Forklift oil leaks are something you should never ignore largely for safety reasons. When you see oil leaking from your forklifts, you should immediately launch an investigation to see how and what contributes to it. The results may surprise you when you realize how it can be dangerous for your forklift and your surroundings.
If you found that there is an oil leak coming from your forklift, you should immediately bring it to a forklift repair shop to have it fixed. Having said, all of that, here are 8 reasons why you should never ignore a forklift oil leak.
Reasons When You Shouldn’t Ignore a Forklift Oil Leak
Forklift oil leaks can be due to a number of reasons. Here are 8 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore it, though the majority is for workplace safety concerns.
1. Catching fire and combustion at the workplace
It’s common sense that oil catches fire when exposed to high heat, fire, sparks, and among other similar elements. Oils are a kind of combustible liquid, so that means they ignite and burn in extreme rapidity.
If your forklift is spilling and leaking oil onto the floor, on employees, or on anything that is in close contact with it, then there’s a good chance that it will catch fire. Sometimes it doesn’t take long before the item catches fire. As long as it is exposed to extreme heat or direct fire, it’ll just ignite just as easily. Even if one of the staff or employees smokes in close proximity to the leaked oil, then there’s a good chance it will ignite a fire.
2. Environmental safety concerns
Not only do oil spills cause fire ignition, but it can also become a safety issue for pedestrians and equipment surrounding it. Oil is slippery by nature and can cause slips and falls for the people around it. It can also cause a forklift operator (and other vehicle drivers) to lose balance when driving. It can result in dangerous injuries, if not life-threatening, and contribute to high compensation claims.
If the leak is from a hydraulic system, then it’s also another cause of concern. Hydraulic fluids in these systems can reach very high temperatures up to 538 degrees Celsius. It can cause severe burns if anyone comes in contact with it.
3. Indicative of problems in your forklifts
When your forklift is leaking oil, it could be the start of a much bigger problem. It’s the kind of problem where it starts from something small and leads to something big when not looked into immediately. To prevent any further damages to your forklift and the surroundings, it’s best that you investigate it immediately and have it solved as soon as possible.
If you see a thick black oil leak (or tanned or dark-colored), then there may be a problem with your forklift’s transmission, axle, differential or steering gears. Get in touch with a professional forklift repairman for help.
4. Overheating problems
Overheating is one of the leading problems of destroying your forklifts. It can damage and destroy the more expensive parts of your forklift, which in turn makes it more expensive for you to repair. The purpose of oiling your forklifts is to make it function smoother and cool the various moving parts in your forklift, not set them on fire.
A lot of forklifts you see have excess gallons of oil in reserve, which are usually used to cool the moving parts. Continuous leakage can deplete these reserves. That can prevent your forklifts from cooling off properly when it needs to. Just because your forklift keeps functioning does not mean that your engine has sufficient oil. Check it regularly to make sure they are topped up.
5. Exposed to harmful contaminants
If your forklift is leaking oil, there’s a good chance it has a breakage or tears somewhere in it. Do you know what that means? That dirt and other contaminants can contaminate your forklift, which can do a lot of harm in the long run.
There’s a good chance that dirt and other dirty particles can enter through the tear in your forklift and break it. It can clog up your filters, valves, and other important parts. Contaminated oil and parts can eventually and potentially damage your engine and other parts of your forklift.
6. Expensive repairs to get your forklift fixed
You read that right. Oil leaks can damage your forklifts. Perhaps the initial repair in the early stages may not cost much. However, in the long run, after a long time of ignoring the oil leak problem, the damages will be very expensive to fix. We will strongly advise you to locate the damages earlier even if it’s just a simple oil leak. Get it fixed early on so it won’t cost you so much money. It’s better than fixing it when it’s too late. You’ll never know if you can even have it fixed by then if given the chance.
7. Costly downtime and loss of work
No bosses like loss of work as it costs and loses a lot of money for the company. If you don’t have the budget to pay for a repair, what some forklift owners will do is periodically stop their forklifts and let it cool. Then they will refill the oils and let them run again.
It doesn’t look like it’s a lot of time, right? However, if you are to add up the short amounts of time and have to do this day after day and week after week, then you will lose a lot of time and money. To be quite honest, all those small money and short amounts of time can add up to a lot over time. It can lead to bigger damages that come with bigger repair costs. Just make sure that you get the damages and leaks repaired as soon as possible.
8. Damaging other parts of your forklift
As mentioned before, oil leaks can cause your forklift to slip. This means it can damage other parts of your forklift such as the tires, masts, and whatnot. That means you will have to fork out more money to replace and repair those damaged parts, which we are sure you don’t want to. Perhaps it’s best that you have it repaired as soon as possible.
The bottom line is that as soon as you found oil leaks coming from your forklift, find a professional forklift solution provider to help you repair it. Do not leave it too long before it does more damages to your forklift and its surroundings.