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In my first installment of the series on whether or not you should buy used forklifts, Should I Buy Used Forklifts? Part I, I discussed how you should evaluate your business situation to determine if it is feasible for you to buy used lifts.
In part two of the series I will cover how a warehouse manager or forklift fleet manager should inspect used forklifts to assure that he is not purchasing a lemon.
Whenever you buy anything used, especially a used vehicle, you should study any records that exist pertaining to the history of the vehicle. That should also be the case when considering the acquisition of used forklifts.
Ask the seller of the used lift or lifts:
· To present you with a copy of the forklift’s or lifts’ service history.
· If it would be okay for a qualified forklift specialist to inspect the lift or lifts in question if records are unavailable.
· If the lift or lifts are still under warranty and, if so, what is the coverage on parts, labor, and are there any hidden costs and how much time remains on the warranty?
· If the warranty has expired, ask how you can renew or extend and how much that would cost?
· Ask about the existence of any forklift service plans.
Once these questions have been answered, then you should inspect the forklift or lifts in question yourself with a forklift specialist by your side. It is important that you do it so that you have the chance to personally evaluate the machine or machines you have selected. Make certain that all parts, attachments and features work properly. It is also important to include a specialist because he could spot something that you could miss.
If the lift just falls short, then consider spending more money for a better lift. This will assure that you don’t get stuck paying a lot of money in repairs and parts and will not be affected by downtime to perform repairs. This could also prevent you from having to deal with injuries to people or damage to property.
Take extra time if necessary in your inspection to assure that:
· Tires are in good condition including their tread.
· There is no external damage to the mast. Make sure that it moves up and down properly in accordance to specs.
· Make certain that the weight is in accordance to the size of the lift and will work with the loads you expect the lift or lifts to carry.
· The seat should look respectable and should be comfortable to sit on.
· Gears and controls should work smoothly.
· The brakes perform instantly and under pressure, especially on a slope and with a load.
· The lift or lifts are rust free.
· The engine and chassis numbers are present. These numbers will indicate the year the lift or lifts were manufactured.
· The information on the rating plate is correct.
· The hour meter is displaying the correct number of hours the machine was used. Be ware that hour meters can easily be replaced or can break and cause the display of unusually low hours for a used forklift.
It is imperative that you take the lift out for a trial run. Be sure that you have your forklift driver’s license on you before operating a lift. If you don’t have a license bring a forklift operator who has one with you to the dealer so that he can do the trial run. Be serious about the trial and make sure that it turns, accelerates and reverses properly; that it stops in a timely manner; that it works at the proper speed and height you need; that it lowers at the speed and minimum height you require; and that it tilts to the correct angle in order to support a load.
Finally, do some research into the cost of replacement parts for the lift you have selected before you actually acquire it. Parts for certain brands of lifts can be expensive or hard to find.
(Next time: Closing the deal and after the Purchase)