The Weather Outside is Frightful: Winterizing Forklifts and Material Handling Equipment

cold Don’t let ice, snow, and cold temperatures freeze your operations. Winterize your forklifts and other material handling equipment to make sure your fleet is ready for the winter chill. Ensuring your forklifts, batteries, personnel movers, AGVs, pallet jacks, and all your material handling vehicles and equipment are up to the challenges of cold weather work will ensure your productivity stays at peak levels through the entire season.


  • Test your battery performance before a deep freeze hits and weed-out any problem batteries to make sure that your strongest fleet is in action during this challenging season.
  • Charge and store batteries indoors to shelter them from temperature drops and moisture.
  • Check that any temperature compensation equipment on your battery charging system is optimally placed to correctly register temperatures at the charging site.

Forklift Trucks

  • Plan your workflow to accommodate more frequent battery change-outs and longer charging times during low-temperature periods. Cold temperatures affect ALL types of lead-acid batteries, including sealed, gelled, and AGM.
  • Stay on top of daily and Planned Maintenance inspections to keep equipment at top performance. It’s especially important to make sure tires have a safe tread level for slippery conditions.
  • Winterize forklifts to maximize performance and protect the batteries you depend on by maintaining optimum levels for oil, lubricants, and coolant. You may also need to switch to fluids rated for cold weather operations.

Material Handling Equipment

  • Make sure that outdoor tasks are completed using only outdoor-rated equipment, but also be mindful that indoor equipment in unheated or poorly heated spaces can have similar problems in cold temperatures.
  • Allow all equipment to warm up before use, just as you would with your car or truck.
  • Consider purchasing or renting cold weather-rated equipment, especially if your production requires prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
  • Extreme cold can affect hydraulic performance, so make sure your hydraulic systems can withstand your local forecast.

Winter is a peak time for productivity. Why risk lost productivity from preventable downtime?
Much of the US has already seen freezing temperatures and snow, and winter isn’t even officially here yet. Take action now to winterize your forklifts and material handling equipment so you don’t lose traction on productivity.