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Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Forklift

Unlike diesel and LPG forklifts, electric forklifts are battery operated. In order for the vehicle to run as smoothly as possible, it’s imperative that the battery is well maintained throughout the machine’s life. By looking after the forklift battery, you’ll be elongating the overall life of the vehicle, giving you at least five years of uninterrupted service as opposed to just two or three.


As well as ensuring you have a fully-functional forklift for the next few years, it will also help you to keep expenses down. Replacing parts, components and whole forklift batteries can be extremely costly, so looking after the machine now will help you financially in the long run. But how can you maintain your forklift battery effectively to ensure you reap the aforementioned benefits? Charnwood Lift Trucks are on hand with the answers

What are the benefits of buying a used forklift?

There are many benefits associated with purchasing a used forklift and they include:


  • Reduced upfront costs – you’ll acquire a quality forklift for up to 50% of the price of a brand new one
  • You won’t have to wait long – it’s possible to take your second-hand forklift away the same day, whereas you could wait a while to have a brand new one delivered
  • There’s more choice – there’s a wide variety of used machines available if you choose to go down this path, including top brands and manufacturers
  • They’re simple and inexpensive to maintain – spare parts are easy to get hold of and even easier to fit, most of the time

What should you consider when buying a second-hand forklift?

It’s important that you’re buying the right vehicle for your needs, no matter what they are. Even the smallest of warehouses will need equipment that’ll seamlessly suit their requirements and that’s where used forklifts will come in. Due to the amount of variety there is, you’ll be able to purchase anything from a VNA forklift to a second-hand diesel alternative.


But before you sign on the dotted line and make the decision to buy a used forklift, or any other piece of second-hand warehouse machinery, there are a few things you need to think about and questions you should ask both yourself and the seller before taking the plunge, and they include the following:

Check the rating plate of the vehicle

All forklifts, whether new or used, should have a rating plate. Essentially, it dictates the amount of weight the forklift can lift at any one time, so it’s absolutely crucial for health and safety reasons. It’ll also help you to decide whether the used forklift will be able to meet your needs properly.

Assess whether it’ll be able to meet all of your needs

Although all second-hand forklifts look the same and it can be easy to presume that all forklifts will have the same capabilities as each other, but this isn’t the case. This is why it’s important that you understand what each and every used forklift has to offer you. Whether one can lift a greater wait or reach a greater height than another, you need to be able to cater for your unique operations by considering what each one can do.

Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself when it comes to whether or not a used forklift can meet your requirements are:

  • Is the forklift truck going to be used regularly or only when demand is high?
  • Do I need the forklift to carry out operations inside, outdoors or both?
  • What weight do I need the forklift to carry?
  • Will the loads be balanced accordingly for everyone’s safety?
  • Do I have enough room for a vehicle this big or do I need a smaller one?
  • Is the mast tall enough to carry out the work?
  • Is the mast short enough to fit through doorways, ceilings and warehouse racking?

If you can’t match the used forklift against your individual needs, then you shouldn’t go through with the purchase. It’s important that it suits your requirements from the outset and not changed or altered further down the line, which will also end up costing you even more money. 

Making modifications will also mitigate any savings you made choosing to buy a used forklift over a new one – another reason to make sure the second-hand alternative is perfect from the start. 

Buying a used forklift online seems like a convenient option, but where it might seem like a good idea, it isn’t when it comes to purchasing a forklift to improve and enhance your warehouse operations. 


It’s recommended that you actually go and see the forklift in real life before making any transaction. If you’re satisfied upon viewing the machine yourself, only then should you place your online order or you could even see if the seller will take money for it while you’re there, if possible.


Some of the warning signs to look out for when inspecting a used forklift include:


  • Rust

  • Damage

  • Cracks

  • Old or previous repair work

  • Shoddy repair work

  • General leaks

Although stumbling across these things doesn’t deem the forklift worthless, you could end up knocking some money off the asking price or ask them to rectify the issues you’ve spotted before taking it off their hands, much like buying a second-hand car.

Test drive the second-hand forklift you’re interested in

Again, you wouldn’t buy a used car without test driving it first, just to see how it handles, how comfortable it is and just generally whether it’s right for you or not. If you’re not a trained forklift operator, you should bring someone with you who is qualified to handle such machines.

Generally, those who are trained in forklift operation will carry out the maintenance for them as well, so ask them, on your behalf, to check for any leaks from either the transmission or hydraulics, just as a safety precaution and the forklift should also be able to start from cold.

Ask if the refurbished forklift is still under warranty

This is one of the most important documents that you’ll be provided with when buying a used forklift truck, so make sure that the vehicle does still have a warranty either on the machine itself or on certain parts and components. 

Not only will this save you money further down the line, but it’ll also ensure you’ll receive many more hours of service. If the forklift doesn’t have a warranty on it, then it’s not recommended that you make the purchase.

Inspect the Certificate of Thorough Examination

 In addition to the warranty document, this is also a highly-important document when it comes to the purchase of a second-hand forklift. This basically reiterates, officially, that the machine is compliant with all appropriate and necessary regulations. Without this certificate, you can’t be fully sure that the vehicle actually operates safely, if at all.

 Ask to see this before committing to a purchase and request an independent inspection if you’re still not sure about the overall health of the vehicle. If the seller can’t provide you with this, then don’t go through with the sale. 

How can Charnwood Lift Trucks help you?

Charnwood Lift Trucks are pleased to be able to offer our customers an extensive range of used warehouse machines, including second-hand forklifts, that have been meticulously refurbished and maintained to an excellent standard. Regardless of your budget, you can rest assured that you’ll be provided with a high-quality vehicle that’ll stand the test of time.

No matter what it is you’re looking for, you’ll have a wide range of different material handling machines available to you from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers. You don’t always have to splash out on brand new forklifts to keep your warehouse operations ahead of the game – opt for used forklifts from Charnwood Lift Trucks and you’ll be guaranteed to get the job done.

For more information about how we can help you today, get in touch with a member of our professional, knowledgeable team – we’re always on hand to meet your individual needs and requirements and keep your warehouse operations running as smoothly as possible.