Dust, debris, and metal shavings in the transmission fluid can lead to premature wear and tear of the internal components. A transmission filter prevents the damage by keeping contaminants out of the system, ensuring the smooth running of your forklift.


Over time, the transmission filter gets clogged up and needs to be replaced.


Depending on the usage, the interval at which the filter must be replaced varies from one forklift to another. Delaying the filter replacement will keep your forklift underperforming and susceptible to damage. Whereas replacing the filter too soon will increase your maintenance expenses.


Therefore, replacing the filter at the opportune time is essential. And here’s how you can determine when your forklift transmission filter needs to be replaced.


Listen carefully


If you hear a whirring noise while operating the transmission, chances are the transmission filter has clogged up with debris. You will also notice that the motor is revving between gear changes. If this becomes recurrent, perhaps there’s a bigger problem that needs to be looked into by a forklift transmissions technician


Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Any Leakage


Fluid leakage occurs due to a dislodged filter, worn-out seals/gaskets, or a crack in the system. Before operating the forklift, a quick walkaround can reveal any fluid leakage so that a major breakdown or accident can be prevented by addressing the problem on hand. Most of the time, replacing the filter and gaskets solve the leakage issue. 


Check the fluid for contamination


If you are hands-on with your forklift’s maintenance, you will know what color is your transmission oil when brand new. For most forklifts, it’s bright red. As the fluid gets contaminated over time, it changes its color to dull red to dark brown and eventually to black.

Check your transmission fluid regularly. If it has turned dark brown or black, it’s time to replace the filter and oil. 


Performance issues


A clogged-up transmission filter leads to performance-related issues as well. The most obvious signs are the struggles while shifting and a grinding noise between gears. The problem should be addressed during its initial stage to avoid major breakdowns down the road.


Burning smell


When the transmission filter is fully saturated with contaminants, it is quite likely to emit an unusual burning smell. You should be able to sense the smell inside the cabin. Most forklift operators ignore this sign only to incur hefty repair bills later.


In extreme cases, you might notice smoke coming out of the engine bay. This is a red flag, and the engine should be shut off immediately.


“Can I replace the transmission filter on my own?”


The transmission filter should be changed every 2000 hours to ensure safe and smooth operation and must be checked every 500 hours to rule out any potential damage. 


Transmission filter replacement must be done when changing the transmission fluid; so things can get quite messy. If you don’t mind a little oil on your hands, then you can change the filter by yourself. 


Before changing the filter, the transmission oil must be drained out completely.


Crank the engine and let it idle until it warms up. Turn off the engine and pull the plug to drain out the transmission oil.


Remove the old filter and put the new one in after lubricating it inside with transmission oil. Also, change the seals and gaskets to prevent leakage. 


If you don’t have the tools and experience to perform this DIY maintenance task, leave it to professionals to avoid any accident.


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