Common Problems with Liftgate Performance

Discover the common issues that can arise with liftgate performance and how they can impact your operations.

Understanding the Importance of Liftgate Performance

Liftgate performance is important for smooth operations in industries that rely on loading and unloading of goods. A well-functioning liftgate ensures the safe and secure transportation of goods. It also reduces the risk of accidents and injuries during loading and unloading processes and minimizes damage to the cargo, preventing financial losses.

A well functioning liftgate is essential for businesses and fleets that rely heavily on stop and go deliveries. Without a properly functioning liftgate, operations can be significantly impacted, leading to delays, inefficiencies, and additional fuel costs.

Signs of a Malfunctioning Liftgate

It is important to be aware of the signs indicating a malfunctioning liftgate. Some common signs include:

1. Slow or jerky movement: If the liftgate moves slowly or exhibits jerky movements during operation, it could be a sign of hydraulic or mechanical problems.

2. Strange noises: Unusual noises, such as grinding, squeaking, or clunking sounds, can indicate issues with the liftgate's components or mechanisms.

3. Inconsistent operation: If the liftgate fails to operate consistently, gets stuck or experiences intermittent functionality, it may require inspection and repairs.

4. Physical damage: Visible damage to the liftgate, such as bent or broken parts, can affect its performance and should be promptly addressed.

5. Fluid leaks: Leaking hydraulic fluid or oil around the liftgate is a clear sign of a problem and should be addressed immediately.

Identifying these signs early on can help prevent further damage and ensure the safety and efficiency of your liftgate.

The Dangers of Ignoring Liftgate Problems

Ignoring liftgate problems can have serious consequences. Some dangers of ignoring liftgate problems include:

1. Accidents and injuries: A malfunctioning liftgate increases the risk of accidents and injuries during loading and unloading processes. This could lead to costly legal issues for you and unfortunate healthcare bills for your workers.

2. Damaged cargo: A faulty liftgate can cause damage to the cargo being transported resulting in financial losses and dissatisfied customers.

3. Operational delays: If a liftgate fails to function properly, it can cause delays in the transportation process. This can disrupt schedules and affect customer satisfaction.

4. Increased maintenance and repair costs: Ignoring liftgate problems can lead to more extensive damage over time, resulting in higher repair costs. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to prevent further damage and more costly repairs.

It's important to address liftgate problems as soon as they are identified to avoid these dangers and ensure the smooth operation of your business.

Common Causes of Liftgate Performance Issues

Several factors can contribute to liftgate performance issues. Some common causes include:

1. Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is critical for the proper functioning of a liftgate. Neglecting maintenance tasks such as lubrication, inspection, and component replacements can lead to performance issues.

2. Wear and tear: Over time, liftgate components can wear out or become damaged affecting performance and requiring repair or replacement.

3. Environmental factors: Exposure to harsh weather conditions, extreme temperatures, and corrosive substances can degrade liftgate components and affect performance.

4. Overloading: Exceeding the weight limit of a liftgate can put excessive strain on its components, leading to performance issues and potential damage.

5. Improper use: Incorrect operation of a liftgate, such as using it for purposes it is not designed for or exceeding its weight capacity, can cause performance problems.

6. Low Battery Voltage: For drivers making constant stops and using the liftgate throughout the day, the liftgate batteries could become depleted as the engine alternator can't charge those batteries fast enough. Anton Griessner, VP for Marketing and Business Development for Maxon, said that "80 percent of the issues our customers deal with tie to low voltage." Now that more and more places are banning idling, drivers and operators will continue to drain the batteries without enough time to replenish them between stops. Once the batteries reach a certain low voltage threshold, the liftgate will no longer be able to come up and the truck will most likely need to be rescued.

By understanding these common causes, you can take measures to maintain the performance of your liftgate and avoid unnecessary issues.

Tips for Maintaining Liftgate Performance

To ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your liftgate, consider the following maintenance tips:

1. Regular inspections: Schedule regular inspections to identify any potential issues or signs of wear/corrosion. Promptly address any problems to prevent further damage.

2. Lubrication: Properly lubricate the liftgate's moving parts to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for lubrication frequency and type of lubricant.

3. Cleanliness: Keep the liftgate and its components clean from dirt, debris, and corrosive substances. Regularly wash and inspect the liftgate for any signs of damage.

4. Weight management: Adhere to the weight capacity limits specified by the liftgate manufacturer. Avoid overloading the liftgate, as it can lead to performance issues and potential costly damage.

5. Training and education: Ensure that operators are properly trained on the correct operation of the liftgate. Provide educational resources and guidelines to promote safe and efficient use.

6. Auxiliary Charging: One way to avoid low voltage situations is to add an auxiliary charger to power the liftgate batteries. Through Blackburn Energy's hybrid charging technology, RelGen®, fleets and drivers can charge their liftgate batteries between deliveries. In a case study, RelGen® was able to power a liftgate for 67 stops in a single day with 8-12 minutes of driving between stops. During a month of deliveries, Blackburn was able to get liftgate batteries above an 80% state of charge.

By following these tips and considering RelGen® hybrid charging technology for one or more trucks in your fleet, you can prolong the lifespan of your liftgate and its batteries while maintaining performance for seamless operations.


Want to learn more? Watch this animation to see RelGen® charge liftgate batteries.