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Buying A Used Forklift – Things to Consider

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Tips for Buying a Used Forklift

Buying a used forklift will minimize upfront costs. However, this is not a decision you should make in a hurry. Just like buying a used car, you have to be very cautious when buying a used forklift. In many cases, you will have to choose the equipment based on service hours, age, application history, or its overall condition. This post takes a quick look at the key areas you should focus on when buying a used forklift.


  1. Age of the Forklift

It is cheaper to buy an old forklift as compared to a new one. If you are on a tight budget or your primary goal is to save as much money as possible, you should go for a forklift that is at least five years old. You will pay a price that is closer to that of a new forklift if you go for a forklift that is less than five years old.

  1. Total Hours

When evaluating a used forklift, you have to focus on both key hours and usage hours. The majority of forklift models track both key and usage hours. You will be able to find this information on the dash.

Key hours are tracked each time the key of the forklift is turned on. However, because they also track idle time, key hours are not the best for tracking the usage of the equipment. This is for the simple fact that during idle time most of the machine’s parts are not used. Your focus should, therefore, be on the usage hours.

Usage hours vary from one machine to another. They are tracked based on actions and operator. For example, in a standing model, the presence of an operator can be calculated if the pedal is depressed. For the sit-down models, usage hours can be tracked using a switch that activates whenever an operator sits down.

If your focus is on hours when purchasing a forklift, a forklift with part-time use is the best. A part-time use for one year is about 1,040 hours. This means the forklift is used 4 hours a day, five days a week for 52 weeks a year. Heavy use for one year can go up to 2,080 hours. This happens when a forklift is used 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 52 weeks a year.

Forklift hours are like the mileage of a car. They indicate wear and tear. The lower the hours are, the better.

  1. Application History

You should not focus on the usage hours alone because where a forklift was used will determine wear and tear. When considering a used forklift, be wary if it was used in any of these extreme environments:

  • Near saltwater: Proximity to saltwater increases the risk of corrosion on components.
  • Extremely cold environments: The seals on hydraulics and engine become brittle when used in cold environments.
  • Extreme humid environments: Moisture can get to the electrical systems and also increase the risk of corrosion.
  • Heavy outdoor use: Exposure to the elements causes wear and tear.
  1. Condition

It is your duty to perform a thorough check on used equipment before purchasing. The fact you should remember is that there are many things that can escape an untrained eye. That is why it is so important to work with a certified technician when inspecting a used forklift. The major areas that need to be inspected include:

  • Forks: These should be checked for such damages as cracks, bent blades, and uneven heights.
  • Lift chains: Check for excessively large gaps between the links. The chains can be measured using a chain gauge.
  • Safety elements: The lights, seatbelt, and horn should be working properly.
  • Mast: You have to ensure there is smooth operation with no slippage. Check the mast with and without a load.
  • Tires: Tires must be examined for radial cracks, chunking, and tread depth. Tires that are poorly maintained can cause significant damages to the forklift.
  • Engine: The engine should start without any problem and the exhaust should be minimal.
  • Leaks: Check for leaks along the mast, transmission, tile cylinders, and radiator once the forklift is warm.

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Use Extreme Caution When Purchasing a Used Forklift

Prior to purchasing a used forklift, determine its previous maintenance history. Improper maintenance by the previous owner can lead to unexpected maintenance costs. Ask for maintenance history. If you can’t get these records, leaks and engine starting troubles can be indicators of poor maintenance. Secondly, stay away from forklift models that are no longer in production. You could have trouble finding replacement parts.

If you need further help for buying new or used forklifts in Toronto, call Modern Forklift now at (416) 745-3726.

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