Hundreds of businesses make use of pre-owned forklifts on a daily basis around the world. In fact, several crucial industries such as agriculture and construction are dependent on the successful operation of these machines. So it should come as no surprise that there are close to a million forklifts operating within the United States alone.
A significant percentage of these forklifts are used forklifts that have been in operation for years. In fact, the market for used forklift trucks for sale is growing rapidly by the day. As more and more businesses opt to save cost by purchasing used forklifts, the importance of careful and correct inspection before purchase cannot be underestimated.
As such, we have prepared a brief guide for inspecting used forklifts before purchase. This guide will help fleet managers and forklift operators detect any problems in used forklifts.
What’s the Purpose of the Inspection?
The true purpose of the inspection is to guarantee safety and reliable operation. The inspection is conducted to ensure that the forklift does not have any fundamental problems that will compromise either the safety of the crew or business operations. Moreover, it makes good business sense to thoroughly inspect a sizable investment, such as a forklift, before purchase. A used forklift, particularly, requires rigorous inspection to ensure that it was never involved in an accident during its time with the previous owner.
What to Inspect for in a Used Forklift?
Every part of a forklift is integral to its performance. As such, all parts require inspection however some require more inspection than others. The forks, mast and engine should be at the top of your list for inspection. However, it is equally important to inspect other features such as the driver’s cabin and lift chains. You should be looking for cracks in the body and rust on the chains. These show whether the used forklift truck has ever been involved in an accident and how well it was taken care of under previous management.
A lot depends on the retailer you use to purchase used forklift trucks. Retailers such as Truck Forklifts facilitate the inspection and can even guide you during the inspection. Be cautious of retailers or previous owners who do not answer your questions elaborately or try to hurry the inspection.
Which Elements to Inspect in a Used Forklift?
Now let us take a look at which elements require the most attention during inspection.
Forks & Mast
These are the most frequently used components of a forklift, so they require special attention. When inspecting the forks and the mast, you need to look for cracks, bends or welds. If the forks have even a slight bent, it is indicative of overloading. Minor bends can be straightened out but major bends mean the forklift is all but useless. Moreover, you need to inspect the uniformity of thickness of the forks. Ideally, the thickness of the heel forks should be the same as the thickness of the upright fork shank. Check for cracks and welds when inspecting the mast and ensure the mast pins and title are secure as well.
Lift Chains & Cylinders
When inspecting the lift chains, check for any damaged or missing links since these can seriously hinder the fork movement. When inspecting used Moffett trucks, be sure to check the hydraulic fluid since it is crucial in lifting the load. There will be tilt cylinders attached to the forklift carriage, inspect these for damage, leaks or loose bolts. Lastly, pay attention to the hoses parallel to the lift chain and ensure they do not have any leaks in them since they carry the hydraulic fluid.
The operator’s cabin should be secure from the top and have all the required safety elements such as seat belts and harness. Ensure the gauges work properly by starting the forklift up and listen closely for any peculiar sounds from the engine compartment. In this part of the inspection, the forklift operator should put the forklift through its paces. Check whether all gauges show the correct reading, and drive the forklift forward and backward to check the braking and acceleration. Indicators, rear back up alarm, flood lights and all other controls and safety options should be thoroughly inspected.
When inspecting the engine, look for leaks, cracks or buildup of dirt in the engine compartment. Check everything from the air filter and oil levels to the battery and tank brackets. Since the engine is the heart of the forklift, so any sort of damage or malfunction in this part is an immediate red flag. Test the engine by starting the forklift up once or twice and listening for any odd sound from the engine.
Be sure to ask the previous owner and the retailer plenty of questions about the past service of the forklift. It might also be a good idea to notice any additional features on the forklift such as fork positioner, side shift or a free full lift mast.