Explore 8 Essential Parts of a Forklift: Names, Functions & Diagram

Overview of Forklift Parts

The forklift is an industrial truck for lifting and transporting a load over a short distance. It serves the needs of the various warehouses and large facilities. In the 20th century, most companies started manufacturing. Nowadays, most warehouses use them. Due to that, extra time for loading and lifting material reduces and increases the work speed. Parts of a forklift are made of high-strength material as it deals with the heavy load. It operates by the engine or battery and uses the counterweight to balance the lifting load. Each forklift part has its importance, and we will see all these parts and their function in this article.

Part of a Forklift Diagram

Parts of Forklift, Names & Diagram

Forklift Parts Names

  • Mast
  • Lift Cylinder
  • Tilt Cylinder
  • Forks
  • Backrest
  • Counterweight
  • Engine & Battery
  • Wheel
  • Tires
  • Operator Cab
  • Operator Seat
  • Steering Wheel
  • Levers
  • Overhead Guard

Parts of a Forklift and their Functions


The mast is a vertical support structure that guides and provides the path to raise and lower the load through the forklift.

It has a pulley, hoses, and lift chains that extend and retract whenever the forklift raises and lowers the load. With time, it is necessary to replace the pulleys, hoses, and chains as they wear and cause issues. But the mast is made of high-strength material and does not require replacement.

There are 4 types of mast.

  • The single-stage mast comes with one channel and doesn’t have a free lift. It means when the fork rises, its mast also rises.
  • Double stage- This mast comes with two channels/sections with or without a free lift.
  • Triple stage- This mast comes with three channels/sections and extends the carriage to maximum lift height.
  • Quad mast- This mast comes with 4 channels with free lift. It gives the highest lift and is suitable for large warehouse applications.

Lift Cylinder

The lift cylinder allows the carriage and fork to raise and lower the load. It is a hydraulic cylinder and a single-acting cylinder. It means it applies the fluid pressure only to raise the load.

The selection of this cylinder depends on the maximum lifting weight, stroke length, and type of application.

Tilt Cylinder

The tilt cylinder allows the carriage and fork to move front and back at a specific angle. The stroke and capacity of this cylinder are different than the lift cylinder.

It helps to prevent the falling of any load raised by the lift cylinder by tilting the carriage and fork at an angle.

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The fork is the load-carrying member, which bears the whole load. It is attached to the carriage assembly and raised concerning the mast. It is available in different shapes and sizes.

Its design changes as per the manufacturer and type of application. The design of the fork is important, as it directly comes in contact with loads. Its material and its strength are important factors when designing.


The backrest is another surface to rest the load and is connected to the mast. It prevents the slipping of the load backward or operator while working.

Forklift Carriage Assembly

The forklift carriage assembly has three main parts: the fork, carriage, and backrest. It’s designed to lift and lower loads easily.


The function of the counterweight is to balance the weight lifted by the fork assembly. The counterweight is proportional to the maximum load-carrying capacity of the forklift to lift the load safely. These counterweights are on the rear side of the forklift.

Engine or Battery

These are the power sources of the forklift. It generates the power to run the forklift in different locations. Some of the forklifts are engine-operated or battery-operated.

Four-stroke engines inside the forklift generate the power to do all operations. It has a separate fuel tank for fuel storage.

The battery-operated forklift requires the battery to charge. The battery can be 12V to 96V, depending on availability. It can be customized as per requirement also.

An electric forklift has a limitation and is suitable for inside warehouses.

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In the forklift, there is a drive wheel and steering wheel present. The steering wheel is on the rear side, which is opposite the automobile. It gives a tight turning circle and is acceptable for maintaining the stability of the forklift.

The drive wheel provides the power to run the forklift in the warehouses. These wheels are larger as they bear the maximum load.

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Forklift Tires

The choice of tire is crucial for a forklift, as it is the only point of contact with the surface. The selection of the tire depends on the overall weather conditions within the warehouse and the nature of the load. These tires are specifically designed to withstand and support the weight placed upon them.

There are 2 types of forklift tires.

  • Cushion tire- These tires are fit for indoor applications where surfaces are flat and smooth. These are less expensive, and their maintenance is less.
  • Pneumatic tires- These tires are suitable for outdoor applications with uneven and rough surfaces. Air is required to fill it in to operate them. These tires are similar to automobile tires.
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Operator Cab

The operator cab serves as the control center for operating forklifts. Within this compartment, the operator manages various functions, such as raising and lowering the fork, operating the lift and tilt cylinder, applying brakes, accelerating, utilizing levers, engaging parking brakes, and more.

Operator Seat

It is a seating arrangement for the operator to operate the forklift. It is well-designed to give comfort and placed in the correct position to make it easy to use the forklift.

Steering Wheel

It is for rotating the steering wheel whenever there is a need to turn the forklift. It is similar to the automobile steering wheel.


Levers are the controls of the forklift. With the help of the levers, we can operate the hydraulic cylinders.

These levers are a tilt lever for controlling tilt cylinders, a lift lever for controlling lift cylinders, and a side shift lever for controlling the horizontal movement of the carriage.

Overhead Guard

It is for protecting the operator from any overhanging equipment. It also prevents it from falling anything on the operator’s head.

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