When a forklift breaks down, you want it repaired quickly and done right the first time. The best way to ensure your lift truck repair is done correctly in the shortest amount of time is to call in an experienced, factory-trained forklift mechanic, also known as a master forklift technician.
Toyota Material Handling of Northern California (TMH) has more than 110 factory-trained technicians to handle forklift repair calls on any make or model of forklift from our locations in the Bay Area, Fresno, Sacramento and Salinas. Of those 110 technicians, approximately two-thirds hold a master-level certification.
In today’s post we’ll explain:
- The difference between a forklift technician and a mechanic
- The value of having a master technician work on your lift truck
- The extensive experience, testing and training it takes to become a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Toyota Master Forklift Technician
A forklift technician understands the technical reasons why something needs repair where a mechanic will focus primarily on the mechanical reasons. A mechanic might spend several hours trying different fixes because they're not entirely sure what's wrong. Our forklift technicians try not to exceed two hours troubleshooting a downed piece of equipment.
What’s the value of working with a master forklift technician?
A master forklift technician knows what to look for and where the issues are going to be, which means a lot less downtime. If you have someone that’s looking at a truck for ten hours, that’s ten hours the customer can’t move product. An experienced technician can diagnose and fix the same problem in just an hour or two.
Also, someone who isn’t trained by the factory is going to do a lot of backyard mechanic stuff like cutting and splicing into the wire harnesses. Every time you cut into a wire and make a spliced wire connection, you add a resistance point which can create bigger problems over time. More than once I’ve been called out to work on a truck and found multiple splices on a single wire. When I see that, I know whoever’s worked on that truck didn’t know how to diagnose the problem.
For a master forklift technician, everything comes easier. I like to compare it to a scene from The Matrix when everything appears as digitized information until Neo realizes his potential. At this point all of that jumbled information becomes clear, recognizable and understandable.
What Does It Take to Become a Toyota Master Technician?
Toyota’s Master Technician Certification Program has four levels of achievement: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Leveling up requires a combination of hands-on experience, technical training courses, and rigorous testing. The program is designed to develop the most well-trained, efficient, and technically competent forklift repair technicians in the industry.
After working for a minimum of 18 months as a shop or field technician at an authorized Toyota Forklift Dealership, a tech can become a Bronze Forklift Technician.
For the bronze-level certification, a technician must complete some prerequisite online training and four classes taught by Toyota-certified trainers (also known as TCTs, we have four on staff at TMH). The technician must score 80% or better on tests and quizzes about Toyota engines and electrical systems.
To reach the silver level, the tech must be employed for three years at an authorized dealer and spend additional time mastering topics such as:
- Electrical/Electronics Systems
- Suspension and Steering
- Engine Repair
- Truck Equipment Auxiliary Power Systems Installation and Repair
To achieve Gold, a technician must have five years experience as a line or field technician for an authorized Toyota Forklift Dealer, complete advanced troubleshooting training, and pass a multi-day, in-person evaluation.
The Gold Forklift Technician evaluation includes a 300+ question exam related to the service and maintenance of Toyota lift trucks. Technicians must assess and repair a “bugged” forklift while being observed and scored on their use of schematics, meters and troubleshooting devices.
The technician must demonstrate s/he knows how to troubleshoot the issue, the evaluators want to see if really know what’s wrong or if you’re just figuring it out by process of elimination. This process prevents missed issues and misdiagnosis.
Also, the technician must be able to explain why a part needs to be changed, they can't just say, "because it's broken." This is all part of doing the job right the first time and providing superior customer service.
The Platinum Forklift Technician certification is the truly elite level. Only the top 10% of Gold-level Technicians receive this special designation. There’s even a display case at Toyota’s North American Headquarters in Columbus, Indiana where every Platinum Tech has a plaque with their name and the dealership name on it.
Toyota’s Platinum Technician Skill Challenge
Some of the best Platinum Techs are invited to an annual challenge at Toyota’s North American Headquarters. Two TMH employees, Dan Hunt and Steve Adams, attended this "best of the best" challenge.
How many master forklift techs work at TMH?
We have 110 total factory-trained forklift technicians. Forty have basic factory training and the other 70 have some level of master tech certification:
21 are Bronze 24 are Silver 9 are Gold 3 are Platinum
When You Call for Forklift Repair, We Send the Best in the Industry
The forklift repair department at TMH is a recognized industry leader. We offer:
- 24/7 emergency repairs on all types and brands of forklifts and material handling equipment including forklifts, balers, crushers, sweepers, scrubbers, aerial lifts, conveyors, and more
- Qualified service technicians arrive in a fully stocked service vehicle equipped with an air compressor and welder and dedicated vans to repair scrubber and sweeper equipment
- Mobile service (we come to you)
- Planned maintenance tailored to your operation and production needs
Our service department is standing by ready to help. Contact the nearest TMH branch by phone or request service online.
East Bay - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091
- Now Hiring Mechanics for Forklift Technician Job Openings
- Get to know our family and what it's like to work for TMH. Read our Employee Spotlights.