Forklift Spare Part Hacks! How to make the most of your enquiry?
Is your forklift new? Or perhaps you have a late model forklift. Finding spare parts for your forklift can be difficult. Knowing the right information to ask your local spare parts supplier is key to a successful enquiry. We will explain the information you need to enquire about spare parts for your forklift, handy tips on how to save money as well useful OEM facts that influence your access to available parts.
You may have already experienced how difficult it can be find forklift parts, let’s take a look at what influences the purchase process. Forklift manufacturers generate unique product codes on every single spare part they manufacture and distribute. When you buy a forklift brand new and receive a service manual with information about engine components and spare part replacement – on average 15-20% of these will have been superseded with in the first 5 years of ownership. Sourcing parts can be extremely challenging knowing how large the scope is.
Why do forklift OEM suppliers do this? Is it a stitch up?
No, while it is frustrating for you and spare parts suppliers, superseded product codes are generated when a design is modified or replaced. Modifications might include a variation to a forklifts paint tint, a difference in metal compound, faulty parts replacements, a new supplier for production, as well a host of other factors that influence these codes.
Okay, that’s starting to make sense. Ready for another fun forklift parts fact?
Forklift manufacturer’s offer a huge range of forklifts to the market and update models constantly. Every model they produce will have its own product codes allocated according to the build date and available components at that time. For example:
Forklift brand XXX produces Forklift A and Forklift B – Forklift A is a small compact forklift – Forklift B is a diesel forklift truck. Forklift A and Forklift B are very different. They have been engineered to perform and be applied in 2 very different ways. Forklift brand XXX has used the same radiator in Forklift A and Forklift B – no variations what so ever. However, Forklift A and Forklift B will show different replacement part codes even though they are one in the same.
Every forklift model will have its own unique spare part codes even when a manufacturer assembles the same component across a range of different products.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! Forklift spare parts interpreters are trained in identifying specific parts across a range of makes and models. They know all the industry hacks to investigate finding spare parts for your forklift. They are your link to the complex forklift spare part world and if they don’t already know the answer to your request they have access to lots of resources to investigate it for you.
When you are looking to buy a brand new forklift make sure that the brand you purchase is supported in the country. As you can tell it can be difficult to source forklift parts – not impossible, but difficult nonetheless. Research your options and understand the support that is available to you in the future when you purchase a new forklift. There are lots of brands in the market that are now part of other bigger brands. Ask your local forklift dealer for more information about this next time you’re in the market for a forklift.
Here are some helpful tips on the information you will need to provide:
In every instance you are best off contacting the original forklift manufacturer but all good part retailers will have access to a huge range of brands.
First; you need will need to know the MAKE, MODEL and SERIAL NUMBER of your forklift. A forklift spare parts interpreter will not be able to assist you without this information.
Where do you find this information?
Every forklift has a unique load plate/compliance plate/rating plate typically situated in the driver’s compartment on your forklift. Locate the information and record the details before contacting your spare parts supplier. The plate also indicates ratings specific to your forklift including the mast details, load vs lift derations and other crucial specifications.
If your forklift load plate is too worn and can’t be read properly then this is a sign that it’s probably time to retire your forklift. Compliance plates are an Australian WHS obligation in any workplace and it needs to remain attached and legible at all times.
The make identifies the OEM of your forklift. This information assists the spare parts interpreter in providing information to you about any aftermarket spare parts that may be available instead of genuine, which can sometimes save you money.
The model identifies the engine in the forklift. Most forklift manufacturers will continue to use the same engines over a series of time tweaking performance and components along the way.
This is crucial information – the serial number assists a forklift spare parts interpreter identify the build year of your forklift and the parts that are available for that particular model. This is how the unique product codes can be put to good use.
Once you have all of this information you can contact your local supplier.
What to expect from a forklift spare parts request?
If you are sourcing parts for a late model forklift, ask your supplier if there are any aftermarket options. A good supplier will offer both if they’re available. Aftermarket can save you money.
Depending on how old your forklift is you may not be able to purchase parts anymore. Why’s this? Forklift manufacturer’s will cease production on some spare parts for certain models after the supply and demand has slowed down. They will keep a limited range of parts on the shelf until they are sold.
If you are looking for parts for a newer model forklift, check the terms and conditions of your warranty from your original forklift dealer. You may be able to replace parts using your warranty. In some instances, in the event that the forklift manufacturer has identified a recurring fault with a part you may be notified of a recall and have the part replaced.
If you are looking for full forklift component repair kits, your forklift supplier will be able to provide the quantity of parts you require to complete the job. Your supplier will have information on transmission kits, brake kits, engine rebuild kits and other major components for your forklift. Ask about the price on these – if you are experiencing technical issues for a mechanical component it might pay to plan ahead and have the parts you need on hand for down the track. Especially if they are subject to delivery times from the factory.
In Australia, all of our forklifts are imported, which means so are the parts. Every local forklift company utilises peer to peer communication with other suppliers to find price and availability. Larger forklift companies will have stock for a broader range of brands on the shelf, especially if they have a large hire fleet. They need to be able to maintain their own hire fleet and usually have a suitably sized warehouse to accommodate their own internal, field service, dealer and customer spare parts requests. If you are calling a good forklift supplier, they will find information on pricing and availability in the country using the peer to peer system. Ultimately this saves you time because your parts interpreter has done the leg work for you.
The cost associated with replacing parts can be expensive. Are you sure you need to replace it or can it be repaired? Ask you spare parts interpreter for their recommendation. If your part can be repaired it could save you time and money. An example where you might be able to repair instead of replacing is a cracked radiator. Many late model forklifts have metal radiators and these can be repaired. Have the damage assessed and find out if it can be salvaged. Your parts supplier will refer you to a reputable repairer.
Key points to take away:
- 15-20% of forklift spare parts product codes will be superseded within the first 5 years of ownership.
- Spare parts interpreters are trained to know if other forklift models have parts that will suit your forklift.
- Record the make, model and serial number from your forklift’s compliance plate before contacting your supplier.
- When buying a brand new forklift ask your forklift dealer about spare parts support in the future.
- In Australia, all spare parts are imported. If it’s not available in the country, you will need to order it from overseas. Delivery times can take up to 10 weeks depending on you brands factory availablility.
- Some forklifts have aftermarket options which could save you money. Ask your parts interpreter.
- Depending on the part you may be able to have it repaired instead of replacing it. Ask your parts interpreter for advice.