Cold weather may keep a forklift truck from starting up. There are some issues that need to be taken care of properly when using such trucks in cold weather. In cold temperatures, a forklift may consume more fuel to start up the engine to be fully operational compared to start up in warm conditions. In cold weather the truck’s engine is much more difficult to start because the oil used in it becomes thicker in cold conditions and requires more energy to come to the normal state and to get it flowing properly. The engine parts that are lubricated by the cold thicker fuel require significant energy to progress. A higher energy requirement means that the engine will take more fuel to get the parts moving. Engine will end up consuming a large amount of fuel just to get the machine warmed up properly.
The major parts of a forklift, like transmission systems, joints, bearings, brakes, steering device systems etc. are the most likely to be affected by cold weather. These are heavy instruments and need a constant supply of fluids to move properly. But as mentioned earlier, cold weather causes thickening of oil fluids which in turn results in the above mentioned problems. So what happens is that the thick engine fluid slowly returns to it’s normal state as it gradually heats up. The engine uses a lot of fuel in order to warm up the oil before you can fully operate the machine.
In cold weather, a significant amount of moisture is found in the air. The moisture may condense and freeze several parts of a forklift truck. Again, precipitation of water and water vapors in engine part may cause problem to the machinery. Sometimes major parts of the engine are frozen and must be thawed before working properly. Sometimes you can start the forklift and it will unfreeze certain parts but other times you may have to manually defrost certain parts. In cold weather the engine has to warm itself up to lubricate for smooth functioning. For that a little more idling of the engine in cold start is required.
The adverse affect on fuel consumption may be avoided to a certain level by considering a few actions. The forklift truck could be parked in a heated area in winters so that the truck will not have to work out more to warm up the engine in the next start up.
It is always smart to use the manufacturers suggested oil as this will reduce any potential problems. The right oil may be thinner as per the engine requirement and flows easily across the engine in cold weathers. In extremely cold climates, engine heaters should be used.
A forklift truck run on LPG does not typically face any difficulties at a temperature as low as -42 degree Celsius when maintained properly and operated as per manufacturer’s own specifications.