Which Forklift Oils and Lubricants Are The Best - feature image from Canva

Which Forklift Oils and Lubricants Are The Best?

It’s that time of the year again when your forklift needs oiling and lubricating. Having a rusty forklift and one that runs jittery can be very aggravating. Not only is it aggravating, but it can also be dangerous operating a forklift that’s not been properly oiled. 

Having said that, here are some forklift oils and lubricants your forklift needs. 

Types of Forklift Oils and Lubricants 

Types of Forklift Oils and Lubricants
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Most forklifts use hydraulic fluids to ensure the smooth operation of a well-balanced and designed system in a forklift. It can take many forms that are used for different usages. Here are some of the common hydraulic fluids you can use to oil and lubricate your forklifts. 

1. Synthetic fluid 

These are man-made chains of molecules that are accurately arranged to offer excellent stability, lubricity, and similar performance-enhancing characteristics. These types of lubricants and oils are good for forklifts used in high and low temperatures and in high-pressure situations

The downside to this lubricant, however, is that it tends to be expensive, is toxic, and may not be compatible with some seal materials. 

2. Petroleum fluid (mineral) 

These kinds of lubricants are usually more common than you think. They are made from refining crude to achieved the desired level. Then it’s used as a lubricant with the inclusion of additives on your machines and vehicles, including your forklifts. Petroleum fluids are usually to prevent rust and oxidation inhibitors (RO) and work as anti-wear. Sometimes, people use them as viscosity index improvers. 

Most people use this because it’s a low-cost option compared to synthetics. Furthermore, its performance is comparable when some additive packages are included. 

3. Water-based fluids 

Water-based fluid lubricants are not as common or popular, but they exist. These types of lubricants are needed when there is a high risk of a workplace fire. They tend to be more expensive than the other 2 lubricants we have mentioned above but are less expensive than synthetics. That may have been a contributing reason why it’s not as popular. They do offer great protection but they are quite lacking on wear protection abilities. 

Viscosity Index 

Viscosity Index
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Lubricants and oils come in viscosity, without a doubt. When choosing the right hydraulic fluid, consider the following: 

Viscosity: Measures the resistance to flow and shear. Higher viscosity fluid will flow with higher resistance than one with low viscosity. If the viscosity gets too excessive, it can contribute to high fluid temperature and produce a lot of energy consumption. If the viscosity gets too high or low, it can damage your forklifts. Just make sure your forklift gets the right viscosity in lubrication. 

Viscosity Index: How the viscosity of fluid changes with the temperature. A high index means the viscosity will maintain itself over a broader temperature range than one with low viscosity index. You can find how lubricants with high viscosity index are used in extreme temperatures. Those are usually used outdoors. 

Oxidation Stability: This is to see how the lubricant is resistant to heat-induced degradation caused by chemical reaction to oxygen. Oxidation can dramatically reduce the life of a lubricant and turn into sludge and varnish. If it turns to sludge or varnish, it can easily interfere with valve functioning and resist flow passageways. 

Wear Resistance: What good is a lubricating oil if it does not help with wear and tear prevention or reduction. The lubricant has to have the ability to reduce the wear and tear rate in frictional boundary contacts. Find one that’s good enough to prevent any wear in your forklifts. 

Application Selection 

Application Selection
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After knowing what the different types of lubricants are, you will of course need to find out how they are applied. Usually, a lot of people will just go by application-based uses, and that would be on a trial-and-error basis. This is not recommended as it can be time-consuming and can jeopardize the forklift. 

Following OEM specifications and instructions will not be enough to ensure how the oils and lubricants are selected. 

To Make Things Easier To Understand… 

To Make Things Easier To Understand…
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To make things simpler to understand for your readers is that when choosing the right lubricant, you should look into the temperature. The temperature is where it determines the viscosity of the lubricant or oil. How do you check which is the best temperature? By looking at the forklift oil description. 

The first number describes the viscosity at lower temperatures. The 2nd one refers to the thickness during operation, or during warmer and colder temperatures. When operating at a lower temperature, lower viscosity will perform better. 


The bottom line is that there are several kinds of lubricants made for forklifts. Make sure you use the appropriate lubricant with the right viscosity to prevent any damages to your forklift. 

If you need any assistance on changing your forklift lubricant, please feel free to reach out to us.


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