It may seem like buying a used forklift is just a matter of doing a thorough inspection and then making the purchase, but there’s usually much more to the process than that, and it can often be quite hard to find a good one.
Many used forklifts look like they have seen their last useful days and, while it is possible to find a diamond in the rough, it is important to be realistic in your expectations. There are many reasons not to purchase a used forklift despite the potential cost savings and these reasons include:
- Out of date technology
- Safety equipment may not be current
- More likely to break down or require repair
- The warranty has likely expired
- Repairs are likely to be more costly if the model has been discontinued
Although buying a new machine will cut any of the above concerns, it’s not a viable solution for all companies or individuals.
If you are determined to try your luck with a used machine, be sure to take appropriate steps to ensure you do not end up with a lemon. To inspect the vehicle thoroughly before purchase, always check the following:
Fully inspect the forks and mast
Begin your inspection of the forklift by checking the forks for cracks, bends, or distortions. Check the fork heels for signs of excessive wear and check the mast for welds or cracks. Mast pins, tilt, and side-shift cylinders should be secure and checked for leaks.
Inspecting lift chains, cylinders, and mast rails
Next, check the mast rails for welds or cracks that may affect its structural integrity. Look for damage to or links missing from lift chains and ensure all anchor pins are in place. Mast rollers should be round and not compressed into an oval shape, and there should be equal tension distribution in lift chains and hoses. Check for leaks, missing bolts, and signs of damage to chains and hoses in tilt cylinders.
Inspect the frame, cowling, and canopy
The canopy should be inspected for signs of bends or damage that may lead to failure in the case of a rollover. Check side screens are in place and there are no missing or damaged windows in the forklift cab. Look for welds and cracks in the chassis as well as any sign of modification or repair that may have left it weakened. Step inside and fasten the seatbelt, noting how securely the seat is attached and the condition of the seatbelt. Check the tired for missing chunks or lug nuts.
Checking general operation and engine compartment
Open the engine compartment and check for leaks and dirt buildup on cranks and hoses. Check the level and condition of the oil and ensure that all belts are tight with no sign of cracking or wear. Make sure air filters are clean and the batter connections are in good condition. Finally, check tank brackets and bolts and then climb in, turn it on, and test its operation.