Welcome to Dillon Toyota Lift's blog. Here you will find everything from product features, industry education, operator insights, racking, warehouse design, material handling solutions, safety, trends, best practices and more!  

Search Results
Entries 1-6 of 6
Sunday, May 3, 2020

When your forklifts are placed in a planned maintenance rotation, you’ll have a technician on site inspecting your forklifts to be sure they are in top working condition. That means a Toyota Certified Technician is regularly on site to answer any specific questions you might have about the functionality of your fleet while they work to ensure your forklifts are in top working condition.


When a service tech is on site, they will be inspecting several parts of your forklift for optimal working condition. This will include:

  • Mast, lift chains, forks, hydraulics
  • Running and braking system
  • Control system
  • IC engine or electric motor
  • Vehicle body and safety components

If your technician is thorough, you should be able to visibly see them inspect these specific areas. To ensure top quality inspection is occurring, it might be useful to request a PM inspection form before your begin the engagement with your service provider. Then, when a technician in on site, you can request that you see the completed form. This will help to make sure you’re getting exactly what you paid for. All Toyota Dealers have these forms available.

What is the long-term value of planned forklift maintenance?

One of the most important long-term values of planned maintenance is that it will save you money. Avoiding repair costs and downtime because maintenance issues are caught early before they become problems is one main contributing factor. But there are others, as we illustrate here:

More important than these cost savings can be the long-term benefit of planned forklift maintenance on the safety and security of operators. Worn out components can lead to accidents, but a technician might be able to replace these components during planned maintenance before they become too worn to function.

Increased efficiency is also a benefit, both because your forklifts will see increased uptime because of frequent maintenance and because you can plan for downtime during regularly scheduled inspection.

Planned forklift maintenance can also have additional, unanticipated benefits. For example, interruption to your daily schedule caused by a forklift breaking down might be avoided with planned maintenance. Instead of your having to take the time to call around attempting to locate a service tech to get the forklift back up and running, a Toyota Certified Technician will be on site regularly to help prevent such problems from occurring. You also won’t have to wait for an available technician to maintenance your forklift.

How do I know I’ve chosen the right partner for planned forklift maintenance?

Planned maintenance sounds great in theory, right? But it’s only great in practice if you have a dedicated partner who is willing to go the extra mile for your business. As you would when you purchase material handling equipment, perform thorough research to make sure you’re getting the right partner. Ask your potential partner for referrals for other businesses they’ve currently worked with. Take the time to interview your potential partner and get to know some of their technicians. After the engagement has begun, ask to see PM completion rates on your fleet to make sure they are holding up their end of your agreement.

As part of the Toyota 360 Support promise, Toyota is dedicated to being the industry leader in customer support and aftermarket services. Our dealers are happy to provide any of the information you request and can come on site for discussions leading up to a planned maintenance agreement.

Posted by tfinco at 5/3/2020 2:30:00 PM
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Electric forklifts are awesome! Electric forklifts are low-emission vehicles that are less maintenance than an internal combustion forklift, while maintaining a similar workload as its internal combustion counterpart. This is due to the high-powered forklift battery. With that said, electric forklifts require some unique care that other types of equipment might not require. Failing to take the proper precautions with electric equipment can lead to breakdowns that cost time and money.

  1. High Temperatures’ Impact on Forklift Battery Life

Heat is a battery’s arch nemesis. Heat from forklift operation causes the lead within the industrial battery to deteriorate. If you use the forklift and battery for an entire shift, make sure you let the battery charge properly and sit long enough to cool down before using it again in the forklift. Also, while you are charging, you will want open the hood to provide proper ventilation. This will help cool the forklift’s battery. Simply, the heat can take years off the battery’s life if not appropriately managed.

  1. Over AND Under Charging Damages Forklift Battery Life

Your forklift needs a good night’s rest just like the rest of us. If you don’t get enough sleep, you might be frazzled for the day, but if you over sleep, you still might still feel worn out. If you don’t charge the forklift’s battery just right, you risk harming your battery’s lifespan. If you over charge your forklift battery, you risk excess heat, causing the battery to deteriorate (heat is not your battery’s friend, as we talked about before). You do not want to under charge your battery either, because undercharging leads to plate sulphation and battery breakdown. Under charging can drastically shorten the lifespan of the battery.

  1. Watering for Increased Forklift Battery Life

Is watering your battery like watering your garden? Well, kind of. Your battery requires watering to provide the appropriate discharge to power your forklift. Lead-acid batteries used in forklifts typically have a mixture of 35% lead acid and 65% water within its cells. You can see that water is very important for powering the battery. During discharge, water evaporates, but the lead acid does not. The evaporation creates disproportionate levels of water and acid. So, you need to replace that water. In this case, you need to water your battery. Easy enough right? Not quite. If the battery is topped up with water at any stage other than fully charged, you risk the battery spilling water and acid on top of the battery and onto the floor. This causes the battery oxidize and lose acid, ultimately losing capacity for operation. Simply put, you only want to water the battery after it has been fully charged.

Posted by tfinco at 11/5/2019 5:27:00 PM
Friday, June 7, 2019

There are a lot of moving parts on a forklift that are critical to its operation and the mast chains are no exception. As you may already know, a forklift uses hydraulic pressure to raise the mast up by raising the lift cylinders. This, in turn, raises the inner mast channels, but without the lift chains, your forks and carriage aren’t going anywhere. And if your forks aren’t being lifted, you aren’t going to be getting much work done.

So how does it all work? As I explained, the lift cylinders will lift the inner mast rails, but the mast chains are actually responsible for lifting the carriage and forks. Each mast chain is attached to the carriage and then routed up and over a chain wheel that acts as a pulley. The chain is then bolted into a boss that is welded onto the inner mast rail. So when the mast rails raise, the chains also raise and thus the carriage goes up with it.

Mast Chain Wear and Inspection 

As you can imagine, having to carry the bulk of your load weight during thousands of lift and lower cycles can take its toll. This wear will eventually cause the mast chains to elongate or even show other signs of disrepair depending on their age, use, and operating conditions. Since the chains are responsible for holding up the forklift’s carriage and ultimately a potentially large and heavy load, ignoring these warning signs could lead to product damage, injuries, or worse.

Your mast chains should be inspected at the start of every shift as part of your inspection of the forklift’s lift/lower systems. When inspecting the chains, be sure to look out for the following warning signs:
1.Broken Links: Broken links can be caused by abnormal force on the chains whether from dropping a load or working on an uneven surface.
2.Turned Pins: Lack of lubrication will cause pins to turn. If you see one turned pin, it’s likely there will be more. Always make sure the chains are properly lubricated prior to use.
3.Wear or Elongation Over Three Percent**: Over time, forklift chains wear out. You’ll need a chain gauge to measure wear and elongation. If your chain has elongated over three percent, it’s time to replace it.

Be mindful that chain pitch can vary with different chain designs and different pitches have different limits for stretch or elongation. Most chain gages will have wear guides for multiple types and pitches, so be sure you are following the instructions based on your specific type.

If you’re ever in doubt, be sure to reach out to Dillon Toyota Lift for assistance with inspecting your forklifts. They can even schedule planned maintenance with you so that a technician can inspect your forklifts at pre-determined intervals for all of these issues and more.

** Any elongation of your forklift chain should be properly inspected by a qualified technician.

Original Post:  Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Posted by tfinco at 6/7/2019 8:19:00 AM
Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Equipment downtime is your operation’s worst enemy. Just like a car or house, a forklift requires maintenance and repairs after you purchase it. Taking a reactive approach to maintaining your forklifts can be accompanied by uncertainty and unexpected periods where forklifts are out of service. This can interrupt work flows that need to run smoothly for your business to succeed.

This is why many companies that use forklifts opt for a routine maintenance plan. The two most commonly used maintenance plans in the material handling business are planned maintenance agreements and full maintenance agreements (also referred to as guaranteed maintenance). Both plans are designed to maintain equipment uptime, be proactive on potential repairs before breakdown, and ultimately save you money in the long-run. But is the difference between a planned maintenance agreement and full maintenance agreement? We break that down right here for you.

Proactive with Planned Maintenance

Detailed inspections. Recommended repairs. Flexible billing. Tailor-made schedule. In my experience at a Toyota forklift dealership, these were expectations that come with a planned maintenance agreement. Many service providers have a detailed point inspection checklist the technician uses to inspect repair needs, potential safety risks, wearable items, and routine replacement parts. As technicians work through the checklist, he or she documents recommended repairs and provides service quotes to you for those repairs.  After going through the inspection process and performing any necessary repairs, many dealers will then bill you and schedule in the next appointment based on both hour usage and date cadence. While this process might be slightly different with dealers throughout the Toyota dealer network, maintaining uptime for your forklift is the value of any Planned Maintenance agreement. At Toyota, we believe in the value of planned maintenance so much that we include four PMs in the first year when you invest in Toyota 360 Support Plus. New forklift investment and proactive maintenance should go hand-in-hand.

Free Time with Full Maintenance

Signing up your forklift on a full maintenance agreement is like receiving the royal treatment. At the dealership I came from, you not only received everything included in the planned maintenance agreement, but you also had a plethora of other benefits, including:

  • Maintenance records, tracking, and regular reports.
  • Pre-paid scheduled and breakdown repairs with the exception of repairs due to misuse, abuse, and wearable items.
  • Replacement rental equipment for the covered repairs, without charge.
  • Flat monthly payment with the exception of repairs due to misuse, abuse, and wearable items.

With full maintenance, dealerships often take on the burden of overseeing the entire preventive health of your forklift. The true benefit is that the people who work with the equipment daily at the dealership now manage your forklift maintenance. When the dealership is able to work side-by-side with the customer, the dealership personnel is often in the best position to understand when to make repairs and replace parts before it affects your operation. This adds additional peace of mind when owning a forklift fleet. The monthly rate also helps you budget easier as the cost will not fluctuate from month-to-month. Ideally, you wouldn’t have to pay for every scheduled maintenance interval or the unexpected repairs that come with owning the forklift. Full maintenance monthly rates take into consideration a number of factors, such as equipment type, forklift utilization, age, service history, and the environment in which the forklift is operated.

Every service provider may differ in the way that they offer maintenance agreements. Planned maintenance and full maintenance agreements, in general, follow what I outlined above. Define your expectations and take a long, hard look at a proactive maintenance for your forklift fleet. It’s up to you to work with a dealer and tailor the maintenance agreement to meet your needs. 

Written by:  Kenny Trusnik, Marketing Systems & eCommerce Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA


Posted by tfinco at 12/26/2018 3:50:00 PM
Friday, November 30, 2018

Forlifts, like cars, require more than just an oil change.  One hour of forklift use is approx. 35 miles of automobile use.  An Annual Service from DTL will keep your lift running safely and smoothly.  Dillon Toyota Lift Service Technicians are here to protect the investment you made in your forklift.  Here is what the annual service includes: 

Electric Forklifts: 

  • Drain and flush hydraulic tank, install new hydraulic filter and refill with new hydraulic oil.Install new sump breather cap.

  • Drain and flush differential, clean differential with new fluid.

  • Inspect condition of all hoses.

  • Remove steer wheel bearings, clean and repack with grease and reinstall and set bearing preload.

  • Inspect steering system for worn pins and linkage and make minor adjustments as necessary.

  • Inspect service brakes for proper operation, leaks and/ or contamination.

  • Inspect parking brake for proper operation and condition of cables and linkage.

  • Inspect and test the battery, water all cells.

  • Clean and inspect the control panel.

  • Check for loose connections, corrosion, worn contactor tips.

  • Check for proper operation of all motors and insect for brush wear. Blow all motors out.

  • Inspect upright, tilt cylinders, forks and associated mountings for any obvious cracks, defects of mission stops, and adjust lift chains.

  • Inspect counterweight for proper mounting and that all bolts securing it are in place and tight.

  • Inspect for proper operation of all gauges, controls, starting and charging components.

  • Pressure wash lift.


Gas, CNG & LP Forklifts:

  • Drain and flush hydraulic tank, install new hydraulic filter and refill with new hydraulic oil.Install new sump breather cap.

  • Drain and flush transmission and differential, install new transmission filter, clean transmission and differential with new fluid.

  • Install new air filter and fuel filter.

  • Pressure test cooling system to check for leaks.Inspect cooling system for corrosion, check thermostat for proper operation and test anti-freeze protection level.

  • Inspect condition of all belts and hoses.

  • Perform engine tune-up with new spark plugs, points, condenser, rotor, distributor cap and ignition wires.

  • Adjust valve lifters, install new valve cover gasket and perform engine compression test.

  • Remove steer wheel bearings, clean and repack with grease and reinstall and set bearing preload.

  • Inspect steering system for worn pins and linkage and make minor adjustments as necessary.

  • Inspect service brakes for proper operation, leaks and/ or contamination.

  • Inspect parking brake for proper operation and condition of cables and linkage.

  • Check for proper operation of clutch or inching circuit and adjust if necessary.

  • Inspect upright, tilt cylinders, forks and associated mountings for any obvious cracks, defects of mission stops, and adjust lift chains.

  • Inspect counterweight for proper mounting and that all bolts securing it are in place and tight.

  • Inspect for proper operation of all gauges, controls, starting and charging components.

  • Pressure wash lift.

Posted by tfinco at 11/30/2018 5:31:00 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Winter is coming! And while you likely don’t have to worry much about an army of the undead descending upon you, you still have to prepare yourself (if you’re an operator), associates (if you’re a supervisor), facility, and forklifts for the harsh weather conditions ahead. Winterizing your fleet and facilities is no small task and it can have serious long-term impact if you don’t take the right forklift weather protection steps before snow piles up. So where to start? There are several areas of an operation to consider as the cold arrives.

Forklift Weather Protection in your Facility

This one’s pretty obvious, but if your operation involves working outside, then the wintery conditions are going to affect you significantly. Whether it’s freezing rain, snow, or anything in between, you need to have procedures in place for how and when it is appropriate to work in these types of environments. What types of hazards does this present for your application? Do you have ramps or pathways that could be particularly icy or dangerous to traverse? Is there danger of your product being damaged if exposed to these elements? What effect does the weather have on your visibility? Forklift weather protection is all about understanding the severity of the weather and its impact to your entire operation; that’s key to proper decision making. Make sure to never operate a forklift in any dangerous conditions and to only travel as fast as the conditions will allow.

Forklift Weather Protection for Employees

The safety of all associates is paramount. This starts with making sure operators and pedestrians are dressed appropriately for the weather by wearing extra layers and covering up their extremities as needed. If you’re an operator, make sure you take responsibility and let your supervisor know your needs. Gloves, coats, socks, boots, and ear muffs are but a few additional items to consider. When visibility is adversely affected by the weather, it’s also a good idea to wear high visibility clothing such as safety vests to help ensure high visibility. However, remember that safety is the most important thing here. Any additional clothing or gear operators wear should not impair their ability to perceive their environment (e.g. hearing or sight restrictions) or operating ability (e.g. limited mobility or ability to operate controls)

We talked about setting procedures for how to handle cold weather conditions, but it’s just as important to keep your employees informed of these procedures. Hosting daily meetings before each shift to evaluate current and expected weather conditions is a useful practice. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page prior to beginning their work day and allows you to develop a forklift weather protection action plan catered to the specific conditions for that day. It can also help you to reinforce good pre-operation checks. Having proper fluid levels, tire conditions, and other standards satisfied will help your operators stay safe during this time of year. If you’re an operator, this is definitely a process worth bringing up to your manager.

Forklift Weather Protection for your Forklifts

Does your forklift have an enclosed operator compartment and a heater/defroster? If you’re operating outdoors, and as long as the compartment doesn’t hinder perception of the working environment (fog glass, inability to hear, etc.), features like these can go a long way to keep operators warm, comfortable, and productive. It can also help make sure the operator controls and seats stay in top working condition. What about cold start aids such as engine block heaters and coolant preheaters? Are you using batteries that are designed to work or be charged in cold conditions? If you can’t even get your forklift started, you’re not going to get very much work done.

Even if your forklift is properly equipped, you still need to properly maintain it to keep it up and running throughout the winter. This starts with scheduling preventative maintenance with an authorized Toyota dealer prior to the start of cold weather and having regularly scheduled maintenance throughout the year. Proper battery care and maintenance is equally as important. Maintaining proper water levels and limiting exposure to cold weather as much as possible are two general rules of thumb for electric forklifts. Cold weather can greatly reduce battery life and battery run time so you should prepare for how this might affect your productivity ahead of time. Consider your battery charging options and number of batteries on-hand to help reduce potential downtime.

Written by:  Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA​

Posted by tfinco at 9/27/2018 9:05:00 AM
Entries 1-6 of 6