How to Operate a Crown Forklift

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

A Crown forklift is relatively easy to operate provided that the right training has been provided prior to actual operation. Keep in mind that while a forklift -- whether a gasoline or electric powered variety -- might look simple to operate from the outside, the confusing arrangement of the various levers and instruments might prove extremely challenging to the uninitiated driver or operator. Operating a Crown forklift requires a complete understanding on the different types of forklifts available in the Crown lineup. Remember that forklifts are designed for specific tasks and may vary according to design and configuration. It is still best to consult the owner’s manual and the training guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Read the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the cockpit and the various controls on the dash. The configuration and function of the controls will differ according to the make and model of your forklift. It is best to thoroughly read, understand and apply the basic functions as stated on the training guidelines to better facilitate proper forklift operation.

Test things out by adjusting and moving the forks while sitting in the seat and observe the layout of the controls. The forks themselves are controlled by two levers. The first lever will control the height of the forks. You basically have to pull back or pull down the lever to lower the fork. Move the lever forward or upwards to raise the fork. The second lever is used to control the forward or backward tilt of the fork. This will allow you to move and lift heavy or bulky items with relative ease as you can shift the weight of the cargo towards the frame of the fork. You will need to tilt the fork backwards when moving objects over extended distances to prevent the object from falling over the front. Remember that the procedure may vary according to the type of Crown forklift.

Study the orientation control and gear selector of your forklift. If you are driving the gasoline or propane powered model, then the forklift will be equipped with a clutch pedal and gear selector highlighting the various forward and backward gears. The brake pedal is used to reduce speed and bring the forklift to a halt. The brake pedal can also be locked in place to hold the machine stationary. Hydrostatic electric models will have two pedals to move the forklift forward and aft. Press on the forward pedal to move the forklift and release to stop the vehicle. Press on the reverse pedal to move in the opposite direction.

Drive the forklift forward and back to get a feel for the handling and orientation of the machine. Remember to practice on a safe and secure area with lots of empty space for maneuvering. Approach a pallet and position the forks toward the bottom of the pallet. Lift the pallet accordingly and tilt the forks before moving the vehicle.