How Important Are Forklift Hours? Here's What You Need to Know

Forklift hours are a way of tracking how long a machine has been operated. The number of hours on a forklift indicates the amount of time it has been turned on and used.

Used propane forklift with low forklift hours loading a semi-truck

Forklift hours work just like car miles. Mileage is used to track the distance a vehicle has been driven. This gives the owner an idea of how much longer the car will last and when it needs to be serviced. Hours are an indicator of the same things.

Forklift lifespan directly correlates to hours. As forklift hours rise, the equipment gets closer to the end of its lifespan, or useful life. Forklift useful life is exactly how long a forklift can run until it is beyond repair.

If you plan on buying a used forklift, understanding hours and useful life will help you make a smart decision. Purchase reliable equipment with plenty of life left in it. First, find everything you need to know about forklift hours here.

Forklift Hours

The age of a forklift is typically measured in hours, rather than years. Forklift hours are a more accurate unit of measurement because they consider when the equipment was actually operated.

This is important because one business may own a forklift for two years but only operate it a few times a week and experience full weeks of downtime. Another business many own the same equipment for two years but operate it heavily for 8+ hours daily.

Both forklifts are two years old, but have very different hours.

Forklift hours also give you a gauge for when your equipment needs maintenance. Routine forklift servicing should be done every 200 hours. Use forklift hours to track servicing and get some insight into how much life is left in your equipment. On average, forklift lifespan is between 10,000 and 15,000 hours. That translates to roughly five to seven years of daily use.

Of course, many other factors affect forklift lifespan. Learn more below.

Forklift Lifespan

The average forklift lifespan is somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 hours. How and where you use your equipment will play a huge role in determining when it’s time for a replacement.

Forklift useful life is the maximum amount of time a forklift will run for. This may be eight or nine years, maybe more! In contrast, forklift economic life is the amount of time for which it is financially smart to operate a forklift. In other words, economic life is how long you can operate the forklift before you start losing money.

For instance, are you paying more for repairs than you’re making from the equipment? Are you experiencing more downtime than operating time? Is your forklift always in the shop? These are all signs that your forklift’s economic life is spent.

Estimating forklift useful life gives you a good understanding of what to expect, but it isn’t what you should base your decisions on. It is smarter to replace your equipment when it reaches the end of its economic life, not its forklift useful life.

Two pre-owned forklifts for sale with pneumatic tires parked outside

Buying a Used Forklift

Used equipment is cheaper than new equipment. However, it won’t save you any money if it breaks down in less than a year. Purchasing a low-quality used forklift may actually cost you more than new equipment after repairs.

If you’re planning on buying a used forklift, pay attention to hours. In general, you want to buy a forklift that still has somewhere between a fourth and a half of its life left. That’s probably somewhere between 7,000 and 11,000 hours. Of course, if you can find a machine with even fewer forklift hours, that is ideal, but you may not get the level of savings you’re looking for.

When buying a used forklift, reliability should be your main priority. While hours can give you an idea of lifespan, only a full inspection will be able to tell you what the condition of the lift is.

Keep in mind that not every forklift you find online is all that it seems to be. When it comes time to shop for equipment, use a trusted site like Industrial Forklift Truck. Industrial Forklift Truck works with certified, pre-screened dealers to provide a huge inventory of high-quality used equipment. Every visitor gets access to free forklift quotes on equipment that matches their unique needs.

Buying a used forklift requires diligence and caution. You’ll need to find out where and how it’s been used and what condition it truly is in. Proper maintenance can greatly extend forklift lifespan, so ensuring that the equipment was cared for is critical.

Not sure who to trust? Turn to Industrial Forklift Truck. Find quality equipment from top dealers in your area. Industrial Forklift Truck makes buying a used forklift simple. Compare free quotes on different machines that fit your needs today.

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