Change Oil on a Forklift

If you do not want to call a technician to come and work on your forklift, then this article is for you. Read on to learn how to change your forklift's oil.


  1. Get a shallow drain pan and slide under the forklift.
  2. Run the engine until the oil is warm to very warm; then stop the engine. This will make drainage quicker and stop excessive thick oil from sitting on the walls of the engine.
  3. Use a proper sized wrench to remove the drain plug from the oil pan. Approximately {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} of oil will come out on a standard 4-cylinder engine forklift.
  4. Wait for the oil to drain. Check the plug sealing washer for damage or to much squash, replace if required. (Fiber washers should never be used as they can crack in service, Copper washers should be annealed to bright red and quenched in water to soften and clean.) Then put the plug back in but do not over tighten, you should feel the washer only start to squash or tension to specifications.
  5. Move the oil pan under the oil filter. Get the proper sized oil filter wrench.
  6. Take the new oil filter and put some oil, either new or used, on the rubber seal of oil filter.
  7. Screw the filter back on until the rubber seal makes contact and turn the filter 1/4 to 1/2 turn more. Don't over tighten.
  8. Refill the engine with {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} of oil and dispose of your old motor oil in a proper way.
  9. Start the engine. Check for leaks immediately and after 1 hour of running.


  • If the forklift is too low to the ground, use a block of wood. Tilt the mast back. Put the wood under the mast rail and tilt the mast forward. This will raise the forklift a couple of inches up on one side, allowing you to get the drain pan underneath.


  • Never climb under the forklift while it is on the mast, a jack, or blocks of wood; only if properly designed steel stands are used. You can die with just your chest under, you don't need to be completely under.

Things You'll Need

  • Shallow drain pan
  • Wrench from 9/16 to 7/8, depends on make of forklift
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Oil filter

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