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Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Forklift

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When considering whether to buy a forklift, it is incredibly important that you ask the proper questions and do the appropriate amount of research to ensure you make the best possible decision. This should be done with any purchase, but a forklift is a major investment that shouldn't be rushed. With the large number of forklifts available on the market it can be overwhelming to shop around. There are multiple types and styles of forklift out there, each with capabilities and features that lend themselves best to different applications. Choosing the right machine for your needs ensures you make a wise investment.

This is true whether you are looking for a new or used forklift. It may seem like a used forklift won't meet the same qualifications or quality as a new one, but there are plenty used forklifts out there that operate as if they are brand new. Plus, they come at a lower cost, which may allow you to buy more machine than you could if purchasing new. But, performing due diligence is even more important when purchasing a used machine. Answer the following questions before making your choice.

Why Is the Forklift Being Sold?

When purchasing a used forklift, the first question you should ask is why the owner is selling it. You don't want to buy it and find out later that there is a slew of problems set to cost you just as much (if not more) than if you had paid for a brand new forklift. Make sure to get as much information from the owner as you can before finalizing any purchasing decisions. If the seller provides nothing but vague answers, you might not be getting the full history of the machine. Never settle for a unit that you don't know everything about; you can always find another one from a seller that gives you the complete truth.

What are the Capabilities of the Forklift?

Before you start looking for forklifts, it is important that you know what it needs to be able to do. Consider factors such as the height you need, the surface the forklift will be operating on, and the weight it needs to carry. If you go into your purchase without knowing this information, you run the risk of buying a product that won't fit the needs of your business and wasting your money.

What are the Maintenance Costs?

The cost of maintenance can add up quickly and may wind up costing you more than the forklift itself in the long run. You need to know if the forklift has a history of breaking down or malfunctioning and, if so, how often. If the unit has a habit of consistently requiring maintenance, then odds are it's a money pit. Also consider the availability of parts, because even if maintenance costs are low, the expense of difficult to find replacement parts and time spent finding and receiving them is not worth it. Make sure to gather all available information about the maintenance required by a forklift before any purchase is finalized.

What is the Hour Reading and History?

You should know the amount of time that your potential forklift has been in use, as well as what it has been used for. You can get the time from the overall hour meter on the unit itself, but the history of the machine will have to be asked about. Although the unit's full history may not be known, any answers you get are useful in determining what it has been used for and how that will affect the unit in the future.

Can I do an Inspection?

All used forklifts should be purchased from a reputable dealer in order to ensure you get the best possible equipment. Even with a reputable dealer, though, you should still perform an inspection yourself before making the purchase. Make sure to check the overall condition of the cab and the operation components, as well as the canopy, cowling, and frame. Also check the cylinders, forks, lift chains, mast, and mast rails for any cracks, distortion, general damage, and warping. Look over the engine compartment to make sure there are no leaks or other signs of trouble. Any other concerns or questions should be addressed by the seller. If they do not answer, or hesitate to answer, don't be afraid to walk away and buy through a seller that is willing to give you all the information they have.

Are There Attachments Included?

Different dealers will have different packages and purchase options available. Additional attachments and tools are almost always available with the purchase of a forklift, but some of them may be included. Ask your dealer what comes with the unit and what needs to be purchased separately.

Be Diligent

Everything listed above is integral to the process of purchasing a used forklift. A used forklift can save you and your business a lot of money, but it can also cost a lot of money down the line if you don't put the proper effort into the buying process.

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