Assessing the Condition of a Used Forklift

Category: Equipment and Solutions

Used Forklift for Sale

When you buy used, you can add high-quality material handling equipment to your fleet for a lower price. However, it is important to remember that used equipment comes with unique concerns. To ensure you receive safe, efficient machinery and a high return on your investment, you need to choose a machine in good condition.

At RAKA, our equipment experts have been serving customers in the upper Midwest since the 1970s, so we know what makes a used lift truck trustworthy. To buy a used forklift with minimal risk, we recommend conducting a thorough assessment that considers the following factors.

Usage Hours

A lift truck’s usage hours tell the buyer how much wear and tear to expect. Usage hours will usually be tracked on the dash, although what activities count toward usage hours varies by manufacturer. The more usage hours a forklift has, the more worn-down it will be and the less you should expect to pay.

When deciding if you should buy a used forklift, look for usage hours in the part-time range, if possible. A forklift that has been used part-time will naturally be in better condition than a forklift that has been used eight hours or more every day.

Application History

Although usage hours offer a useful and quick way to judge a machine’s overall condition, you should also consider the forklift’s application history, since some applications and working environments are harsher than others. To avoid old forklift conditions like corrosion and brittleness, be wary of machines that have been used near saltwater and in extremely cold and humid conditions.

Additionally, consider whether the forklift you are considering was used indoors or outdoors and how much weight it lifted regularly. Machines primarily used outdoors are often rusted and show heavier wear, and machines that have been overloaded may have bent or cracked forks.

Overall Condition

Before you buy a used forklift, you should have an experienced forklift technician inspect the following components of the machine:

  • Forks
  • Lift chains
  • Mast
  • Tires
  • Engine
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Seatbelt

Take note of any leaks, cracks, rust, repair welding or other signs of damage. Then, if you’re still interested in the forklift, you or an operator should take the machine for a test drive. Once inside the cab, start the engine and listen for any concerning noises, then run through the following checks:

  • Test the hydraulic levers, lifting, lowering, tilting and shifting the arms.
  • Run the mast through its different stages.
  • Drive the forklift back and forth, checking the steering and breaks for responsiveness.
  • Double-check the safety features, including the horn, lights, seatbelt and back-up alarm.

Manufacturer and Seller Reputation

As one last precaution before committing, look into the manufacturer’s and seller’s reputations. Buying a used forklift from a well-known manufacturer makes it easier to find replacement parts, and buying from a reputable dealer rather than the previous owner helps ensure you receive a reliable lift truck capable of meeting your job requirements.

At RAKA, we offer used forklifts from a variety of trusted manufacturers, including Mitsubishi, Hyster, Yale and Caterpillar. When you buy from RAKA, you won’t need to wonder how to buy a used lift truck that’s right for your business — we work with customers in a range of industries and can help you select an ideal used forklift for your budget and application. We also thoroughly inspect every unit we sell.

To learn more about the used forklifts we offer, fill out our online contact form or find a RAKA location near you.

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