As durable as pallet jacks are, they're put to the test every day. Warehouses depend on them to lift and move pallets weighing as much as 5,000 pounds. Over time, these jacks can suffer wear that leads to small malfunctions, but luckily you can fix those issues with the right tools.
Failure to Lift
The most common cause of a pallet jack malfunction relates to the hydraulics that allow it to lift pallets loaded with heavy cargo. If an air pocket gets inside the hydraulic system, it won't be able to summon the pressure it needs to lift the pallet and its contents. To test for an air pocket, move the controller to the release position and pump the handle quickly 10 to 15 times in a row. You should also check the fluid levels, and make sure there's enough oil in the reservoir.
Another reason you might not get the lift you need is that the hand control may be out of alignment. With the lever in the "lift" position, adjust the nuts until most of the slack in the chain is gone. Try to lift again, and if it doesn't work, continue to make adjustments until you see improvements.
Other Lifting Problems
Failure to lift isn't the only sign of trouble with a pallet jack. If you notice issues when you're trying to lower the jack, it could be a sign of a bent or damaged part. Search the jack for signs of damage to any of its parts. There could also be debris in the oil channel, blocking the flow of the fluids essential to keeping the equipment functioning.
If the jack lifts in small bursts, it's likely an oil pressure issue, so you'll need to check your fluids. Another common malfunction is for one fork to lift at a different rate than the other, leading to a slanted lift surface. If that happens, check for damage in the lifting link, pushrod or load roller bracket. These parts can be easily replaced if necessary and you'll quickly have your forklift operational again.
Although a pallet jack performs an important task in a warehouse setting, its build is simple enough for you to troubleshoot basic issues. By reviewing the serial numbers on your Crown pallet jack, you can find the replacement parts you need to make a quick fix. Regular maintenance can keep your pallet jack working without malfunction, saving you the downtime that will come with ordering a part and waiting for it to arrive.