Keeping your forklift batteries in top condition helps ensure safe and efficient operation of your forklifts. Meanwhile, maintaining your forklift batteries saves you money by helping you get the most out of your equipment. Follow these tips for making your forklift battery last longer.
1. Start Recharging at 20 to 30 Percent
Charge your battery once it reaches 20 to 30 percent of its full charge capacity. If you start the charging process before it’s depleted to this point, you’ll be charging the battery too often. A forklift battery’s lifespan is about 1,500 charges, and the more often you charge your battery, the closer you bring it to the end of its usefulness.
For optimal battery health, don’t let its power drop below 20 percent. If you charge the battery when it’s lower than 20 percent, you risk damaging its performance. For the best balance of longevity and efficient use, begin charging the battery when it’s at 20 to 30 percent charge, and charge it to 100 percent; this takes about eight to 10 hours, which is why many single-shift sites charge their batteries overnight.
2. Add Water After Charging
The next tip for making your forklift battery last longer is to add distilled or deionized water after charging. In the lead-acid battery cell arrangement, lead plates are immersed in an electrolyte that consists of sulfuric acid and distilled or deionized water. The water plays a crucial role by helping ions move between the plates.
While the battery recharges, the water breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen gas. The more this change occurs, the lower the water level falls. Forklift operators should add water after the battery has charged to maintain the balance within the battery to avoid reducing the battery’s usable lifespan.
3. Avoid Sulfation
The top cause of early battery failure is sulfation, which is when the battery has a buildup of lead sulfate crystals. Sulfation interferes with the battery’s normal functioning and can lead to longer required charging times, a buildup of excessive heat, a shortened battery life, and battery failure. To avoid sulfation, store charged batteries at a temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t allow stored batteries to fall below a charge of 12.4 volts.