How to Choose the Right Used Lift Truck


While there are some light-duty applications that are a good fit for older model forklifts, most buyers should steer clear of these potential money pits. But before you consider used equipment in lieu of a new forklift there are some things you want to consider.

  • Your application. Are you fully aware of ALL the responsibilities of the lift truck(s) you are replacing? Operations change with time, and it’s important to review all the activities of your forklift fleet with your operators and front-line managers to be sure you are not overlooking something crucial when making your selection.
  • Your facility. In this seller’s market the exact piece equipment may not be available leaving you to select a model that is close, but not an exact match. Will the new lift be able to navigate the aisle? Is the capacity consistent with your floor, dock, truck or elevator capacities?
  • Your operators. Do you know how your operators use your current fleet?

- How they exit and enter the forklift- How much they turn around- Mast and overhead guard views- How the forklift operates- What type of capacities and lift trucks are they accustomed to operating. Once you begin your search and have narrowed down your potential used lift truck replacements there are things you are going to want to do to ensure you are buying not only the lift truck that meets your facilities requirements but is also of the quality that you will need to operate it profitably. Before making an offer you will want to:

  • Know the exact age of the forklift
  • Know the operating hours, key on hours and/or dead man hours
  • Ask for maintenance records of the lift truck
  • Ask what kind of application the lift truck has endured over its lifetime
  • Ask how many shifts the lift truck operated daily
  • Inquire about it’s condition when turned in or traded in
  • Bring a trained technician with you or have the forklift transported to a facility (like Conger ToyotaLift) that can give you a professional and unbiased report of its condition and what you can expect to be replacing on the lift truck in the near future.

In addition we can provide you with an estimate of what these repairs are going to cost.

Below are only ballpark figures and range widely depending upon make and model, but these illustrate potential costs should a used forklift not be inspected properly by a well-trained forklift technician:

  • Complete brake job - $2500
  • Set of tires - $900
  • Replace hydraulic hoses - $1500
  • Hydraulic pump and cylinder - $4100
  • Battery - $5000
  • Engine rebuild - $5700

Finally, you want to consider the source of your used forklift purchase. Purchasing a forklift from a reputable, long-standing source gives you confidence in knowing the
equipment is being represented honestly and that any problems that might arise will be handled promptly and with integrity.