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How Do I Make an Adjustment of Width of a Forklift Fork?

Tom Raley

Industrial powered lift trucks, aka forklifts, are used in a variety of areas to move products safely and efficiently. These machines play an intricate part in the logistics chain from manufacturing to shipping to the fulfillment portion of the chain.

How Do I Make an Adjustment of Width of a Forklift Fork?

Forklifts can handle weights of several thousand pounds, and of all sizes and types. While they can accommodate any number of lifting attachments, their primary tools are the forks; these heavy metal forks can hold an enormous amount of weight and are fully adjustable to accommodate many different loads.

  1. Determine the best setting for the forks on your forklift. If possible, it is always best to set the forks an equal distance from the center of the forklift--this will help you to maintain a proper center of gravity. With each adjustment off center, the center of gravity shifts. Combined with a heavy or high load, this can result in a dangerous situation, especially on corners.

  2. Raise the forks to a height of approximately 30 inches. Set the brake on the machine and stand beside or between the forks. Behind the top lip of each fork is a clip. Raise the clip to a vertical position. It should lock in that position, but this area is often covered with grease and dirt, which may prevent it from locking. If so, hold the clip in an upright position. Wear gloves while working in this area to protect your hands from the grease and several pinch points; heavy leather gloves are preferable.

  3. Raise the fork slightly. The fork will be resting in a small groove in the crossbar; nudge the fork out of the notch so that it will slide along the top of the crossbar. If the forks are rarely adjusted they may be very hard to move. If so, move to the end of the fork and move it from side to side to break it free. Slide the fork to the desired location on the crossbar.

  4. Shift the fork slightly until it drops into the notch nearest the desired distance. Do not operate the machine while the forks are not secured in a notched position. Once the forks are properly positioned, return the clip to the locked setting. Attempt to move the fork. If if moves, it is not properly set in the notch; make further adjustments as necessary. Repeat the process for the second fork.