Brand name material handling equipment — such as Hyundai, Yale, Nissan, Caterpillar, Toyota, Raymond, Crown and Hyster — often come with a big price tag. For some businesses, it’s wiser to invest in a used forklift instead, enabling them to meet forklift requirements while staying within budget.
However, buying used material handling equipment comes with some risks all businesses should be aware of. The forklift can require excessive and costly repairs, which can negate any money the company saved by buying second hand.
Before you purchase a used forklift, be sure to read these 5 critical tips.
1. Match the Forklift to Your Business Needs
Forklifts vary from brand to brand and model to model. Before you begin looking for the right used forklift, it’s important to identify what exactly you need it for. This will help determine the features and specifications that are right for you.
You need to know:
- How often the forklift will be used on a regular basis
- Where the forklift will be used, such as indoors, outdoors or a mix of both
- Whether any extreme heat or cold temperatures will be involved
- How heavy the material loads will be
- How tall the mast needs to be to reach the highest shelves, and how narrow the body needs to be to maneuver through tight spaces
- Whether there are any environmental restrictions on fumes and noise
An experienced used forklift dealer, such as PMHSI, will inspect your warehouse site with you to help find the forklift that meets your specific requirements.
2. Conduct a Thorough Inspection
The riskiest part about purchasing used material handling equipment is not knowing what its performance will be like. That’s why it’s vital to conduct a detailed inspection of the used forklift you’re interested in before signing on the dotted line.
Here are the main elements you need to inspect:
- Clock readings: This tells you how many operating hours the vehicle has. In general, a forklift works around 10,000 hours before needing repairs.
- Damage: Carefully examine the forklift to see if there is any rust. You should also look for any cracks or fluid leaks.
- Battery: The battery is worth almost half of the vehicle’s value. On average, a battery lasts for around 1,200 charges and offers 5 hours of run time. Divide the clocked hours by 5 and you will know how many charges remain on the battery.
- Rating plate: This feature tells you how much the vehicle can lift safely. Make sure the capacity is higher than the maximum load needed to carry.
- Age: In general, you will find many used forklifts five years or older. If you’re looking for a newer model, you may need to pay a premium.
- Maintenance records: Ask to see the maintenance records of the vehicle, to ensure it has been maintained properly and regularly.
- Previous environments: Ask about what kind of environment the forklift was operated in. Was it in a clean warehouse or an outdoor worksite? This will affect the condition of the forklift.
Once you’ve completed your inspection, be sure to take the forklift for a test drive. If you’re not a qualified operator, have one your trained staff test drive it for you. Make sure the forklift can start from a cold engine without any issues. You’ll also want to look for any drips from the hydraulics or transmission.
3. Go with a Reputable Forklift Dealer
Just like with cars, used material handling equipment are sold at many different kinds of dealers. The kind of dealer you select to buy your used vehicle can affect the condition of your forklift — and your total cost of ownership. You can find forklifts through online dealers and even on buy-and-sell sites like Craigslist.
However, working with a reputable and reliable forklift dealer, like PMHSI, will provide you with peace of mind that you are getting a high-quality vehicle that will meet your business requirements for years to come.
One of the benefits of working with an experienced dealer, like PMHSI, is that they are familiar with the history of the forklifts they sell.
All of the used forklifts we carry are carefully serviced, maintained and certified before being put up for sale. Plus, we conduct an intensive 50-point inspection to verify the integrity of the underlying vehicle components.
Plus, if you run into any issues, a reliable dealer will have a comprehensive maintenance and repair department to fix your equipment.
4. Take a Look at the Warranty and Certificate of Thorough Examination
When you’re buying your forklift second hand, you need to take a look at the warranty to see how long you’re covered. Plus, it’s important to know what is included within the warranty — and what is excluded. If the forklift is still covered under warranty when purchased, you will need to contact the manufacturer to have the warranty transferred to you. In some cases, the warranty is exempt from being transferred.
Another important factor to review is the Certificate of Thorough Examination. Every vehicle is legally responsible for having one. Plus, it’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure the forklift has a valid certificate, so you need to verify it before taking possession.
5. Don’t Fall for a Cheap Price
It can be tempting to buy the cheapest forklift you see simply because the price seems like an offer you can’t refuse. Just remember the price may be incredibly cheap for a reason.
If you’re working with anyone other than a reputable dealer, the low price may indicate an underlying problem with the vehicle — which can cost you considerably down the road.
While the price is a major purchasing factor, don’t let it be the main factor you review.
Always consider the quality of your used vehicle in relation to the price so you can be sure you won’t be throwing your money away in repair costs later on.
Find the Perfect Used Forklift for Your Business
Want to get started on finding the right used forklift for your business? Check out the many used material handling vehicles we have in stock, and contact us for a quote. You’ll find brand names like Hyundai, Yale, Nissan, Caterpillar, Toyota, Raymond, Crown and Hyster when you work with PMHSI.
We’re here to help you find the forklift that meets your business requirements — and your budget.