Forklifts are an indispensible tool for businesses with merchandise stored in a warehouse. Unfortunately, the cost of a new forklift is difficult for many expanding business owners to afford. If you are in the market for a used forklift, and would like to learn more about how to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money, read on. This article will discuss a few key features to inspect before you finalize your purchase.


The forks are the part of the forklift that tends to see the most use--and abuse--over the years. Thus it is best to begin your inspection here. Look closely for any signs of cracking, bending, or distortion of the metal. Any of these may be a sign that the forklift has been regularly overloaded in the past. Minor bends can often be straightened, and thus restored to proper functionality.

Avoid buying a forklift with cracks in the forks. Even relatively small cracks can quickly blossom into more serious ones. Such cracks will seriously impede the safety and effectiveness of the forklift. While inspecting the forks, take measurements to ensure that the metal on the horizontal portions near the body of the forklift is equally as thick as the metal on the vertical portions. Any discrepancy is a sign that the bottom of the forks have been repeatedly allowed to drag against the ground.

Mast, Rollers, Chains, And Hoses

Next you'll want to inspect the mast--that is, the upright tracks along which the forks are raised. Because the mast is subject to enormous amounts of force, be on the lookout once more for any signs of cracks. Likewise, keep your eye peeled for any welded areas; these are signs that cracks have occurred in the past and been repaired.

The forks are raised up and down along the mast through the conjunction of heavy duty lift chains and hydraulic hoses. Both the chains and the hoses pass around rollers located in the middle of the masts. Check these rollers--specifically the ones over which the chains are looped--for any signs of distortion. Ideally, these rollers should be completely round. Oval rollers are a sign that the forklift has been subjected to excessive amounts of loading stress.

Now take a look at the chains themselves. You should not find any signs of rust; this is a sign that the chain has not been kept properly lubricated. Also make sure that there are not any missing anchor pins in the individual links. Finally, take a look at the hoses. The main thing here is to establish that there is no evidence of hydraulic fluid leaks. Move the forks up and down a few times under load, and then check the hoses again. This will make it easier to find any areas where fluid is escaping.

If you're having difficulty finding a suitable forklift to purchase, consider renting one from a company like Horizon Equipment Rentals until you can find the right one for your needs and budget.