When is it Time to Retire Your Used Forklift? — Part Two

As we mentioned in our previous post, your ongoing maintenance costs are the key to knowing when it’s time to retire your used forklift. The tipping point comes when maintenance costs become so great, that they outweigh its cost benefits. How do you know when that tipping point has been reached?

The Tipping Point for Used Forklifts

What you don’t want to do is make a knee-jerk reaction to extraordinary maintenance costs. If maintenance and repair costs have spiked, take a closer look at them first. Was it because of an accident or another one-time event? If so, the information is valuable, but it’s not necessarily time to retire your used forklift. If the costs have been steadily creeping up over time without any extraordinary occurrences to explain them, though, it’s time to do a little number crunching.

a used forklift

Has your used forklift reached the tipping point yet?

There are a couple of rules of thumb you can apply to your used forklift to determine if it’s time to say goodbye. Some experienced fleet owners say the tipping point comes for them when maintenance costs exceed 10% of the forklift’s original purchase price. Others replace their forklifts when yearly maintenance costs exceed their resale value. Still, others decide to sell their used forklifts when their monthly maintenance costs approach the monthly payments for a new lift truck.


The bottom line when determining when it’s time to retire your used forklift is your bottom line. When your forklift becomes a productivity liability rather than an asset, it’s time (or past time) to replace it. Aside from maintenance and repair costs, how much downtime has your forklift clocked up? Downtime is unproductive time and unproductive time is wasted time. Sure, other forklifts in your fleet may be able to pick up the slack, but their extra workload is ultimately going to lead to their earlier demise, so your out-of-commission forklift may be costing you even more than you realize.

A Used Forklift Retirement Plan

You’ve decided it’s not worth keeping your old workhorse bandaged together anymore, but does that mean it’s ready for the scrap heap? Not necessarily. You have other options to consider:

• Are there times when you’ve wished you had a second forklift to fill in as a spare? This might be an ideal time to buy a new or used forklift and keep “old faithful” as a spare.
• If you have a fleet of identical or similar forklifts, you might want to hang on to it for spare parts.
• If your forklift is in reasonable condition, it might still have substantial trade-in value.
• Can you sell your used forklift? If so, manufacturers recommend selling it to a third-party broker rather than directly to an end-user because of potential liability issues.

If selling your used forklift for its scrap value is your best option, don’t just take what you’re offered by the local scrapyard. You might be surprised by how much it’s worth. According to some experts, the scrap value of forklifts today is up to $1,500. That can go a long way towards replacing your old forklift with a reconditioned forklift that will give you years of faithful service.

About Marie Q.

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