How Do I Know If My Forklift Forks Are Bent?

Featured Forklift Service

There are several intricate moving parts on the forklifts you employ, but what gets the most wear and tear at the end of the day are the forks themselves. Both a precision tool for picking orders and a powerhouse for lifting, the forks are susceptible to more punishment than any other part of the lift truck. The worst damage can result in breaks or bends in the forks, which can make them unsafe for use. 

So how do you know if your forklift forks are bent, and what can you do about it?

How To Know If Your Forklift Forks Are Bent

If a forklift tine is bent to the point where it would affect the lift mechanism or cause a safety concern, you can usually see it with the naked eye. But a forklift tine could bend on any axis, and it may only be visible from one angle, so be sure that all your forklift operators do a quick visual inspection of the forklift tines prior to operating. Just remember that the angle of your forks should never exceed 93°. And when they do, they should be replaced with new parts.

What Causes Forklift Forks to Bend?

The most common causes of bent forklift tines are collisions, overloading, or improper loading. 

  • Overloading a forklift past its maximum capacity is the most common cause of bent forks.
    • Collisions happen when the forklift forks hit something and bend from the force of the hit. This could be from a forklift running into a wall, clipping another lift truck, or hitting a mezzanine or shelving rack when lifting a load. 
    • Improper usage includes improper loading (such as unbalanced loads), or using the forklift for unintended purposes, such as prying open a container or only lifting with one tine.

    You or your forklift operators may also notice forklift tines slowly bending over time, which can lead to difficulty in slotting into pallets because the forks are off-kilter. If you notice a gradual bend, it’s likely that you’re overloading the forklift, or the forks may have been improperly attached to the forklift carriage.

    How To Deal With Bent Forklift Forks

    First off, you should never try to repair bent forks. Whether by heating and bending, welding or with a hydraulic press, the fact is that the integrity of the steel was compromised, and reshaping it won’t make it like new. Once bent, it will never have the strength it originally did, and you’ll never know the actual capacity of it – meaning you’re taking a risk every time you use it.

    One thing to keep in mind is that bent forks could be a sign of more structural damage. If a forklift was overloaded, there could be damage to the lifting mechanism, mast, or rollers that you may not have noticed yet. Bent forks could be a canary in the coal mine for further issues.  

    Reshaping the fork is dangerous, and doesn’t really work like some DIYers think it might. On top of that, it goes against OSHA regulations for forklift maintenance. The best bet is to let the certified experts at Tynan fit you with a set of new, uncompromised forks. 

    Tynan Can Help You WIth Your Bent Forklift Forks

    At Tynan we service equipment from Yale, Drexel, Cushman, Bendi, Sellick and more. We can quickly replace any bent or broken forklift forks, and get you back up and running.  Contact our material handling experts by calling 317-597-4003.

    Learn what to do if your forklift forks are bent.

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