Tuesday, February 07, 2006

When Buying A Used Forklift

Here are a few tips on buying a used forklift. First off if you can, rent or borrow the type of forklift you are looking to buy. That way you can try it before you buy it. Here are some guidelines when purchasing a used forklift.

Room to operate:
The average four-wheel, sit-down forklift gas or electric, from 3,000 to 6,000 pound capacity requires at least a 12-foot aisle to operate comfortably.

The most popular forklift:
The most popular unit is a 5,000-pound, triple-stage propane with a side shift?

A used forklift is often a better choice when purchasing a lift truck, because the owner of a new engine powered forklift run them on the average, 6 to 7 years before deciding to trade them in. The electric forklift on the other hand is kept around for approximately 8 to 10 years. Both types of these machines are operated on the average for 1,500 hours per year in single shift operations.

The availability of used trucks over the past 4 to 5 years that were leased out over a 3 to 5 year period has increased. This gives you the opportunity to choose from a larger supply of machines with low hours and less wear and tear. Sometimes a short-term-rental lift truck will only accumulate about 1,000 hours of use per year and is likely replaced every 3 to 5 years. The downside to buying a low hour rental lift truck or a previously leased one is that they usually sell for 10 to 15 percent more than other fork trucks.

Here are a few things to look for when buying a used forklift.

The main sources where you are going to find used forklifts are: Dealers, end users, previous rentals or retired leases.

When you finely find a forklift, you are going to have to determine what type of condition it is in. Check to see how well it has been maintained over the years. If they have the maintenance records ask if you can see them. If there are no records, it might be a good idea to have a mechanic do a thorough mechanical inspection on the unit before you purchase it.

Inspection Tips: Only use a certified operator to do this.

Start by checking mast operation, both without a load and with the forklift's full rated load. Look to see how smooth it operates and whether it binds. .
Make sure you tilt the mast forward and back fully to see if there's excessive play (3/8 in. or more) between the mast channels, as well as between the carriage and the mast.
Check to see if the fork truck comes with an attachment and if it does, make sure it is operational and it will do the job for you. Also check to see if there is excessive side carriage play.

Possible Mechanical Problems:
It is advisable to make sure you have fully warmed up the vehicle before performing the following tasks. Check for leaks from the mast and tilt cylinders, engine, radiator, transmission, and the differential. If you encounter a leak, try to determine the source of it and the cost of repairing it before purchasing.

While you have a maximum capacity load on the forklift check the brakes. When traveling at 5 miles per hour you should be able to stop smoothly within one to two truck lengths.

Before your test drive:
Before taking it for a test drive examine the body of the forklift, if it appears to have dents in it or the panels are pushed in, it could be a sign of careless use of the vehicle.
After your examination take the forklift through a tight figure-eight pattern in both forward and reverse gears. It should respond quickly to the steering wheel and the tracking should be accurate.

Check the wear and tear on the tires. If they haven’t been replaced recently, look to see if there is uneven wear. If there is uneven wear, this maybe a sign that your axle may need to be re-aligned. If the unit passes these tests you just might have found yourself a used forklift. Before you get too anxious make sure a mechanic covers the 14 points on the in-depth inspection checklist.

1 comment:

Frances said...

Several people opt for forklift rental services instead of buying the forklifts since they know that only certified forklift operators can run the machine properly.