What to do if your Toyota forklift won’t start

It’s a common nightmare for every warehouse manager: it’s the start of a new workday, and as you go to start up your trusty Toyota forklift… nothing. No matter how hard you try, it won’t budge. And although Toyotas have a strong reputation for reliability, there are occasions where things just seem to go wrong.

Trying to fix the problem, without knowing what you are looking for, can lead to wasting time, and even potentially cause further damage to the issue at hand. Instead of struggling around and going in blind, your best bet is to have a certified professional repair or service the forklift.

However, if you’re looking for some simple troubleshooting exercises, there are ways you can identify and fix the problem yourself quickly. Here’s our handy guide to taking the DIY approach.

Common reasons your forklift won’t start

These are often the first places you should start looking, even if nothing is popping out at you. Thoroughly examine each aspect to ensure you’re not missing a hidden fault. To get started, check out the following:

Fuel source

Is the forklift receiving fuel efficiently? This may seem obvious, but it’s possible there’s something blocking the way or causing issues.

Electric functions

Consider when the lift truck was last charged and if it was correctly connected to a charging point after use.  Additionally, observe whether there were any electrical surges or power outages which may have affected the charging process.

Check the power

Are you getting any power to any part of the forklift at all? If you’re not sure, test out auxiliary functions, such as the brake or lights to see the output.

Internal combustion (IC)

For gas or diesel engines, consider how long the fuel has been sitting in the tank. If it hasn’t received a full refill recently, it’s likely the fuel has seen better days.  Additionally, if you notice a more potent smell of fuel than you usual, there may be a leak happening – something that must be looked at immediately.

Beyond fuel, check the forklift’s oil level and ensure the fuel valve hasn’t popped open somehow. Above all, if there’s not enough fuel in the actual tank, it’s time for a top-up.

The battery

Before you start trying to fix something that isn’t broken, check to see if the battery is causing the problem. If the headlights aren’t shining bright or if they happen to dim when you blow the horn, there’s likely an issue in the battery area.


If the headlights are completely dead, then it’s most likely related to a blown main power fuse or connection – such as loose ends or corrosion. It’s best to leave this kind of problem for a service professional.

If, after all these steps, you’re still experiencing issues, make sure you take your vehicle to an expert or service professional who can take a look at all facets of the problem.

Not sure where to get started? Damoli is a one-stop shop for Forklifts Hire or Sale. Speak to our team on 1300 326 654 today.

Damoli Forklift Services offer one-stop shop for forklift hire, sales and servicing. We have a wide range of gas, diesel and electric forklifts ranging from 1 tonne right through to 45 tonne container handlers. We also have high reach forklifts and specialised scissor lifts available.