Maintenance Tips To Help Prolong The Lifespan Of Pallet Jacks

Pallet JacksPallet jacks (also known as pallet trucks) are vital pieces of equipment in any warehouse or distribution center. These handy devices make it easy to transport heavy loads, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of injury to workers. However, like any other piece of equipment, pallet jacks require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly.

What Is A Pellet Jack?

Pallet jacks are the most basic kind of forklift and are used to move pallets inside a trailer or warehouse. Pallet jacks are one of the most essential pieces of equipment used in warehouses and are used to move small loads over short distances.

Typically, both powered and manual pallet jacks are used to load and unload trucks, and electric pallet jacks with wheels can be used to move pallets horizontally around warehouses.

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Types Of Pallet Jacks

Manual Pallet Jacks (Standard Pallet Jacks)

A manual pallet jack is a hand-powered jack most commonly seen in retail and personal warehousing operations. They are used predominantly for lifting, lowering, and steering pallets from one place to another.

Motorized Pallet Jacks

Motorized powered pallet jacks, also known as electric pallet trucks, walkies, or power jacks, are motorized to allow the lifting and moving of heavier and stacked pallets. The powered pallet jack is generally moved by a throttle on the handle to move forward or in reverse and steered by swinging the handle in the intended direction.

Corrosion-Resistant Pallet Jacks 

This is ideal for settings where corrosive chemicals and water are present regularly. Due to their resistance to rust and other damage brought on by damp surroundings, they are ideal for transporting goods like fish, meat, and poultry. The most effective materials for corrosion-resistant pallet jacks are stainless steel and galvanized steel.

Custom Pallet Jacks

Some traditional pallet jack designs may not work for all businesses, which is why custom pallet jacks are an alternative option. They allow you to create a jack that works with your warehouse size and function. 

Difference Between A Pallet Jack And A Forklift

A forklift and a pallet jack are both types of material handling equipment used to move heavy loads. A forklift is a larger, more powerful vehicle that is used to move loads that are too heavy for a person to lift on their own. It has a set of prongs, or forks, that are used to lift and move the load. A pallet jack, on the other hand, is a smaller and less powerful vehicle that is used to move loads that are lighter and can be easily lifted by a single person. It has a set of forks that are used to lift and move a pallet, which is a platform used to transport goods.

Pallet Jack Preventive Maintenance

It’s crucial to keep your pallet jack/truck in working order. Using a pallet jack/truck that is broken or malfunctioning could have negative effects. For instance, it might cause a load to shift and fall, causing injury. Pallet jacks/trucks must be checked carefully before use.

Search for cracks and other indications of flaws or potential damage. Pallet jacks/trucks’ solid rubber wheels are susceptible to wear over time, which can lead to unsteady loads and poor handling. In turn, workers may endure stress in their hands and arms as a result of the device’s difficulties being controlled and stopped.

Workers will be able to operate pallet jacks/trucks with the least amount of hand, arm, and finger force if they receive routine maintenance.

For a safe working environment, preventive maintenance of your pallet jack/truck is essential. You may take immediate action when your pallet jack/truck needs repairs by performing a daily inspection of it. Regular inspections, therefore, avoid unpleasant surprises and increase the pallet jacks/trucks lifespan. Below are some things that you need to keep in mind to ensure and maximize optimal use:

Protect Your Pallet Wheels

Workplace cleanliness improves employee satisfaction. The pallet jack’s/truck’s wheels depend heavily on the surface they are utilized on. All kinds of debris, including wires, can get wedged between the wheels, causing them to wear out much more quickly. This is readily avoidable by performing routine wheel cleanings and sweeping up any debris before utilizing the pallet truck.

Additionally, keeping an eye out for curbs and steps is recommended. Even while it would seem wise to take a shortcut, your wheels might disagree. Even though it takes a little bit longer, it is preferable to make two journeys rather than taking everything at once. You prevent the wheels from forming a flat spot, so you can use them longer.

Check The Fork For Wear

The forks are exposed to heavy loads daily, so they’re more prone to wear and tear if neglected or not used properly. The forks should be inspected daily. Look for areas with chipping, buckling, or bending and report the problem immediately. While paint chips are a normal occurrence, structural damages are a more serious problem, so it’s best to prevent this through the proper use of the pallet truck.

Regularly Verify That The Chain Is In The Right Position

Make sure your pallet truck’s chain is still in the right place on a frequent basis. This is primarily apparent when the forks no longer lower when the lowering valve is operated. Re-connecting the chain to the lever is an easy way to fix this.

Check The Hydraulic Parts

A hydraulic pump is used by a manual pallet truck to raise and lower the load. It needs ongoing care and upkeep just like the other parts do in order for the machinery to function properly. Check the hydraulic system for damage and leaks as part of your daily examination. If the pump has air trapped inside it, you could struggle to lift the load. To remove the air in this situation, pump the lever ten times.

Verify And Refill The Oil In Your Pallet Truck

Your pallet truck’s oil needs to be topped off or replaced ideally once a year, and it is preferable to check the oil level every six months. Pallet trucks are usually recommended using hydraulic oil. The oil needs to be about 0.4 liters in volume overall and have a viscosity of 30cSt at 40 °C (ISO VG32). If different oil is utilized, it could be challenging to pump up the pallet truck because the oil will probably be too thick. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that you are using the correct oil.

Regularly Lubricate The Pallet Truck

The manufacturer greased all of the bearings and axles with long-life grease. Apply long-life grease to the pallet jacks/truck’s lubrication points, including the wheels, axles, and grease fittings, once a month and/or after each cleaning.

Recharge The Batteries

If you’re using electric hand pallet trucks, you need to charge the battery first before operation. Make sure that it’s fully powered to prevent downtime during the next shift.

Use The Pallet Jack/Truck Safely And Correctly

  • Avoid using the pallet jacks/truck on slopes since it could reverse and hit something if you let go.
  • Put the operating lever in the DRIVE position to operate the pallet truck. The drawbar is able to move more readily as a result, and the pressure in the hydraulic pump part decreases. This safeguards the valve’s parts, including the hydraulic seals. Longevity is ensured by doing this. 
  • Adhere to the pallet jack’s/truck’s maximum rated lifting capacity and never overload it.

Maintenance Software

One of the best ways to keep your pallet jacks/trucks in good working order is by using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). This type of software allows you to create a schedule for regular maintenance activities, such as lubricating the wheels and checking the hydraulic fluid levels. You can also use the software to track when each pallet jack\truck was last serviced, so you know when it is due for another maintenance check.

In addition to scheduling regular maintenance, maintenance management software can also help you track any repairs or other issues with your pallet jacks/trucks. For example, if a pallet jack/truck breaks down, you can use the software to quickly identify the problem and schedule a repair. This can help you get the equipment back up and running as quickly as possible, minimizing downtime and ensuring that your warehouse remains productive.

Overall, using maintenance management software for pallet jack/truck maintenance can help you keep your equipment in good working order and extend its lifespan. This can save you time and money, and ensure that your warehouse operates smoothly and efficiently.

Pallet Jack/Truck Safety

Although a pallet jack may not seem like the most dangerous piece of machinery, there are several potential risks for property damage or personal injury. To prevent crushed toes, trip hazards, scratched knuckles, and twisted backs, simple measures must be followed.

Push carts, dollies, and other manual material handling tools should also be used in accordance with many of the guidelines listed below.

Inspection Prior To Use

  • Make a general inspection of the pallet jack/truck to make sure it is in good operating order. 
  • Before operating the pallet jack/truck, become familiar with the controls and make sure they are responsive and undamaged.
  • Make sure the wheels are not cracked or worn out by keeping an eye on them. This will avoid sloppy handling and lower the possibility of the weight becoming unstable in the middle of the voyage.

Store pallets in a dry place.

  • Inspect the pallet for loose or rotting sections. 
  • Ensure no leakage from the previous or current load has weakened the structure of the pallet.

Wear Personal Protective Gear

Workers who use pallet jacks/trucks must wear the proper personal protective equipment, which includes:

  • Protective eyewear to prevent injuries from material strapping and hazardous chemicals being moved.

  • Safety-toed footwear to prevent foot injuries from being run over by the wheels, being hit by materials falling from the jack/truck, or stubbing a toe on the jack/truck.

  • Gloves to reduce the risk of cuts, bruises, blisters, smashed fingers, and to protect hands in general.

Using A Pallet Jack

  • Never put your feet beneath a pallet jack/truck.

  • Check the floor for ruts, bumps, and other flaws.

  • Never exceed a pallet jack’s/truck’s load capacity.

  • Don’t use a pallet jack/truck for human transportation.

  • When going down an incline, push, don’t pull.

  • If your view is restricted, ask a spotter to help.

  • Be wary of pinch points to avoid injuries to your hands.

  • Move the load slowly to ensure safety in case your surroundings change.

  • Stick to correct traffic lanes and be alert to avoid collisions around corners.

  • Use proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading.

  • Before moving your load, ensure the path is clean, free of obstacles, and flat.

Proper Storage

Pallet jacks/trucks should be kept someplace that won’t provide a tripping danger when not in use. Make sure the devices don’t obstruct emergency resources like fire extinguishers or exits.

Manual Pallet Jacks Pros And Cons

In the material handling sector, manual pallet jacks are more prevalent than electric ones. The following list includes some manual model benefits and drawbacks.

The Pros

Lower Maintenance Costs

Manual jacks require less maintenance because they don’t contain any electrical parts. Their straightforward construction also implies that any repairs that are required will take less time. Additionally, it is much simpler to locate the appropriate parts for a repair than for electric models.

Tough Piece of Equipment

Manual pallet jacks are reliable, incredibly durable pieces of machinery. Their sturdy, durable construction makes maintenance considerably simpler. A manual model is typically more resilient to the demands of busy facilities.

Easily Customizable

There are manual models available with various fork heights, widths, and materials for use in dry or wet areas.

Less Expensive

Because manual models are far less expensive than electric pallet jacks, they are more prevalent in material handling facilities.

The Cons

Difficult to Maneuver

Manual pallet jacks can be more challenging and uncomfortable to use because they are powered by people.

More Worker Fatigue

Manual models place additional physical strain on your staff, increasing the risk of injury..

Weight Limitation

Even if your pallet jack is capable of handling 5,000 pounds, it is unlikely that your employees will be able to do so using a manual jack.

Electronic Pallet Jacks Pros And Cons

In essence, electric pallet jacks are merely manual pallet jacks with automation. The benefits and drawbacks of owning an electric vehicle are listed below.

The Pros

Less Physical Strain

Moving pallets from point A to point B is made simpler for employees by the use of aided lifting in electric models.

Increased Productivity

Pallet jacks powered by electricity can move, lift, and lower pallets more quickly than manual models.

Heavy Lifting

Electric pallet jacks make it simpler to transfer large, heavy items because they are automated and handle the heavy lifting for you.

The Cons

More Expensive

Although electric pallet jacks are more expensive up front, they will eventually pay for themselves due to their potential to boost production.

Increased Maintenance

Electric models require more time and money for maintenance and repairs due to their complexity.

More Training is Required

Because electric pallet jacks are more difficult than their manual counterparts, operators must complete additional training before using one.


Using maintenance management software, such as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), is important for extending the life span of pallet jacks/trucks. This software system provides a centralized and organized way to track and manage maintenance tasks and foremost, regular maintenance can help to ensure that Pallet Jacks are functioning properly and safely. Proper maintenance can prevent accidents and injuries, as well as costly damage to the equipment. Regular maintenance can also help to extend the lifespan of pallet jacks/trucks, which can save money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs and replacements. Maintenance management software can provide important data and insights about maintenance activities, such as the cost and frequency of maintenance tasks, which can help to optimize maintenance processes and improve efficiency.  Overall, regular maintenance is essential for maintaining the safety, performance, and longevity of pallet jacks/trucks.

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