Critical Forklift Battery Maintenance in Times of Shutdown

In times of prolonged shutdown and during periods of inactivity, it’s important to keep your lift truck batteries maintained so when it’s time to get back to work, everything will be functioning properly. Below is a list of the things you can do to make sure your equipment will be ready.

Electric Forklift Batteries

  1. Charge all lift truck batteries every 30-45 days even if they have not been used. Your lift truck batteries “self-discharge” when they sit idle. If left in this condition too long, they can over-discharge, causing internal damage.
  1. When you charge every 30-45 days, press the manual Equalize Button. This allows for a slightly longer charge which benefits your battery.


If you have a High Frequency, Opportunity, or Fast/Rapid charger, it may have an “Auto-EQ” function. There won’t be an Equalize button on your control panel.

If you have this type of charger, plug your battery in and leave it plugged in. Your charger will automatically turn on and equalize the day/time it is programmed to.

  1. Water your battery ONLY after it has been fully charged. Use good city water and do not overwater. Your battery may not need water if it has been unused for 30-45 days.
  1. What if I plug in a battery and my charger won’t turn on? If the battery hasn’t been used or charged in several weeks, it may be over-discharged. Contact us and we can help.

Internal Combustion Forklift Batteries

  1. If possible, start and run your unused trucks once a week. Simply letting them idle will not charge the starting battery. Drive the truck for 5-10 minutes after it reaches normal operating temperature.
  1. If driving the truck is not practical and if you have the ability, trickle charge starting batteries every 3-4 weeks.

Trickle Charger
12V trickle chargers are widely available in the 1.0 – 2.5 amp range required to maintain your forklift starting batteries. Most auto parts stores carry them.

With these forklift battery maintenance tips, your batteries should remain functional in times of shutdown. If you have any questions, please contact us for assistance.