What Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Forklift?


The material handling business requires the execution of a lot of fine details in order to take off and sustain in the competitive industry. From the crew to the managers, every single component is crucial yet, none more so than the equipment required to make operations come to life on site. Forklifts have become the beating heart and soul of the material handling business, and by extension, the largest costs incurred by businesses as well. That is why fleet managers have to think long and hard when the time comes to replace forklifts as how best to approach it.

After all, there are a number of ways you can get your hands on a forklift. You can either buy one or rent it for a particular period of time. You also have the choice between purchasing a brand new forklift or a used forklift truck, but which combination is better? That is a debate for another time. For now, we shall focus on how a fleet manager can go about effectively purchasing a used forklift in order to minimize costs and maximize profits for the material handling business.

Purchasing a used forklift is trickier than it sounds since a misstep can lead to further disaster down the line. Not only would you be losing money on a bad investment by purchasing a faulty pre-owned forklift, but you would also be putting your crew and forklift operators at risk. That is why it is essential for fleet managers to know how to buy a used forklift and what questions to ask before finalizing the purchase.

Why is the forklift being sold?

This should always be question number 1 since it is the most important one. The reason for selling the forklift in the first place reveals a lot about whether you should make the purchase. One of the best reasons you can hope for is that the previous owner just needs some extra cash at that point. This shows that there is nothing wrong with the forklift itself. If the seller seems, vague, unclear or nervous than they are probably hiding something about the forklift’s history and you should steer clear.

What was the forklift used for?

This is an important question to ask since you want to know the service history of the forklift. You may even specify the question even further by saying “Was the forklift used for indoor or outdoor operations?” to get a clearer answer. The terrain, location, loads and environment in which the forklift operates have a deep impact on its functional life. As such, you need to be fully aware of where, when and how the forklift has been used before.

It is also important to ask this question since it can reveal whether the forklift was ever misused or required to lift loads that exceeded the maximum lifting capacity. Usually, the purpose for which a forklift is used can tell you a lot about what state it is in. It is better to use forklift retailers such as Truck Forklifts to help you through this part of the questioning since professional retailers can help you better evaluate the state of the forklift through its prior use.

What are the Maintenance Costs?

The entire point of purchasing a used forklift truck for sale is that it saves you money. Asking about the maintenance costs is essential since it will help you assess the intrinsic costs associated with purchasing the forklift. The intrinsic costs are those that are not clear from the get-go but arise later on during forklift operation. Maintenance costs are a classic example. If the initial selling price is reasonable and the maintenance costs are high, the purchase is virtually a loss since it will cost you more money in the long run.

Has the forklift ever been in an accident?

Consider it a rule of thumb; if the forklift has ever been in a serious accident then don’t purchase it. Forklifts have plenty of intricate components that can be damaged easily if they are ever exposed to undue stress or accidents. If a forklift has ever been in an accident, then chances are that its best days are behind it. Ask the seller to be completely honest while answering this question since it is important to know whether the forklift’s performance can be trusted.

It is also a good idea to let your forklift operators weigh in on the decision of purchasing a used forklift, especially if it has been in an accident. Even if the seller insists that the forklift is in the best possible condition, it is advisable to let your operators decide that for themselves since they will be the ones using it. In the end, you can ask as many questions as you want as long as they help you make a better purchase.

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