When it comes to heavy equipment, a used forklift is an option you could consider if your business will only use a forklift for one or two projects. A used forklift could work just as well as a new one, but you have to be familiar with what to look for to buy the correct unit. Here are 6 tips to help you along the way.

1. Check Operating Hours

Just like you check the mileage of a used car to know if it is still in good shape or not, you must check the working hours of a forklift to see if it is still beneficial or not. Generally, a forklift operates for 10,000 to 15,000 hours, so any hours near these limits should discourage you from buying the machine. Still, keep in mind that the hours’ meter can be tampered with, so don’t simply trust a screenshot with the meter to buy your machine.

2. Consider Your Needs

Set yourself a budget and a plan to buy just the right machine for your needs. Ask yourself some of the following questions and answer them before making your decision.

  • How long will you use the machine?
  • Will you use it again in the future?
  • Do you think a lease is enough for your needs?
  • What tasks will you perform with it?

Once you have a list of your needs, browse through the used marks for a machine that fits your needs. Ask multiple retailers for the different brands and prices and read a lot about the pros and cons of any brand you like.

3. Ask Around About the Dealer

Your next step is choosing the retailer you wish to buy the machine from. Used forklifts are generally sold through either a private seller or a dealer. Private sellers are mostly rare in the market, and they are really hard to track, which makes you susceptible to losing more money if you buy from them. On the other hand, dealers provide you with guarantees, and you can visit their website to track and even learn about the brands you are interested in. Generally, the top brands available in the market include Toyota, Manitou, Clark, Yale, Mitsubishi, and Crown, with Toyota standing on top in terms of operating hours. Read about each of these brands and browse through multiple websites before you make your decision.

4. Check The Machine In-Person

After asking around about the best dealer for used forklifts, don’t simply enjoy browsing through their website and buying a heavy machine online; although online shopping is the trend of everything, forklifts should be vetted in person before purchase. Visit the dealer and demand that you check the machine on-site. Thoroughly inspect for signs of rust, scratches, bends, leaks, and even damage to the cockpit’s chair. Don’t leave anything to chance and ask through questions about why the owner wants to sell it and if it had any maintenance before.

5. Test-Drive 

Just like cars, you can actually take a forklift for a drive, except, of course, if you don’t know how to drive it unless you want to pay damages to the dealer! Anyway, if you are not knowledgeable about how to handle a heavy machine like a forklift, ensure you have an expert with you when you test drive it. Sometimes issues that require maintenance only appear during the test drive, so ensure you have an expert on standby. 

6. Check The Warranty 

Most dealers offer a certain period as a warranty for their used machines, meaning if something happens to the equipment during that period, the company takes responsibility by offering maintenance support or even unit replacement if proved to be faulty. Search for dealers who offer warranties and guarantees as they offer trustworthy support. If, on the other hand, a dealer tells you that the original company still supports the machine, contact the company with the model name and code and ask them if the warranty is transferable and what you should do to keep the warranty active as a buyer.

Once you are sure of what you want to buy, where you want to buy it, and the quality of the machines, it is time to move on to the purchase process. Buying heavy machines is usually regulated by the law and is according to your type of business and needs. Many countries require special licenses to allow you to buy heavy machines, so ask around if you need to apply for a permit or schedule an appointment for paperwork somewhere else.

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