Choosing used forklifts is an affordable option for businesses to meet their handling and heavy equipment needs. However, keep in mind that used forklifts have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before making a purchase decision.
The Australian Office of Industrial Relations and the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have outlined regulations surrounding the purchase and use of heavy equipment such as forklifts. The document, Guide to Machinery and Equipment Safety includes regulations to protect buyers and users from various hazards involving heavy equipment use.
Top Pros and Cons of Used Forklifts
The foremost benefit of buying a used forklift is cost. Used forklifts can be purchased for thousands of dollars less than new forklifts. Also, brand and model recalls can also be avoided with a used forklift purchase.
When it comes to disadvantages, the biggest con for used forklifts is it may require more maintenance and repair than new ones. And more importantly, they may not have the latest features that could be more beneficial for your business.
Buying a Used Forklift
Buying a used forklift, on the basic level should not be any different than buying a new one. In Australia, the price range of used forklifts is between $6000- $15000. Top brands known for their quality and performance include Toyota, Crown, Manitou, Clark, Linde, Yale, Mitsubishi , and Hyster. When buying one, make sure that its work hours are not close to the limit. Forklifts operate on an average lifespan of 10,000 to 15,000 hours. Among the top brands, only Toyota have a saleable value past the 10,000 hours mark.
Before buying a used forklift, you need to determine the best person or place to buy it. You have basically two options for this – a dealer or a private seller. In most cases, people generally choose a dealers as they have a wide range of makes and models to choose from and products usually come with a warranty.
However, for practicality reasons, if you find a private seller who offers the exact make and model you are looking for a better price without a warranty then this could be a better option. Private sellers often want to sell-off their used vehicles to buy a new one, so they are easy to negotiate with, which makes the price flexible.
When buying a used forklift, use the following tips:
1. Ensure that the Truck Fits Your Needs
Forklifts are used for various purposes– personal, commercial or industrial. Depend on the purpose, they will have various requirements, so you need to be able to identify how to spot the right ones for you. For first time buyers it can be complicated, just keep in mind what your needs are.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How often will you use the equipment?
- Will you use it indoors or outdoors?
- What type of tasks will the forklift perform?
- How heavy are the loads that it will carry?
- Is there any noise or environmental restrictions?
- How much working space will it have?
- What are the particular usage requirements?
A reliable seller will help you identify the best-used forklift basing on your answers to these questions.
2. Make a Visual Check
Buying online puts you at a great disadvantage as you will only rely on the image and description that the seller provides. You can also ask the seller to provide a demonstration video of the forklift in use to give an idea of how it operates.
If in person, doing a visual inspection is very important. Look for signs of wear and tear, rusting, damage or any signs of underlying problems like repair welding, fluid leaks, and cracks.
You also need to check for the following:
- Forks and masts are visually pleasing with no signs of rust, cracks, or previous repairs.
- No visible damage on mast rails, lift chains and cylinders.
- No bends or damage on the frame, cowling, and canopy.
- Cab and general operation must be highly functional with security features like seatbelts still intact and in place.
- Check for leaks and buildups, as well as other forms of visible damage to the engine compartment, exhaust guard, and counterweights.
3. Do a Test Drive
Ask the seller to allow you to take the equipment on a test drive or have another operator do it. This will give you a first- hand account if the unit really works or not. Do this on a clean floor where you can inspect any drips or potential leaks after.
4. Check Battery Life for Electric Forklifts
Batteries for forklifts are expensive. It costs 40% more of the total value of the equipment. Make sure that there is enough battery life left to still use the forklift for a considerable span of time. The average battery for FLT lasts around 1200-1500 charges where each charge is equivalent to five hours of run time. This will give you a basis on how to calculate the battery life span of the equipment.
5. Inspect the Clock Readings
Used forklifts are assessed by operating hours just like how a used car is assessed through mileage. One hour of truck used is basically equal to driving a car for 48 kms. Hence, a truck that is used for over 3000 hours is approximately equivalent to a car’s 161,000 kilometres.
Forklift’s lifespan is around 10,000 to 15,000 hours of operation, so you should not be buying one that has operation hours close to these numbers. However, like car mileage, this can also be tampered, so it still boils down to choosing a reliable seller.
Check the Warranty
A good warranty is important when buying a used forklift. Determine how long the warranty period lasts and what it covers. More importantly, learn what is not included in it.
If the forklift is good and is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, contact the firm to make sure that the warranty is transferred. Make sure that warranty is not voided upon resale. Also, make queries on service histories including the repairs made and other relevant matters.
When it comes down to, buying a good used forklift requires some solid research into fit-for-purpose use, parts lifespan and warranty. If you have done your homework then this should be a good purchase experience.