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How to Avoid Buying a Used Forklift With Hidden Problems

How to Avoid Buying a Used Forklift With Hidden Problems

There are a lot of great reasons to buy a used forklift. You can maximize your buying power and get the equipment sooner than if you ordered a new forklift.

Though the reasons for buying a used forklift vary, one thing is universal. No one wants a used forklift that's all used up. If you’re looking at used forklifts for sale in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, eastern Arkansas (or elsewhere in the Mid-South), ask these seven questions to avoid spending your hard-earned money on a forklift with hidden problems.

7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Forklift

When considering a pre-owned forklift, the first question to ask is: does the manufacturer make long-lasting equipment? If you have some old workhorses in your fleet, you may know what brand works best for your operation. If not, we recommend buying a used Toyota, Clark or Linde forklift.

Next, ask will this equipment truly meet our needs? Don’t compromise on critical features like lifting capacity or mast height. As the saying goes, nothing is more expensive than regret. If you need equipment ASAP to meet an unexpected surge in demand, it’s better to rent a forklift for awhile until the right used forklift comes along. 

The third question to ask is, can I trust the seller? There are plenty of used forklifts for sale on craigslist and other websites, but giving thousands of dollars to someone who is here today and gone tomorrow is a big risk. Buy from a business that cares about maintaining their good name.

The next few questions are all about evaluating the forklift. If you’re short on time, just download this used forklift buyer’s checklist and save it until you find a used forklift you’re really interested in. 

Used Forklift Evaluation Questions

Is this forklift in good condition?

  • Have a factory-trained forklift technician evaluate the forklift you plan to buy (our checklist includes a list of what to look at).
  • If buying from a dealer, ask to see their technician’s report. 

Was the forklift used part-time or full time?
A forklift's lifespan is measured in hours, not years. So a forklift that only operated part-time should have a lot of life left in it. Part-time use is considered 4 hours per day or less, or about 1,000 hours/year.

You can guesstimate whether a forklift was used part-time vs. full-time by  checking the forklift’s usage hours and dividing by the age of the truck. A 3-year old truck shouldn’t have more than 3,000 hours if it was only used part-time.

Where did this forklift operate?
Outdoor environments can be rough on a forklift. Extreme temperatures (very hot, very humid or very cold) can shorten the life of the truck. Also, if the forklift operated near saltwater, corrosion and rust are a concern. 

Has the forklift been involved in any accidents?
If the accident was anything more than a paint scrape, make sure that used forklift comes with a  substantial warranty.

Bonus question: how old are the batteries? (electric forklifts only)
Forklift batteries last about five years on average and cost several thousand dollars to replace. When buying a used electric forklift, make sure the batteries aren't more than a few years old. Also, ask if the sale price includes a charger.

Our used forklift checklist is designed to help you find a high-quality used forklift. It includes specific details on:

  • How old is too old? 
  • What to look out for during a test-drive 
  • How to conduct a used forklift inspection

Used Forklifts for Sale in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas

We respect our customers’ time and money and stand behind what we sell. When you buy a used forklift from The Lilly Company, you don’t have to worry about getting a forklift with a shady past. Certified forklifts undergo a 113-point inspection and thorough reconditioning so they're  as close to new as possible.  Qualified units include a 30-90 day warranty

Our goal is to make you the company hero who gets the best forklift for your needs and budget. Contact one of our friendly and experienced used forklift experts online or by phone (800-238-3006). Let us know what you’re looking for, and if you have any special financing needs. 

The Lilly Company is an authorized dealer for Toyota, Clark, and Linde, and Komatsu forklifts we proudly serve customers throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. Come visit one of our 13 forklift dealerships across the Mid-South.

Arkansas – Jonesboro
Alabama - Birmingham, Dothan, Irondale, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery
Mississippi - Tupelo and Richland
Tennessee - Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, and Memphis

Further Reading:
How to Choose the Best Forklift for Your Work Environment
How to Extend the Life of Your Forklift Tires

Used forklift buyer guide