Must-Know Forklift Parts and Functions

Forklift are monstrous pieces of equipment that feature thousands of parts and moving components. As a person working with forklifts in whatever capacity, it helps to be familiar with the names and functions of most of these parts, components and forklift accessories. To help, here is a list of some notable forklift parts that you ought to know.

Forklift parts


Forks deserve first mention as forklift trucks are named after them. They are the part of the forklift which is extended and has the appearance of arms. They are responsible for coming into contact with loads during hauling and stacking.


The mast is responsible for lifting and lowering of loads and come in different types which can hoist loads to different heights.


The counterweight, as the name suggests, acts to offset the weight of loads, effectively stopping the forklift from tilting forwards. It is installed at the back of the forklift truck. Knowing your forklifts lifting capacity and not going beyond that is a key to forklift safety.


Doubling as support for the forklift, the carriage provides the connection between the forks and the mast.

Overhead guard

The cab’s frame is what is known as the overhead guard. It forms a protective shield for the forklift operator from large flying and falling objects. The grate design is often complemented with plastic or steel sheets.

Hydraulic lift cylinder

The hydraulic lift cylinder determines the extent to which the mast, carriage and forks can be raised or lowered.

Tilt cylinder

The extent to which the mast, carriage and forks can tilt backward or forward is regulated by a tilt cylinder.

The cab

The cab is the ‘cockpit’ of the forklift as it houses all the forklift controls and safety devices. That’s where you find the steering wheel, gauges, brake and gas pedals, and mast controls.

Forklift Tires

The forklift has drive tires located in the front and steer ones in the back. This configuration allows the forklift to maintaining its position in the front, where the load is located, when manoeuvring.

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