Forklifts are among the workhorses of modern industry. They are available in a variety of types and sizes and are used to keep operations at distribution centers, warehouses, lumber yards and manufacturing plants running smoothly. But forklifts are very versatile, and other businesses can also use them to expedite unloading and transport of deliveries. When shopping for forklifts, it is important to know the available choices and match them with your business’ requirements so that you can find forklifts that perform well and meet your specific needs.
If your business requires a lot of heavy lifting, a forklift is a necessary investment. However, if your business only needs the services of a forklift for a few hours a day or week, purchasing a new forklift may be impractical. You have the option of renting, but in the long run, such a decision would ultimately be costly. Purchasing a used forklift seems to be the wiser decision in such a case. The market for used and reconditioned forklifts is huge. Used forklifts cost thousands of dollars less than new ones. A used forklift should be able to offer all the features and benefits that a new one would, but at a lower cost.
While considerably cheaper than new ones, used forklifts are still an expensive purchase so it is important to check it out before shelling out your money. As with any other used vehicle, some used forklifts may be in bad shape and in need of expensive repairs. It is important to ensure the used forklift you choose is not only fits your needs but that it also doesn’t turn out to be a lemon. This buying guide provides information regarding the important features and aspects you must consider when making your decision.
1. Determining the most suitable type of forklift for your business
Start by finding out what lift truck specifications suit your company’s handling needs. Forklifts are rated depending on the amount of weight they were designed to lift, starting from 3000 pounds to 35, 000 pounds and above. While the bulk of the forklift market is made up of 3000, 8000, and 5000 lb models, the industry standard is 5000 lb. the size of the typically load in your premises will determine the requisite folk lift capacity. This capacity is normally based on a 24” load center, meaning that 24 inches is the distance between the sides of the load to its center of gravity.
After determining forklift capacity, you now need to find out how high you need the load to be lifted. If you need a forklift to primarily load trucks and unload them, then height may not be a big issue. However, if you operate a warehouse with 30 feet high shelves, then you need a forklift that will reach them.
Another important question to ask is whether your used forklift will be used outdoor or indoors. This is an important consideration because certain types of forklift were built to work exclusively in an indoor set up, while there are other designed for outdoor use. For example, most electric forklifts work based indoors, while combustion engine ones are for outdoor operations.
2. Choosing the source of the forklift
Most used forklifts on the market either come from owners or dealers who sell lease retirees, trade-in forklifts and former fleet rental units. Owners typically use lift trucks for many years before trading them in for newer machines. These ranges between 7 years for engine powered forklifts and 10 years for electric powered ones.
You can get a former rental unit; the market is awash with retired units that had only been used for 3 to 5 years.
3. Determining the Age and condition
A common pitfall for many buyers is to lean towards the newer trucks. However, the truck’s condition and the number of operating hours are more important considerations than age. For instance; would you overlook a 5 year old truck that has been sitting quietly in a warehouse corner performing light duties 15 hours a week for a 3 years old truck that has been battered for 40 hours a week in a mine?
Ensure that you check the truck’s hour meter for hours worked as well as the rating plate for year of manufacture.
4. Performing a physical inspection of the parts of your investment.
Checking out the parts will help you determine whether it is in good condition or not. But you should also ask your seller if there are any faulty parts that may need to be repaired or replaced.
* Fork and mast – Check for any cracks, bends, or distortions on the fork. You can have minor bends straightened but beware of cracks. Deep cracks can make it unsafe for the fork to lift a load in full capacity. Next, inspect the mast for signs of wear, wields or cracks and ensure that the side and tilt-shit cylinder and mast pins are secure. The cylinders should be devoid of any signs of leaking.
* Lift chains and mast rails – Check for welds or cracks that could compromise structural integrity as well as signs of excessive wear on mast roller such as a compression. Next check the full length of the lift chain, taking note of any missing/damaged anchor pins or links. Ensure that no hydraulic fluid is running from the hoses.
* Frame, canopy and cowling – Walk all round the lift truck checking its body and cowling for signs of damage. The canopy support mains shouldn’t have any major bends that could affect its ability to keep the operator in the event of a rollover or a dropped load. The side screen and windows should also be checked for integrity and cracks. Lastly, check the chassis, giving cracks, welds, and other signs of modifications or repairs special attention before checking the wheels for missing lug nuts and tires for chunking.
* The exhaust guard, engine compartment and counterweights – Run the engine before opening its compartment to check for cracks, leaks and dirt build up. Check the oil, noting its level and condition. Ensure that the belts are tight enough and not cracked or worn. For an electric forklift, ensure that the battery connections are as they should be.
Now you can move to the rear and check the condition of the exhaust guard, noting any damage, or signs of it. Lastly, check the counterweight bolts to ensure that they are securely in place.
5. Test It!
After the inspection, it is important to test the forklift. Ideally, you should simulate every activity you intend to carry out with the lift truck to ensure that it will perform as per your expectations. Drive the truck through a tight figure-8 pattern in reverse and forward gears. Do the tires of trucks respond accurately to the steering wheel?
Author Bio :
Levi Herris is an online Blogger. He likes to blog on various tips and advice related to construction business and home improvements.