The type of forklift you own dictates which kind of forklift steering parts you will need. Steering an electric forklift is similar to driving a golf cart except that you're carrying a 10-ton load. An I-C forklift is like steering a utility vehicle with the same 10-ton load on the hood. As you can see, the steering mechanisms in a forklift is of utmost importance and the right forklift steering parts will keep the vehicle moving in the right direction.
The purpose of a steering mechanism is to point the vehicle in the intended direction through the use of gears, tie rods, cables and a series of linkages. Although most lift trucks are front-wheel drive, they use the rear wheels for steering. All of the weight is placed on the drive axle for traction and braking action. When the truck turns, the rear end swings while the front end is stationary. The wheelbase of the truck also affects the steering because the shorter the wheelbase, the easier it is to steer the forklift.
The steering system of a forklift consists of three major parts: a steering wheel connected to a steering box through a gear system; linkages such as cables connecting the steering box to the front wheel assemblies; and front suspension parts such as tie rods which pivot the wheel assemblies. For lift trucks with power steering, pumps supply hydraulic pressure to the power steering cylinders, which makes steering easier for I-C forklifts with carrying heavy loads. Pumps and hydraulic fluid are replaced with motors for electric power steering mechanisms which run when the wheel is turned.
Some very special and rare forklifts use technology such as mecanum wheels for omni-directional steering. This enables the operator to steer the truck forward, backward, diagonally and sideways. The technology also enables the truck to rotate 360•Ŕ_•Ŕ_ on its own footprint.
As with all forklift systems, the truck's steering system requires regular maintenance and replacement of parts from time to time, especially smaller steering parts like bushings and seals. By choosing the right forklift steering parts and maintaining these parts, you will ensure that your forklift doesn't veer off course!