A guide to buying used forklift trucks

Buying a second hand or used forklift truck can be a great option to save money for some companies, but buying used equipment always comes with a certain degree of risk. We’re here to help you to minimise that risk by outlining some top tips on what to look out for when buying used forklifts.

1. Ensure it’s fit for purpose

On the surface, a certain type of forklift truck may seem like the best deal, but it’s incredibly important to buy one that is suitable for how you intend to use it. Forklifts can vary from model to model and various factors, such as where it will be used, what it will be used for, what loads it will carry, the tasks it will be undertaking, the space you have available and so on, influence your decision when choosing the right one.

Reputable forklift dealers will ask you some questions on its intended use and also often offer to inspect your site, to ensure that the truck you’re thinking of buying will be suitable. Online dealers are less likely to do this, meaning that it can be easy to buy something that won’t work for you, so we recommend having someone come and take a look before you start picking out your new truck. It’s in your interest to request a report detailing all work carried out and parts fitted during the refurbishment process, prior to committing to the purchase.

2. Visual inspection

This is an essential part of buying a second hand or used forklift truck; in fact, it’s essential with any used item. Photographs and descriptions can be manipulated or taken in such a way that certain imperfections may not be immediately visible or noticeable.

It’s essential that you conduct a visual inspection of any truck you wish to purchase, to check it over for potential issues, like rust, damage, cracks or leaks.

3. Take it for a test drive

The safety of your employees lies with you, so any faults or damage with the truck you buy could cost you dearly if things go wrong. This is why it’s important that you test out the forklift truck before you buy it – make sure that the truck works as it should and that all the mechanisms are sound before you hand over any cash.

4. Inspect the warranty

You may be saving money in the first instance by buying a used forklift truck, but if the warranty isn’t up to scratch, then it could end up costing you more in case anything happens. Of course, you can always hire a forklift for short-term needs.

It’s important to know how long the warranty lasts for and even more important to know what is included and excluded from it. You should be able to obtain a warranty from the manufacturer or the dealer. In the case that the warranty is still in with the manufacturer, contact them to see if it can be transferred before you buy, especially if the dealer doesn’t offer one themselves.

5. Avoid dodgy imports

Dodgy exports are becoming increasingly common in the marketplace, and it’s crucial that you avoid buying one. Aside from the fact that parts can be expensive and hard to come by, your insurance may be voided by the fact it’s not a genuine import.

Check the truck for a genuine CE mark, as well as checking that the CE certificate, operating manual, labels, warnings and identity plate are all present and in the correct language.