Guide to Changing Hydraulic Fluid for Forklifts

Hydraulic technology is so common we often forget we use it every day. It’s found right in our own homes in our dishwashers. It’s in the cars we drive to work. It’s in elevators, amusement park rides, and airplanes. And in forklifts. But without liquid to fuel the hydraulic systems, none of these things would work.

The main function of hydraulic fluid is to provide energy transmission, so it makes sense that if you don’t have the proper level of liquid, you can’t create the most power. Inadequate levels of hydraulic fluid in a forklift cause decreased lifting and steering capabilities, which is the last thing you want when you have a job to finish.

So, what do you need to know to ensure your hydraulic system is running smooth and fast? Let’s explore some of the common questions you might have about hydraulic fluids and forklifts.

How often should I change the hydraulic fluid for forklifts?

Most forklift manufacturers suggest replacing hydraulic fluid after every 1,000 hours of operation. To monitor levels properly, operators should go through a checklist, which includes checking the hydraulic fluid tank prior to every shift.

Why should I change hydraulic fluid every 1,000 hours of operation?

There are a variety of environments and variables that can affect the rate oil degrades. In lieu of performing an oil analysis every time you think you need to change your hydraulic fluid, most users stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is based on years of service data. Keep in mind that if you decide not to change the hydraulic fluid for an extended amount of time, you risk the service life of every other component on the hydraulic system.

What hydraulic fluid for forklifts should I use?

It depends on your equipment and manufacturer. Consult your forklift operating manual for the specific fluid grade recommended for your particular forklift.

We also recommend paying close attention to the prescribed level to fill the tank. Thermal expansion can occur, which can in turn cause an oil spill and a safety hazard.

Can I change my hydraulic fluid or does my dealer need to?

Changing hydraulic fluid is a fairly simple task. However, we recommend a professional certified forklift technician perform the task. Also, know that not all hydraulic fluids are exactly the same. Some manufacturers specifications require the use of specific fluids , and these may have an impact on warranties. Norlift’s Toyota certified technicians are trained on all make and models of forklifts.


Yes, it’s time to retire this one.

The forklift tire is critical to forklift safety [provides stability] and for protecting the operator and the forklift itself from vibrations by acting as the forklift’s only form of shock absorption. The forklift tire is subject to harm through the environment it works in, operational patterns, and to some extent, operator abuse. So, understanding this, when is it time to retire [pun intended] you forklift’s current tire set?

Forklifts don’t have a traditional suspension system so the entire weight of the forklift and its load rests on the tires. Your average 5,000 lb. capacity forklift actually has to support up over 11,000 lbs. of weight on the front tires when fully loaded which is no small feat. Using a forklift with tires that need to be replaced can damage your forklift and create a dangerous environment for your operator as well as others nearby. Tires that need to be replaced can cause your forklift to be unstable. Riding in a forklift that needs to have its tires changed is uncomfortable for the operator and can lead to fatigue and mistakes.

Because tires that need to be replaced can become a hazard, it’s important to know how to tell when it’s time to change yours. During your pre-shift inspection, make sure to look for these warning signs that your tires may need to be replaced and contact your local, authorized Toyota dealer for assistance if any of them are detected.

Tires have worn over the wear line. Many forklift tires have a wear line, often called the 50% wear line. When the wear of your tires reaches that line, it’s time to replace.

Chunking. If pieces, or chunks, of your forklift tires, are falling off, that’s a good sign you need to replace them.

Tearing on the tires. Similar to chunking, if your tires are tearing off in spots, they need to be replaced.

Flat Spots. Your tires should be round, if they’re flat in any place, it’s time to replace them.

When inspecting your tires also make sure to check if there are any uneven signs of wear on each individual tire and between tires on the front and rear and on the left and right side. There could be an underlying issue that is causing premature wear due to the forklift’s condition or the application. Be sure to check your rims for any bending as they may need to be replaced as well. Tire pressure on air-filled, pneumatic tires should also be maintained at the manufacturer’s recommended level.

State and Federal law requires that you be fully trained and qualified to before performing maintenance on wheels and tires. Toyota certified technicians are available to assist you with recognizing potential issues and with maintenance and repair. Contact your local, authorized Toyota dealer for more information about setting up an appointment today.  We have you covered when it comes to tire replacement with a large supply of tires in stock, and special order tires are never a problem.  To make tire replacement even easier, we can come to you with our mobile tire press.  And to make the most of the retiring process, we can even re-pack your lift’s wheel bearings while it’s on the jack with the tires off.

The original article was published by Toyota Material Handling U.S.A.

The Warehouse Warehouse

New Warehouse Products

Many retail and wholesale stores, as well as dealerships of all kinds, have a warehouse.  Car and truck dealers; furniture and mattress stores; grocery and drug stores; auto parts and hardware stores all keep some of their stock at “the warehouse”.  Have you ever been shopping, and ended up disappointed when the item you wanted to purchase wasn’t in the store, but at the warehouse?  That’s not really an issue at Norlift.  Yes, we have warehouse space for our new and used forklifts, construction equipment and our rental fleet as well, and all of our warehouse space is quickly and easily accessible from our showroom on Fancher Road in the Spokane Valley.

We also have a warehouse full of new warehouse products, where we keep products like hand trucks, furniture dollies, pallet jacks, boltless shelving, pallet racking, and more.  These are the products that help keep businesses producing and make storage space efficient and effective.  Our team of experts can recommend the right products, or help you design a warehouse or workspace that best utilizes available materials and optimizes the space you have.  We can even handle the installation and setup of your working space.  We stock standard sizes of Norlift brand Superbench, or can custom build them to fit your specific needs.  This is just a part of what we do as your material handling experts.

Our other warehouse of warehouse products holds a wide variety of used warehouse products like cantilever rack, pallet rack, and wire decking.  From common items like many of the new warehouse products we sell, to some very special and unique storage solution items, if it’s built to store stuff, it may very well be out in the yard.  These experienced materials still have a lot of life left in them and come at a reduced price.

Used Warehouse Products in “The Yard”

With all those different types of materials in storage, you might think it would be difficult to keep track of it all.  That’s not the case thanks to Rich and Cody and our inventory stock list.  Rich and Cody maintain the stock on hand, receive the new and used materials as they are received and also handle the load outs to customers or freight carriers as the materials are sold.  Just ask where any specific item in stock is, and they have the location.  Somehow, they manage to keep track of it all!  Anyway, when you need to create space, or work more efficiently, give us a call at 509-535-1776 to see how we can put our material handling equipment expertise to work for you.



Posted by Toyota Forklifts
By: Lucas Collom

When using material handling equipment, safety should always be your number one priority. Maintaining a high level of safety can become additionally complicated when customers are in the vicinity of your equipment. When your equipment is in an area where customers are present, business owners and operators should both prioritize the safety of those customers.
In this situation, everyone who works with or around the equipment needs to understand the risks presented to customers. While there is no way to guarantee against incidents, taking this hand pallet truck safety precautions might help promote a safe working environment for all.

Hand Pallet Truck Safety: Store Equipment in Secure Areas
Please, NEVER leave your material handling equipment unattended around customers. You need to make sure that your equipment is in a safe, monitored area. For instance, you can require warehouse spaces to have a keycard entry, or roping off sections to keep customers away from the equipment. You can also rope off single aisles if you know you will be using your heavy equipment in those areas. If this isn’t possible (we hear you grocery store owners and operators), then make sure that hand pallet truck is never unattended. Follow policies that strictly prohibit leaving it in the aisle while other tasks are completed. There are multiple ways to safely store your equipment, and make sure that customers are out of harm’s way. Find what works for you!

Hand Pallet Truck Safety: Track Alternative Routes
We know that being efficient is one of the most important aspects of running a business, but you never want to jeopardize anyone’s safety. Sometimes coming up with an alternative route with your material handling equipment will help reduce the risk of customer contact. You may need to take a few extra minutes avoiding the most populated sections of your store, but avoiding customers and reducing the risk of a safety issue are highly recommended.

Hand Pallet Truck Safety: Restrict Operator Access
One of the best ways to ensure that your employees are the only ones using the equipment is to have a restricted access on your material handling equipment. If you’re not trained on the proper procedures of using a hand pallet truck in the specific operations in which you are working, then ask to be trained before you use it. Managers should be strictly limiting the use of hand pallet trucks on the retail floor to those who understand how to use them properly around customers.

Safe Use of Hand Pallet Trucks: Use the Proper Equipment
While some companies only need a hand pallet truck on their retail floor, other companies use larger equipment. Every business is different, and that means you need to evaluate your situation. The more equipment you use on the sales floor, the more risk there will be. Make sure you are operating the appropriate product to carefully maintain the safest conditions for your customers.
While these are only a few ways to increase customer safety, there are plenty more to be talked about. Evaluate your business, and make the decisions that work for you. Remember, hand pallet truck safety is the number one priority when using them on the retail floor.

By: Lucas Collom
Digital Projects Administrator, Toyota Material Handling, USA