Repair or Replace? How to Tell When It's Time for a New Forklift

It’s not always easy to determine when is the right time to invest in a new forklift. When you’ve already paid for the equipment, it can be tempting to hold onto it well past its natural lifetime.

Sit-down forklift equipment parked in a warehouse facility

Think of your forklift equipment like a car. As cars climb past 150,000 miles, the possibility of a breakdown increases exponentially. Similarly, a forklift starts to lose its reliability and safety after 10,000 hours, or 7 years of daily use.

However, there are cars that make it well past 150,000 miles. In fact, some even make it past 250,000.

The same is true for forklifts. Just because the projected lifespan is 10,000 - 12,000 hours doesn’t mean your equipment will comply. How long a forklift lasts depends heavily on operating conditions and routine maintenance, as well as the quality of equipment. Some high-end models can last up to 20,000 hours.

So, how do you know when it’s time to call it quits? Industrial Forklift Truck is here to guide you through the decision-making process. We’ve created a guide on things to consider when deciding between forklift repair and replacement. Use these tips to make a smart decision regarding your forklift equipment.

Consider Forklift Repair Prices

Since there’s no magic number of usage hours, it’s important to consider the average cost of forklift service and repair. Estimate forklift maintenance cost per hour for your equipment. A new forklift will have little to no maintenance costs. However, older forklift equipment will.

Here’s how to calculate forklift maintenance cost per hour for your equipment:

Yearly Repair Costs / Yearly Usage Hours = Maintenance Cost Per Hour

The average single-shift operation runs forklift equipment for about 2,000 hours each year. Let’s say your machine was used 2,000 hours last year and needed a $1,500 forklift repair. That means your maintenance cost per hour is just $0.75/hour. Keep in mind that for these purposes, we are not factoring preventative maintenance into yearly repair costs.

Now let’s say, 5 years down the road, that your annual forklift repair costs have reached $20,000. That’s $10/hour just for servicing. It might be time to start browsing forklifts for sale.

One quick way to assess whether or not your equipment is on the decline is to look at trends. Have your forklift repair costs (minus preventative maintenance) doubled in the past year? Have more than four work orders been opened in a 12-month period for your equipment? If the answer to either question is yes, you’ll need to consider whether the cost to keep your machine is worth the value and efficiency it adds to your business.

Consider Forklift Costs for New Equipment

You’ll also need to consider whether that cost is worthwhile in comparison to the cost of a new forklift. For instance, even if your equipment is an invaluable addition to your business, that doesn’t mean you aren’t wasting money. In fact, replacing your equipment with a new forklift might end up saving you money in the long run.

Let’s say you’re spending $30,000 each year on forklift service and repair. An electric lift only costs between $20,000 and $45,000. Continuing to pay for forklift service and repair would be a waste of money when you could simply buy new equipment.

Of course, the forklift cost will vary with each type of equipment, but try to view the price tag in terms of your repair bill. In this particular scenario, even a $60,000 machine is only 2 years worth of current repair costs.

Keep in mind that quality refurbished equipment is a great alternative. If you recognize the financial benefit of replacing your equipment but a new forklift is still outside of your price range, consider buying used. Used equipment can save you as much as 50% on forklift costs.

The danger here is that you could end up in the same situation you’re in now, with high forklift repair costs. However, if you browse forklifts for sale from a trustworthy dealer, used equipment can save you thousands of dollars.

A row of forklifts for sale in an indoor facility

Find the Best Deal on Forklifts for Sale

Even if replacing your equipment is the smartest option, you’ll still want to find the best deal on forklifts for sale near you. Buying a new forklift is a big investment.

Industrial Forklift Truck can help you compare all of your options in one place. Get upfront information on forklift costs and capabilities to find the best deal before you choose.

Start by answering a few questions about the features and capabilities you’d like for your forklift equipment to have. For instance, what lift height and load capacity do you need? Once you’ve completed this questionnaire, our experts will match you with forklifts for sale that fit your needs. You’ll receive information like forklift cost and specs straight to your inbox.

Compare your options to determine if any are a good fit for your business. Browse a huge selection of forklifts for sale online in minutes.

Get Pricing & Information on the Largest Inventory of Forklifts for Sale.