad masts" are designed for very high stacking and allow for a shorter collapsed height when compared to a 3-stage with equivalent maximum fork height.

 

How Long Will an Average Forklift Last?

Two forklifts that are the same age (in years) can have vastly different life expectancies. That’s because forklift “age” is measured in hours.

The average lifespan of a forklift is 10,000 hours. For a single-shift operation with an 8-hour workday,  a well-maintained forklift should last about five years.  Toyota forklifts, often last more than 20,000 hours, making them an excellent investment.

 

Forklift Tires - What You Need to Know

There are two main options for forklift tires: cushion for indoor applications, and pneumatic for primarily outdoor applications. Pneumatic tires come in two types, air and solid rubber.

- Air pneumatics are similar to tires used on cars and other passenger vehicles.
- Solid pneumatics are made of solid rubber so they’re not affected by nails, screws, or other debris.

Learn more about forklift tires, including when to replace them (with photos).

Forklift Battery Do's and Don'ts

A new forklift battery will last a single-shift operation about five years (on average). Proper care and maintenance, plus paying attention to some do’s and don’ts can prolong battery life up to ten years. For example:
  • Recharge the battery at when it drops to 20-30% - don’t let it drop below 20%
  • Always allow your battery to charge completely
  • Avoid extreme temperatures
  • Don’t charge the battery during lunch breaks unless you’re set up for opportunity charging
  • Add deionized or distilled water every 5-10 charges (always follow manufacturer guidelines)
  • Clean the top of each battery every month battery with cleaner or warm water
    Learn more about forklift battery watering and other forklift battery FAQs .

Still have questions? We’re happy to help. Contact us online or by phone. Toyota Material Handling Northern California (TMH) is  a family-owned business dedicated to helping people solve their material handling problems.

SF Bay Area - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

Further Reading
Forklift Operator Training FAQs
When to Choose an Electric Vs. LPG Forklift
How to Change the Propane Tank on a Forklift
CARB Fleet Regulation Requirements 

Questions smart forklift buyers ask.

Topics: Forklift FAQs

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