Important Things To Look For When Buying A Second-Hand Forklift

Buying a forklift - 322

So, you’re considering purchasing a second-hand forklift? That’s a smart move. Buying used vehicles can help you save a bundle, but only if you know what to look for. 

Without forklift certification and proper guidance, it’s easy to end up with a lemon that costs more in repairs than it was worth in the first place. 

This article will guide you and give you the knowledge to make an informed decision. This article will compile a list of important things to check when buying a pre-owned forklift. You will know how vital its safety features are and how operational a second-hand forklift is. So without further ado, let’s get started. 

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Second-hand Forklift

Do you have any plans to purchase a forklift? Let’s get your forklift certification working with these tips. 

Check for Damages and Cracks that Could Affect its Operations

Don’t forget to inspect the forklift thoroughly for any visible damages or cracks that could potentially limit its performance.

Pay attention to the mast and the overhead guard, which are important for a forklift truck. Look out for dents, bends, or cracks in the areas, for they can compromise the structural integrity of the machine.

You should also check the forks for excessive wear and tear or misalignment. It’s important not to overlook even small damages; they might seem insignificant now but may have major problems.

You should also examine other critical components like tires, the engine compartment, hydraulic lines, and chains. Ensure that there are no leakages from hydraulics, for it could suggest a problem with seals or hoses and be costly to replace.

Check if all the lights and gauges function well because faulty indicators may lead to safety hazards during operations. Take a test drive before finalizing the purchase to assess how well it would operate under load conditions.

Remember, careful inspection will save you from potential repair costs and ensure that a second-hand forklift is safe and efficient enough to meet your business needs.

Review the Power or Life of the Battery

You’ll be heartbroken if your new-to-you forklift’s battery dies mid-shift. That said, you have to make sure that you thoroughly check the power and lifespan before you seal the deal.

The battery is an important aspect of the forklift’s operation. It gives power to everything from lifting mechanisms to navigation systems. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the battery works and has enough life left in it to support long periods of rigorous use.

A battery that constantly needs recharging or replacement will also affect your budget and productivity. To assess the battery’s condition, start by asking about its age. 

Know that most batteries last about 5 years under normal operating conditions but may require replacement sooner with heavy use. Next, check its charging routines, as improper charging can significantly reduce a forklift’s battery life. 

You should also visually inspect the battery for signs of corrosion or leakage and conduct a load test to verify how well the battery performs under normal operating conditions. This will give you an indication of how much useful life remains in it.

That way, you’re not just buying a second-hand forklift but also investing in peace of mind knowing that your equipment won’t disappoint you when you need it most.

Check if There are Any Missing Parts

Ensuring that your potential purchase isn’t missing any important components can save you from unexpected headaches and costly repairs down the line. When inspecting a used forklift, pay attention to all the parts – both big and small and you must be aware of this if you have a forklift certification. 

Check if the forklift’s forks are in place and good condition. See if it has its safety cage intact or if there are any missing bolts or screws. Don’t forget to check smaller yet equally important parts such as lights, signals, mirrors, seat belts, levers, and gauges.

You should also take time examining under the hood; look at hoses for cracks or leaks and see every necessary part is present. It’s important not to overlook anything because what may seem like a minor issue may lead to significant problems later.

Remember that replacing parts can be expensive and cause downtime in the operation while you wait for replacements. That said, ensure everything is accounted for before purchasing your second-hand forklift to save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Check for Leaks

While inspecting visible parts of a used forklift is important, do not forget about unseen issues such as fluid leaks. Know that leaks can be a major red flag, for they often indicate more serious problems with the machine. 

Fluids like oil, coolant, and hydraulic fluid are vital for the smooth running and operation for your forklift. If these are leaking, something isn’t sealed properly, or there may be cracks in the system that may lead to larger failures.

You have to do a thorough check underneath and around the forklift for signs of leaks.

Here’s how you go about it:

– Start by looking at the ground where the forklift has been parked – if there are dark stains or puddles, that’s your first clue of a possible leak.

– Next, examine areas around hoses, lines, tanks, and fittings too; these areas are common sources of leakage in many machines.

– Check under engine compartments and near mast operations since these spots house key components that run on fluids.

– Also, remember to inspect hydraulic cylinders carefully because if they’re leaking, you’ll see evidence on their outer surfaces or nearby elements due to splatter when in use.

This isn’t just about saving money; ensuring there aren’t any leaks is important to maintaining safety standards in your workplace too!

Inspect the Condition of the Engine

You need to ensure no signs of excessive wear and tear or damage like cracks on the engine block. Listen for unusual sounds when you start the engine—it should run smoothly without noises like knocking or pinging.

Don’t forget to check signs of oil leaks around gaskets and seals—it could indicate a potentially costly repair in the future.

Also, you have to look at maintenance records—if available. This will ascertain whether regular servicing has been carried out. If an engine hasn’t been serviced regularly with oil changes and new filters, it could have premature wear or even failure down the road.

Watch How the Mast Operates

You’ll feel a rush of confidence when you see the mast operating smoothly and efficiently, without any jerks or hesitations. This is one of the key things to look for when you buy a second-hand forklift. The mast is responsible for raising, lowering, and tilting the load and must perform these tasks effortlessly.

It’s not just about the smooth operation but also the speed. A slow-moving mast might indicate a problem with the hydraulic system or worn-out components that need replacing. 

Remember to carefully inspect each mast section, including its rails, rollers, and lift chains, as any damage to these parts could lead to performance issues.

Also, don’t shy away from getting hands-on with testing how well the mast operates under load conditions – if it’s safe to do so. 

The engine in all functions like lifting and lowering loads at full capacity while paying attention to any unusual noises or movements during operation.

If there are excessive creaking sounds or visible shaking while handling weights, this could be an indication of underlying mechanical problems that may require costly repairs down the line. 

Always remember safety first, though: only perform these tests if you’re trained in forklift operations and have permission from the current owner.

Evaluate Tire Condition

Don’t forget to give those tires a good check-up. It can tell you much about the forklift’s history and potential future performance.

If the tires are worn out unevenly, it could indicate that the forklift has been overloaded or used improperly, which might contribute to further mechanical problems.

Look out for deep cuts or chunks missing from the rubber; it may indicate heavy use and possible neglect. If you’re also dealing with pneumatic tires, make sure to check if there are any punctures or leaks.

Also, consider how much life is left in the tires for visual assessment. It’s common for second-hand forklifts to need new ones soon after purchase.

By thoroughly inspecting the condition of the tires during the evaluation process, you could save yourself from potential headaches down the road.

Ensure Safety Features Work

As someone with forklift certification, you’d want to ensure that all safety features of a forklift are in top-notch condition on your prospective forklift purchase. 

Safety is important when dealing with heavy machinery like forklifts, and ignoring this aspect may lead to accidents or injury and could cost you more in the long run.

Start by checking the seat belt; it should be strong and functional since it’s designed to keep the operator seated safely during the operation. 

You should also check the overhead guard; it must be sturdy enough to protect the driver from falling objects. Next, check out the load backrest extension. It should be designed to prevent loads from shifting backward and be firm, not broken.

Moving onto other safety features, inspect if any leaks in hydraulic hoses can denote a major safety concern due to high-pressure fluid inside them. A forklift’s horn and lights are also important for alerting others about its movement, so ensure they’re working effectively.

Lastly, don’t forget brakes – they must work perfectly as they’re responsible for safely stopping or slowing down the machine. Remember that a good braking system is important for the employees’ safety and to prevent potential damage to goods being transported or nearby equipment.


Now that you’ve got your checklist ready when you purchase a second-hand forklift, always remember that every small detail counts, from spotting damages to ensuring the battery’s life and checking the mast operation. Don’t overlook safety features either. They’re crucial.

Make sure these aspects will save you from future trouble and unnecessary expenses. It’s all about making a decision. With due diligence, you will surely find a second-hand forklift that will fit right into your operations!

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