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5 Signs That You Need to Replace Your Forklift Battery

What are the signs that you need to replace your forklift battery?

  1. Decreased performance
  2. Shorter run time
  3. Corrosion
  4. Sulfation
  5. Spilled Acid


Numerous companies choose to purchase or rent an electric forklift because it has no tailpipe emissions, has fewer waste fluids, and does not require storage of tanks. This is because it is powered by a battery that can be recharged over and over again. A standard forklift battery lasts years of use, especially if it’s properly maintained and used. But as it approaches the end of its lifespan, you might want to look for a replacement. Here are the signs that you need to replace your forklift battery. Read on.


Decreased Performance

After your team uses an electric forklift for years, all of you will become used to the capabilities it offers. Even if the equipment is not used every day, you will have an idea of how it operates.

That’s why if you notice a dramatic power reduction, you might be wondering what happened. Even if the battery is fully charged, you might be confused why the display screens are dim or don’t power up at all. In some cases, you might have observed that the forklift is slow to start before it can deliver the expected performance.

If you notice a decrease in performance, this could mean that the battery used can’t provide the power the forklift needs. When the response time decreases, you might need to replace it soon.


Shorter Run Time

Shorter Run Time

A forklift battery needs to be charged according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Overcharging and undercharging the battery can shorten its lifespan prematurely. This is why you might notice shorter run times compared to the past. Batteries have finite cycles, so powering it up when it’s still almost full is effectively shortening its useful life.

To keep track of your battery’s lifespan, it’s a good idea to take note of the charging time. Replacing a battery when it’s nearing the end of its life is necessary because it could affect the productivity of your site. You’ll need to charge the battery more often, so the work that needs to be done is delayed.



An electric forklift’s lead-acid batteries contain an electrolyte solution that has sulfuric acid. When you charge the battery, vapors are released and a residue on the vent cap area is created. The acid eventually corrodes the terminals, which makes it hard for the battery to supply power to the forklift. Other than that, it could also prevent proper charging.

To avoid this situation, it’s best to clean the battery top on a regular basis. When the acid is left on its own, it could damage the case, connectors, cell caps, and cables. Other than that, make sure to properly charge the forklift battery as overcharging can lead to excessive gassing. In this case, the electrolyte can overheat, spill over, and leave an acid residue on the battery.




As said before, the lead-acid-type batteries used in electric forklifts contain sulfuric acid. But it also contains water that evaporates over time. This means that you should replace it regularly as too little water can cause the sulfuric acid to collect on the plates. This is also known as the process of sulfation.

Sulfation can lead to loss of cranking power or require you to charge your battery for longer. The area where the crystals of lead sulfate harden could be also left partially discharged, which reduces the capacity of your battery.

If you find that the sulfation is too severe, it might be best to replace the battery than have it repaired. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to charge the battery fully after its cycle of discharge.


Spilled Acid

If the forklift battery has a loose seal or is overfilled with water, the electrolyte that contains sulfuric acid can accidentally spillover. This could damage the finish and the case of the battery but also pose a hazard to the workers on your site.

The sulfuric acid in the forklift battery can cause chemical burns when it splashes out. If it doesn’t make direct contact with the skin, this can also cause spills and falls at the site. Be extra careful when adding water to the battery by wearing the proper personal equipment.

When the acid spills out, it’s best to send your batteries to professionals for repair or replacement. For safety, it’s not recommended to replace the lost acid on your own.


Key Takeaway

It’s important to know the signs that you need to replace your forklift battery, as a bad battery can affect your productivity, efficiency, and safety. If you notice these symptoms, contact a professional technician to have them inspected as soon as possible. This way, they can recommend the next step you should take—whether to have it repaired or replaced.

If you’re interested in electric forklifts, you can contact us here at Multico. As Asia’s leading equipment specialist, we supply reliable, safe, and long-lasting material handling equipment such as Clark Forklifts!

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