How To Inspect A Used Forklift

Posted on: 1 June 2016

If you are purchasing a used forklift for your business for the first time (from an outlet such as Independent Lift Truck Of Alaska), it is important that you give it a thorough inspection just like you would do if you were purchasing a used car. Here is how and what you need to inspect when purchasing a used forklift for your business.    

The Front Of The Forklift

The first area you should inspect is the front of the forklift. Look directly at the forks on the machine and see if there are any large cracks in the forks; if there are cracks, the machine will not be able to safely lift its maximum capacity. You should also make sure that the forks are not distorted or bent; if they are, the forks would need to be straightened out to ensure it could safely and evenly carry a load. 

Next, look at the thickness of the fork. The thickness of the fork on the bottom near the ground should match the thickness of the portion of the fork that makes an L with the machine and is off the ground. If there is a big discrepancy in thickness, the fork may be too worn out to do you any good. 

As you move up the forklift, you need to check the mast rollers, which are where the chains are located in the middle front of the forklift. Make sure there are no missing links on the chains. Then, make sure the chain is securely in place and that no anchor pins are missing.

Next to the chain should be a hydraulic hose that contains necessary fluid for the machine. Look up and down the hose and make sure that it is not leaking fluid. 

Finally, inspect the remainder of the front of the forklift and make sure there are no bolts missing or lose, any cracks, or other signs of damage.

The Cab

Next, you need to check the cab of the forklift. First, look at the cab from the outside. Make sure that the canopy looks strong and does not look bent or crushed in any way; if the canopy is compromised, whoever is operating your forklift would not be protected in the event of either a rollover or a dropped load. Make sure that the side screens are in place and secure. 

Then, sit in the cab. First off, make sure that the seat belt works securely and that the seat moves correctly and allows for the correct use of the forklift. Generally, the seat should swivel a bit so the forklift driver can see all around them. 

Next, turn on the forklift. Listen to the sounds the engine makes; it should not make any strange sounds, such as rattling or groans. Check out the hydraulic levers and make sure that you can lower and raise the loader arm, as well as tilt it forward and back and left to right. Pay attention to how smoothly you can move the arm when there is nothing on it. Then, drive the forklift and make sure that it can move both forwards and backwards. Take the forklift in a figure-eight to test out the turn radius, steering, and brakes. 

Finally, check all of the lights and make sure that they are all operational. 

Under The Hood

The final thing you want to check is under the hood. Open up the engine compartment and give the components a once over. You do not want to purchase a forklift where you can see leaking fluid, cracked hoses, or excessive dirt and rust build-up inside the fluid compartment. 

Check and make sure that all the fluid containers, such as the oil, are filled properly. Look at any belts you can see and make sure that they are securely attached and not cracked. Make sure the connections on the battery look clean and not rusted over. If you do not know that much about mechanics, bring a mechanic along with you or ask for a mechanical inspection before you purchase the forklift.

Make sure that you run through all the steps above before you purchase a used forklift; if there are any issues with the forklift, make sure they are things that you can fix and that are affordable to fix based on the purchase price that you paid for the forklift.