Chapter 1 - Welcome
Chapter 2 - Rules and Regulations
Chapter 3 - Forklift Classes and Certifications
Chapter 4 - Forklifts & Automobiles
Chapter 5 - Forklift Stability
Chapter 6 - Safety and Mishaps
Chapter 7 - Pre-Shift Inspection
Chapter 8 - Standard Forklifts
Chapter 9 - Narrow Aisle Forklifts
Chapter 10 - Powered Pallet Jack
Chapter 11 - Final Considerations
12. Final Exam

Main Parts of a Power Pallet Jack

Knowing what the main parts are called and understanding what they do is very important in relation to inspecting and using the equipment properly. The information on the main parts is broken down in this chapter as follows: General and High-Lift Units.


Walkie Power Pallet Jack
Rider Power Pallet Jack

Main power source (battery): Provides electrical energy to power all the hydraulic and electrical systems on your pallet truck.

Hydraulics: Hydraulic systems stand unparalleled in their power transmission capabilities, using pressurized fluid to command components such as cylinders and motors. The hydraulic fluid impeccably emulates the energy transfer of a solid object. Its unrivaled edge lies in its ability to traverse corners and angles with zero power loss – an achievement beyond the reach of mechanical systems.

Operator platform (rider units): The operator platform, which is where you stand when you’re driving this type of truck, is pretty much front and center. Even though it’s not huge, it’s super useful. Some platforms stay put, like they’re glued in place, while others are more like transformers, folding up when you’re using the machine as a walkie.

Operator riding power pallet jack

Key switch: Once the key switch is flicked to the ON position, the truck springs to life, powered up and primed for use. Whether located on the control handle or the main body of the unit, turning it on is a breeze.

Operating controls: Controls layout can differ across machines. We’ll focus on those common to most powered pallet trucks for simplicity. For specific machine controls, consult the operator’s manual or engage your supervisor for authoritative guidance.

  • Control Handle: The operating controls are conveniently situated on the control handle, or as some might refer to it, the tiller. This control center is strategically positioned at the front or tractor end of the truck. For the unit to be successfully driven and steered, the control handle must always be within its active drive range, with the key/power assuredly switched ON.
power pallet jack control handle
  • Lift/Lower Controls: The LIFT/LOWER controls, are typically found on the top side of the control handle. Many units also conveniently feature a second set of controls on the machine’s body (grab bar) for effortless operation with either hand. Pushing the LIFT switch triggers the hydraulic system to power the lift cylinders, effortlessly raising the forks. Conversely, pressing the LOWER button facilitates the seamless lowering of the forks. To halt the forks’ movement at any point, simply release the switch. Rest assured, the forks will automatically stop when they reach the limits of their upward or downward travel ranges.
  • Directional Speed Control: The machine’s speed and direction are managed by a directional speed control on the control handle. This can either be a butterfly switch, operated by the thumb and found on both sides of the handle, or a twist grip, a hand-operated switch also located on either side of the handle.
  • Positive Fraction Brake: This brake works like car brakes, where materials rub together to stop the unit. It’s often used for emergencies or parking. Controlled by the handle’s position, it activates when the handle is almost vertical or horizontal. If you let go of the handle while moving, it springs back to a vertical position, applying the brake.
positive friction brake in a power pallet jack
  • Steering: The front control handle is used for steering. Turning the handle left or right rotates the wheel, making the truck turn. The handle can move a lot, allowing the truck to make sharp turns.
steering in a power pallet jack
  • Drive and Load Wheels: The pallet truck has two types of wheels: drive wheels and load wheels. The drive wheel is at the front, under the control handle, and made of hard material like urethane, nylon, or rubber. Load wheels are near the fork tips and also made of hard urethane. Both types of wheels support the truck and load, and are designed for hard, flat surfaces like concrete. They may have softer, rubbery outer surfaces for a smoother ride and better traction. Different wheels may be used in extreme conditions like very high or low temperatures.