Forklifts are industrial trucks used to lift heavy objects. There are many different types of forklifts and these machines are often used in warehouses to unload lorries and transport goods. If you are in need to invest in a forklift, you may quickly realize that this process can be long and overwhelming.
Evidently, investing in a forklift, whether it is brand new or used, can be expensive and time-consuming, as you ensure that you are buying something that will benefit you rather than over-paying for something no good to you.
In this article, we will discuss nine things to look for when buying a forklift, to ensure that you buy a machine in good condition and invest your money effectively.
1. Check the Forks For Damage
Before you buy a forklift, it is important that you thoroughly check it for damage. It is a good idea to start at the front – you can inspect the machine for any cracks and other signs of wear and tear. Cracks are the main thing to look for, as these often indicate that the forks will require replacement. You can also look at the heel of the blade to check for thickness, which is something people often forget to inspect. Therefore, if you notice any cracks, do not buy the machine. When inspecting a forklift you’ll most likely start in the front. Look for cracks, bends, or any other signs of wear.
2. Look for Gaps in the Lift Chains
Much like the above, checking for cracks or welding marks on the lift chains will be a sign of previous damage that has been poorly fixed. Poor welding jobs will impact the structural integrity of the mast, resulting in damage early on.
3. Watch How Smoothly the Mast Operates
You should never buy any machine without watching how it works first-hand – this is when you will be most likely to see if it works smoothly or if there are any issues with the forklift that was not visible when it was stationary.
Ask the seller to move it around and to raise the forks more than once. If this does not happen smoothly, it may be a sign that the lift chain or mast rollers need fixing. Evidently, if you are willing to spend the money to fix it, you can still buy a machine with some issues, although if this is the case, the damage should be taken into consideration and deducted from the costs and you should certainly not be paying full price for it.
4. Look at the Tires
The tires are very important to inspect, as poor tires can actually result in health and safety issues for anyone who uses the machine. Do not be scared of getting down to take a close look at the tires and feel them. Forklift tires may have signs of chunking, which usually looks like someone bit the tire. This is a warning sign that they will need replacing as soon as possible.
5. Determine the Life Left in the Battery
The forklift will not operate smoothly without a well-functioning battery – you must check whether the battery on the forklift you want to buy will still function for some time without causing issues. Unfortunately, you can’t necessarily check this simply by looking at the battery, and you will need to rely on the seller, to be honest, and provide you with this information.
Generally, a forklift battery will last around five years in single-shift operations. You can easily calculate how long the battery has left simply by checking the details with the seller.
6. See What Shape the Engine is in
Before you check the engine, make sure to run the forklift for a while. After this, you can then inspect the engine compartment. The main thing to look for here is leaks and cracks on the hoses, which suggest it will need replacing or cause more severe issues. Replacing a forklift engine can be very expensive, or cause such serious issues that you will simply have to buy another forklift. Therefore, make sure that you complete all the checks appropriately. Just like you would in a car, dipstick the engine oil and check that the belts are lubricated and tight.
7. Seek a Professional Opinion
You may need to buy a forklift, but this may be the very first time you are having to deal with this type of machine. If this is the case, it is okay to recognize that you may not be aware of everything to look for when buying a forklift. The very first thing to understand is that private sellers may neglect to tell you of a few issues with the machine, as at the end of the day, they want to sell you the forklift.
The experts behind Lift Equipt suggest contacting a professional company to buy your forklift from so that you can ensure good quality equipment, as well as a guarantee, should anything go wrong with the product. Additionally, you can bring with you a mechanic who specializes in forklifts so that they can thoroughly inspect the machine and identify any potential issues with it.
8. Make Sure the Safety Features Work
Health and safety always come first, therefore you must make simple and common checks to ensure the safety of whoever operates the machine. You will need to ensure the seatbelt, seat adjustments, the horn, all lights, and breaks are in good function. Failure to do this can put the safety of the operator at risk.
9. Verify the Odometer Reading
The odometer will essentially give you an idea of how much the vehicle has been used, although there is the possibility that this may have been reset in an attempt to scam buyers. You can ask the seller if this is the case, although there is always the risk they will not be fully honest with you. You can check this yourself simply by looking at the machine and the amount of wear and tear. If this does not align with the odometer reading, it is more than likely it has been reset.
Buying a forklift can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process and if you do not know what you are looking for, you may end up buying a faulty machine and losing your money. Make sure to use the information above so you know what to look for when buying a forklift, which will increase your chances of buying something of good quality.