Understanding Forklift Error Codes: A Troubleshooting Guide

When a forklift is running smoothly, so too is the warehouse. But when a forklift starts to have mechanical problems and flashes an error code, things can come to a halt. After all, it’s one thing to be able to drive a forklift, it’s another thing to understand the strange codes that can pop up on the digital display when you turn the key.

Each one of those forklift error codes is telling you something about a mechanical issue with the forklift. On the plus side, most mechanical problems have a unique error code. On the other hand, there are a lot of forklift error codes to understand. For example, on a Toyota forklift, there are over 130 different forklift error codes alone.

Some error codes are generic while other forklift error codes are very specific. On top of that, different manufacturers will have error codes distinct to their forklifts.  The big question of course is what do the different error codes mean and can you fix the mechanical issue yourself or is it better to contact a forklift expert like NovaLift Equipment Inc. to repair it?

That all depends on the forklift error code. You can find the error code in the forklift owner manual or even on the manufacturer’s website. Once you see what the issue is, you’ll know if it’s something that can be fixed in-house or needs professional maintenance.

Regardless, it’s imperative that you address the issue as soon as possible. If you continue to use a forklift without addressing the error codes, you could damage the forklift. It could even lead to accidents.

With this guide, we provide the information needed to help your business troubleshoot forklift error codes.

Common Forklift Error Codes

Engine-related error codes

Just like in a car, an engine-related mechanical issue points to a non-fatal problem with the engine. You may still be able to operate the forklift, but it’s best to get the engine looked at as soon as possible.

Overheating is one of the most common error codes. A broken radiator or blockage is usually behind the error code and can be remedied by cleaning any blockage. If the error code remains, the radiator may be corroded, in which case, you’ll need to have it repaired or replaced.

Electrical system error codes

The most common electrical problems are related to malfunctioning switches, broken wiring, blown, fuses, corrosion, and loose hardware. An electrical system error code could also be a warning that the battery is bad. If a battery error code comes on, check the charging circuits. The battery may also need water or to be fully charged.

Hydraulic system error codes

If the forklift is moving erratically, or the forklift’s mast doesn’t raise or lower properly, there may be an issue with the hydraulic system. Some forklift error codes could indicate that the hydraulic system is clogged, while other error codes could warn of fluid that needs to be topped up. Other hydraulic problems could be due to broken wires, faulty switches, or debris in the fuel system.

Transmission and drivetrain error codes

Excessive heat can quickly damage a forklift’s drivetrain. Failing to change steering fluid can jeopardize the ability to steer properly. If the forklift displays error codes associated with the transmission or drivetrain, check the steering fluid levels and top it off if needed. Other issues related to work gears or faulty breaks will need professional service and repair.

Sensor and control system error codes

Sensor or control system error codes can be triggered by bad sensors, contacts, wires, switches, and an incorrect mixture of fuel/air. Error codes could also be triggered by low engine oil levels, faulty spark plugs, or clogged air filters.

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Process

  • Identify the error code
  • Consult the forklift’s manual and documentation
  • Verify error code symptoms and potential causes
  • Perform basic checks and inspections
  • Apply specific troubleshooting techniques based on error code type
  • Resolve the underlying issue or contact a forklift expert for professional assistance

Preventive Maintenance to Avoid Error Codes

The best way to avoid an error code is through forklift preventative maintenance. A great place to start is with a daily maintenance routine.

  • Check the battery to make sure it’s connected properly, inspecting for signs of corrosion on terminals and casing. Ensure the auxiliary system isn’t running when the forklift is turned off.
  • Check tire pressure. Properly inflated tires prevent blowouts, premature wear, and better fuel economy.
  • Check the oil every few months and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to the forklift’s fluids and oils.
  • Check coolant levels before turning on. Low levels of antifreeze can lead to the forklift overheating or freezing, both of which can result in costly repairs. To avoid overheating and corrosion, check the radiator for issues that could be negatively impacting coolant levels.
  • Check brake pads and calipers. If the brakes feel soft, replace the pads and calipers immediately.

Contact NovaLift Equipment Inc. for Forklifts in Toronto

Ideally, you won’t have to deal with forklift error codes. But if you do, it’s important to understand what the error codes are trying to tell you. If you see an error code, write it down and note what the forklift was doing when the error code appeared. Then turn off the forklift.

If the forklift error points to an issue that cannot be remedied in-house, contact NovaLift Equipment Inc. for expert forklift repair services in Toronto. Better still, contact NovaLift Equipment and schedule a customized preventative maintenance plan.

NovaLift Equipment offers complete forklift, industrial cleaning, and construction equipment repair services. With over 50 years of industry experience, our factory trained technicians have the knowledge and the experience to service all your equipment.

Whether we are servicing your Electric, Gas, LPG or Diesel equipment, our service team has the industry know-how and experience to get your forklifts up and running and reduce downtime to a minimum.

We inspect and service all makes and models of forklifts, including Toyota, Yale, Raymond, Crown, Hyster, Nissan, UniCarriers, Linde, Clark, Mitsubishi, CAT, Jungeinrich, and many more.

For more information, get in touch today to learn more about our forklifts, accessories, and repair services.

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