Buying a Used Forklift

Buying a used forklift poses many of the same risks that you encounter when you purchase a used car, only more severe. After all, with a used car, you can at least acquire a Car Fax report or other such service that gives you a clear idea of what the car has been through and whether it’s safe to buy. On the other hand, with a used forklift, it can be difficult to gain a firm understanding of the life of the vehicle, and when you consider the inherent risk of driving a forklift, this added risk can pose real problems. Still, this is not to say that you should not consider a used forklift, as buying used is for some people the most practical option. Anyone shopping for a forklift has to weight the advantages and disadvantages of buying a used or new forklift, so this post offers some helpful tips that will allow you to make an informed decision.

Should You Buy a Used Forklift?

Should You Buy a Used Forklift?


The main criteria

There are some broad guidelines you should use to determine whether buying a used forklift is better for you. If you will be using your lift truck for single shifts, driving it no more than five days per week and five hours per day, and will not be using the forklift in a nonstop setting, it is likely that you will be satisfied with a used forklift. Used forklifts are generally at least twice as inexpensive as their new counterparts, so if you don’t put heavy usage on the vehicle, buying used saves money without sacrificing performance.

Shopping for a used forklift

When shopping for a used forklift, you really want to mitigate risk. Accordingly, it is ideal to buy from a certified used dealer. Buyers typically purchase from either other dealers or other users; obviously, purchasing from a dealer involves less risk since the dealer will have (hopefully) cultivated a trustworthy reputation. If you can, try and purchase a rental since they tend to have less wear and tear, although rentals do tend to cost more for this same reason.

Before buying a used forklift, review the maintenance records; if the previous owner completed their maintenance records themselves, this should be seen as a red flag. In any event, hire a mechanic to conduct a close inspection. Take the vehicle for a test drive, making sure that it can handle quick turns and is capable of carrying its specified load. Other areas to inspect include: checking for side carriage play, inspecting whether there are transmission leaks, and ensuring that the brakes are effective.

If the forklift handles well, has a clean maintenance history, and passes a mechanic’s inspection, you should feel confident about purchasing a used forklift. There is always risk involved in buying used, but if you take a thorough approach, purchasing a used forklift is a cheap and worthy alternative to buying a new one.

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