Importance of Watering a Forklift Battery

Technician maintaining a forklift battery

The Importance of Watering an Electric Forklift Battery

Properly watering an electric forklift battery is an important part of forklift battery maintenance. Here are four tips for watering your electric forklift battery.

Having the proper level of forklift battery water is an important piece of your maintenance routine for your electric lift truck. Forklifts that use a lithium ion battery require the appropriate level of water for safe and effective charging. Too little water and you risk overheating the battery. Too much water and you risk overflow during the charge and acid dilution.

Follow these four tips to help optimize your forklift battery’s performance.

1. Water The Forklift Battery After Charging

Never top off the water in the battery before the charge. The battery needs the extra space to compensate for fluid expansion when it's charging. Check and make sure the water level is high enough to cover the lead plates inside the cells and fill to that level if necessary. But if you top off the water before charging, overflow can potentially happen. When a battery overflows, it loses some of the acid inside, and the life of the battery can be significantly shortened.

Topping off the battery after charging will help keep the battery protected as the water level decreases. This will help prevent damage to the battery until the next time the water is checked.

2. Make Sure The Plates Are Submerged

Keep the forklift battery plates below the water-line when charging. This helps to ensure that they don't overheat and dry out. If this happens the battery may become unusable or lose capacity. If the plates are above the water-line, add water to about a quarter inch above the plates and avoid completely topping off the battery.

3. Frequency Of Watering Your Forklift Battery

Knowing when you should add water to a forklift battery is also a key piece of knowledge for regular forklift battery maintenance. Forklift batteries typically need watering about once a week when used every day. Batteries that have been in use for an extended period of time, or are reconditioned, should be checked after every five charges. If properly maintained, new batteries can be checked every ten charges for the first few years of use. To check the water levels, open up the battery and inspect the battery elements. As mentioned in step two, these should be roughly a quarter inch above the element protector. If the level is too low, top off the battery.

4. Use Clean Distilled Water

Water that is free from impurities and measuring between a 5 and 7 on the PH scale is preferred. Forklift battery water should always be clean and pure. Using water containing impurities, such as tap water, can lead to battery damage from the chemical and mineral content in the water.

Proper electric forklift battery maintenance is essential in keeping your batteries as efficient and long-lasting as possible. Following the proper guidelines will help prevent frequent and costly replacements from becoming necessary, and enable you to get the most out of your electric forklift batteries. In addition to the general guidelines mentioned above, always follow the maintenance procedures outlined in your forklift’s Operations and Maintenance Manual as well as those provided by the battery manufacturer.

For additional help or information, contact your local MCFA lift truck dealer.

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