5 Tips for Buying a Used Forklift That Will Last

Large pneumatic tire forklift transporting industrial materials outside

Buying a used forklift can be a quick way to get the equipment your business needs at an affordable price. Of course, it’s not always that simple. Opting for used lift trucks over new options comes with its own risks.

Before buying a used forklift, you’ll need to make sure that you’re making a good choice. All too often buyers end up losing money by purchasing used equipment. On the other hand, though, some people save up to 50% on initial costs and find a forklift that lasts for years.

The important thing is to compare all your options and take your time when making a decision. Not every used forklift is a good deal. Luckily, Industrial Forklift Truck is here to help your sort out the good from the bad.

Avoid scams and protect your financial investment with these five easy tips. Then compare used forklift prices online with Industrial Forklift Truck.

Should I Buy a Used Forklift?

First, you’ll need to see if used or refurbished equipment is a good fit for your needs. Used forklifts don’t last as long as their new counterparts and may require more maintenance. If you require low down-time and high productivity or reliability, a new forklift may be the best option.

Many professionals suggest purchasing new equipment if you plan to operate more than four hours a day in a single-shift operation. Of course, new equipment isn’t always an option. Staying within your budget is incredibly important. Used forklifts can help you get the equipment you need for a price you can afford.

While buying a used forklift is risky, it is financially smart if the forklift is in good shape. The used forklift price is much lower upfront. However, if you need specialized accessories or unusual mast height requirements, a new forklift is probably your only option.

If a second-hand forklift still sounds like a good fit for you, check out these five tips before you make a purchase.

1. Perform a visual inspection.

If you can assess the equipment in person, check if for visible damage. Look for rust and other surface issues. Check the forks for cracks, bent blades, or uneven heights. Check the lift chains for large gaps between links. If you see any, measure them with a chain gauge.

It’s also a good idea to check the mast, tires, and safety elements of a second-hand forklift. Move the mast both with a load and without to ensure smooth operation. Examine the tread depth of the tires. Check for chunking or radial cracks. Confirm that the seatbelt, horn, and lights are functioning correctly.

Keep in mind that while these issues may be fixable, they may indicate misuse. Used forklifts that have not been used properly or maintained regularly will not be reliable. Also, expensive repairs minimize the savings you got from the low used forklift price. If you pay so much in repairs that you are no longer saving money, you might as well buy new.

2. Ask about the equipment's application history.

It’s important to find out where and how the second-hand forklift was used. The previous owner should be able to give you this information.

Try to avoid used lift trucks that were used near saltwater, which can increase corrosion. Extremely cold environments may also cause the seals on the engine and hydraulic systems to become more brittle. Humid environments increase the opportunity for moisture to reach electrical systems.

Proceed with caution if the equipment was used for heavy outdoor applications. Long-term outdoor use can lead to excessive wear and tear. Buying a used forklift is a big investment and you want to have the best chance possible for success.

3. Determine the forklift's age and hours.

The sweet spot for used forklifts seems to be somewhere around three to five years. Of course, every situation is different. These numbers depend on how often the equipment was used during that period of time.

A mildly-used forklift that is six years old and used part-time might be a better choice than a three-year-old heavily-used outdoor forklift stored outside in an extremely cold environment.

The more important factor to consider when buying a used forklift is total hours. Usage hours are a measure of how long the forklift was actually operated. Heavy use over one year equates to just over 2,000 hours. The average lifespan of a forklift is between 10,000 and 15,000 hours.

That means a second-hand forklift that was heavily used and is three years old should have around 6,000 usage hours. If a forklift was used part-time, it’ll have lower hours at a lower age.

4. Buy for your specific needs and applications.

Let’s put it this way - just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean it’s the right equipment for you.

Sometimes the used forklift price does all the talking. It’s important to make sure you’re buying what you truly need. Do not compromise just because you found a good deal. There are thousands of used lift trucks out there. You will find what you’re looking for, so don’t rush it.

The last thing you want is to get stuck with equipment that can’t perform all the tasks you need it to perform. Before you know it, you’ll be shopping for another second-hand forklift. Stick to the forklift type and specs that your business needs to operate efficiently.

5. Make sure the forklift seller is trustworthy.

This is arguably the most important factor. But it’s also the hardest to ensure. There are thousands of used forklifts for sale out there and a huge fraction of them are not worth the investment. How do you know who to trust?

That’s where Industrial Forklift Truck comes in. We make buying a used forklift simple by sorting through the options for you. We partner with trustworthy sellers and dealers to collect a huge inventory of used lift trucks. Each machine in our inventory is guaranteed quality.

A row of a dozen outdoor forklift trucks

Finding Quality Used Forklifts for Sale

A major part of buying a used forklift is determining if the seller is trustworthy. When you buy through Industrial Forklift Truck, you don’t have to wonder.

We partner with trustworthy dealers and industry-leading manufacturers to provide the largest inventory of quality used forklifts for sale nationwide. Simply let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll match you with used forklifts you can trust.

We’ll also send you pricing on each of your options. It’s that easy to find used forklifts for sale. Don’t waste time sorting through scams. Instead, browse quality equipment online with Industrial Forklift Truck.

Get Pricing on Used Forklifts for Sale in Your Area.