How Long Does a Forklift Last - feature image

Forklift Lifespan: How Long Does It Last?

Every vehicle will reach the end of its cycle, even with forklifts. A quick search tells us that the average forklift lifespan ranges anywhere from 8,000 hours to 20,000 hours. However, if there’s a failure to keep up with proper maintenance, it can reduce the forklift lifespan by a lot. 

On the other hand, there are some forklift experts who advise that you should pay more attention to the economic lifespan rather than its total forklift lifespan. In layman’s terms, it means you should retire the forklift before it is no longer economical to pay for the forklift’s repairs. For example, a forklift may last 20 years before it 100% breaks down. But instead of retiring it in its 20th year, you should retire it may be in its 18th or 19th year. The main reason to retire a forklift early is not just due to economic reasons but also due to safety reasons too. 

Attributes and Factors That Affects a Forklift’s Lifespan 

Attributes and Factors That Affects a Forklift’s Lifespan
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There are several reasons that may affect a forklift’s lifespan. Here are a few examples of how a forklift lifespan may be reduced. 

1. Periodical maintenance and repairs affect a forklift’s lifespan 

This is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever you bring your forklift for repairs and maintenance, it takes away some of that lifespan. It’s unavoidable. The lifespan of years can be greatly reduced due to abuse from forklift drivers and employees who work alongside it. 

When you take a forklift to a repair shop to have it fixed, it’s only natural that its value will drop. Perhaps one way to have your forklift last longer is to have people properly use it. 

2. Rough usage leads to more forklift damages 

This should not come across as a surprise in all honesty. When you handle a forklift roughly, you will find that it breaks easily. Every time it breaks, you will need to repair it. And every time you repair it, it reduces the lifespan of the forklift. 

The best way to have a functional forklift that works long is to use it properly. Do not use it in areas where it should not be used. Do not use it to carry items that are too heavy for it. Try not to use the forklift to pull and yank heavy objects to the location you want. The long story short is that you should not use the forklift other than carrying items within its weight limit. 

3. Using it in extreme environments 

The environment is a contributing factor to affecting a forklift’s lifespan. You will see how using it in rough terrains can affect mostly the tires. Using the forklift in an extremely hot or cold environment can age it really fast. 

It’s the same thing when you use forklifts for multiple shifts and for prolonged hours. It can age the forklift a lot faster than forklifts that run on just 1 shift. 

The key message here is that you should not use forklifts in extreme environments. There are vehicles made specifically for that purpose. You should also not use it for prolonged hours. If you need to use forklifts for prolonged hours, try to use a different forklift too as using the same forklift can damage the batteries. 

How Can you Make Your Forklift Last Longer? 

How Can you Make Your Forklift Last Longer
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After knowing all of that, we are sure that you will want to know how to make your forklift last longer. We understand, and we have laid out a few ways you can maintain your forklift to last a little bit longer. 

a. Use your forklifts in the right environment 

Having mentioned how using forklifts in rough terrains can damage your forklift tires, one should know by now to not use it in rough terrains. Also, do not use your forklifts in extreme weather and temperature, as that can age up your forklift pretty fast. 

This is perhaps the “least costly maintenance” you can ever do for your forklift. Just as long as you do not use it in extreme environments, your forklift’s lifespan will be saved by that few years. 

More extreme temperatures, messiness, and uneven terrains can easily cost you precious working hours. You do not want to get into further downtime as using it in the wrong environment can cost you a lot of maintenance money. 

b. Proper overall handling and cleaning of your forklift 

This perhaps cost a bit of money to maintain but not expensive otherwise. To ensure that the forklift lasts longer is to have proactive and healthy maintenance. Unexpected and preventable repairs can cost you a lot of money and can possibly take your business offline for a substantial amount of time. 

Check your forklifts periodically if it needs any repairs. That way it can last a bit longer than you expect it to be. So yes, repairing it can make your forklift last a bit longer by a few years. 

c. Proper staff training on how to handle a forklift 

You’d be surprised at how some drivers do not know how to drive a forklift properly. The wrong way in handling and driving a forklift can cause some serious forklift damages. You will have to make sure that your staff are properly and effectively trained before operating a forklift. Make sure that they are well-versed in the operations of a forklift before they get on and drive it. While training them how to use a forklift, see if they can effectively avoid damage caused by collision, tip-overs, and general user faults. 


The bottom line is that you should make sure your forklift is used in the right environment. Periodical checkups for maintenance can help your forklift lifespan last a few more years. Also, if you are unsure of how to maintain a forklift, either you can check the forklift manuals or find a professional forklift operator to advise you accordingly. 

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