Forklift Maintenance Checklist


When operating heavy machinery and material handling equipment like a forklift it is vital that you make sure to carry out daily safety checks, no matter how confident you feel using it or how safe you ‘think’ it may be.

Think of it like driving your car. Just because you know exactly how it drives, no matter the weather, the conditions of the road, in daylight or evenings, would you reverse without checking your mirrors or your blindspot? Would you set off on a long journey without checking how much petrol you have in the tank, or how much oil you have? No. Therefore your forklift safety should be no different.

But what exactly should you be looking out for throughout your checks? Here at Permatt, we are one of the largest independent material handling suppliers in the UK and alongside renting and selling Forklift Trucks, we can also offer our wealth of knowledge in Forklift Maintenance, Breakdown, Examination and Forklift Training to name a few; so keep reading our forklift maintenance checklist to know what to monitor and look out for with your material handling equipment. Preventative maintenance on forklifts is a good habit to avoid unnecessary future damage.



Safety is paramount with any heavy machinery. The first consideration before operation of the forklift should be to make sure you are fully trained. Having a forklift checklist for daily reference will allow the operator to become familiar with the safety checks – try make use of the checklist daily.

  • The cleanliness and condition of your forklift should be free of any lint, grease or oil.
  • Check your surrounding area where the forklift is housed. Make sure to clear any objects or obstacles that could get in your way and cause an accident. Safety is paramount and sometimes the little things can be missed. Don’t forget to look up and check there is no overhead obstructions that would interfere with the forklift operation.
  • Check the tyres – Between the condition and tyre pressure, ensure that they have enough tread on to man all weathers. Make sure to check that there is no visible damage and they aren’t looking deflated before you head out onto a task and that there are no tears or punctures.
  • Examine the forks – Check the condition, ensuring that they are not loose or unlevel. Check the carriage teeth are not broken, chipped or worn. The forks will more than likely be lifting and transporting heavy objects, so it is vital to make sure that there is no visible damage and they are secure and safe to perform efficiently and safely.
  • Look out for leaks – Nobody wants a leaky engine! Oil or petrol/diesel spill can spell trouble for your employee’s health and safety – not to mention the performance of your forklift engine. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that there are no faults in the condition before switch-on.
  • Engine oil / Brake fluid / Radiator coolant – Just like you would with your car, use the dipstick to check your oil fluid levels, brake fluid and radiator coolant. These fluid levels all contribute to the performance of your truck and forklift running smoothly. The last thing you want is to run your forklift dry resulting in costly repairs!
  • Seat belt – A seat belt is a vital piece of safety equipment for any vehicle, especially your forklift. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your seat belt is attached correctly, that it is untangled and it is secure in keeping you safe and in place.
  • The overhead guard to protect the forklift operator from falling objects should be intact and have no visibly damaged areas.
  • Forklift operators manual – It is important and always helpful to keep your operators manual handy when you are operating any material handling equipment for peace of mind if anything were to go wrong, break down or cause difficulty.

Forklift maintenance


Before you turn the forklift’s ignition on, make sure you carry out these checks while your forklift truck is stationary. Checking the operation of the forklift at this stage is preventative maintenance, ensuring the operator’s safety.

  • Press the footbrake pedal. It should hold and when pressed the forklift should stop smoothly.
  • Test that the parking brake holds the forklift against a slight acceleration.
  • Check the forklift lift mechanism by raising and lowering the forks. Also, check the tilt mechanism by tilting the mast as far forward and backwards as it will allow. Both should move smoothly and holds without difficulty.
  • The emergency brake also is known as the deadman seat brake, should activate when the operator rises from the seat of the forklift.
  • There should be no damage to the clutch or gear stick, the operation should be smooth and if make note if you experience any jumping or jerking.

Forklift maintenance


  • The noise – Turn the ignition of your forklift truck on and the first thing you should inspect is the noise that your forklift truck is making. Are there any unusual loud sounds? Anything that feels out of the ordinary – note down and flag up with a senior team member.
  • Check your lights and alert sounds – With some forklift models, you may have brake lights and reverse lights/alarms. This is a standard safety procedure to ensure it is functioning as it should, to alert your colleagues that you are around.
  • Steering operation – The steering wheel on your forklift should be running smoothly and when the engine is switched on it should be able to turn lightly. If you experience any difficulty or heavy steering, make sure to carry out further maintenance checks!
  • Fork control – You should be able to control the forks with ease once the forklift truck is in motion. Make sure that you can move, tilt and lift with the forks to ensure that they are in place and secure.
  • Sound your horn – You never know when a hazard could arise when you are operating a heavy piece of machinery. The best way of warning any members of the public or colleagues who could be close by is by sounding your horn. This will alert them and make them aware that your forklift is nearby. Forklift maintenance


When performing this checklist to guide you on forklift safety and regular maintenance, it is important to take action on any issues that have arisen from your forklift checklist straight away. Here at Permatt, we can keep you running with our Forklift Maintenance services. We can provide you with regular maintenance contracts that cover your Servicing and Breakdown needs for every type of forklift truck machinery.


We offer packages of cover based on three months, six months or on an annual basis. Depending on the usage of the forklift truck itself.

Within your Contract Cover, there is also the yearly ‘Thorough Examination’ included which ensures that you have met the British Safety Law with your forklift equipment. It takes little to no time to carry out the servicing and examining of a forklift piece of equipment. We can come and visit your workplace to inspect your premises at any time during the working day.

If your forklift does happen to need extra care then we can happily provide a replacement truck for your company use until we get your original up and running once again!


We provide a two-hour forklift breakdown recovery from customers all over the North East and Cumbria on a 24-hour basis. We know how important your forklift truck is to your business and how any problems can cause major delays to material handling movements, therefore if you experience any issues with your machine, get in touch with our team here at Permatt by calling 0191 216 5320 or via our email address

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