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What you need to know about buying used forklifts for sale

Used ForkliftUsed forklifts for sale are a dime a dozen – but how do you know that the machinery you’re paying for is in great shape? Here’s a quick but definitive rundown of the things you should look out for when you’re shopping for used lift trucks

What to inspect before you buy

Most manufacturers provide a detailed inspection checklist as part of the operator’s manual. But when you buy or lease used forklifts for sale, this documentation isn’t always included. If no documentation is provided, try to find an original owner’s manual online, or contact the manufacturer directly for a copy. Inside will be an inspection checklist made specifically for that forklift.

Primarily concerned with issues of routine maintenance, this list may not cover everything your forklift should be checked for, prior to delivery. Specifically, pay attention to any customized additions or modifications made to the used forklifts for sale that you’re comparing, as they have the potential to compromise the safety and balance of the machine. In addition, check each of the following points for damage and wear:

  1. Head guard. Ensure the cage surrounding the cockpit has not been severely dented, compromised by falling objects.
  2. Seat. Though some wear and tear is normal, check for the security of installation to the frame of the forklift. The seat should not wobble or give when pushed on. Bolts should be fastened tight.
  3. Cockpit. Check the dashboard to ensure there are no cracked or malfunctioning gauges, and inspect closely for any other damaged controls.
  4. Used forlift tireTires – check for proper tire pressure and make sure tires don’t show wear. In particular, pay close attention to the edges of each tire, as this is often the place forklift tires will first show signs of wear (primarily due to taking corners while carrying heavy loads).
  5. Operating controls. Because used forklifts for sale take a real beating on their operating controls, this is an important area to check. Do a systems check by making sure each of the controls is responsive and functioning properly, including the key switch, hydraulic controls, direction controls, foot and parking brake, and the horn.
  6. Reach channels. Look for caked dirt or grime, and signs of friction or excessive wear.
  7. Lift chains. All chains, pulleys and other rigging should be absolutely free of damage, cracks and excessive wear.
  8. Forks – The fork is another primary component to check thoroughly on used forklifts for sale. The forks should be free of cracks and should lie flat when lowered to the ground. In addition, the pins that hold them securely in place should also be undamaged, and the grooves free of grime and buildup.


With this used forklifts for sale checklist plus the original owner’s manual, you should feel confident enough to make a purchase. Keep in mind that the safest way to purchase used forklifts for sale is through a dealer – which will generally stand behind their equipment if something goes wrong.

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