5 things to check before buying a used forklift


Buying a used forklift truck is an affordable and convenient way to keep your site stocked with the vehicles you require.

With proper maintenance, forklifts from market-leading manufacturers, such as Toyota, Nexen, Caterpillar and Samuk, can last for over 20,000 hours, meaning used trucks can be a worthy investment.

However, to make sure you get a fair deal you should always do your research and only buy from a supplier you trust.

Your forklift supplier should be able to thoroughly answer any questions you have and provide you with vehicle history details. Always check the following information before buying:


1. Check the truck is the right fit for your operation

It’s important to know what type of vehicle you need (model, size, reach capacity, etc.) before you start looking.

You might find a fantastic deal on a used forklift, only to discover it’s a diesel vehicle and you need it for indoor work. Don’t be tempted to go with a truck that’s not quite right just because it’s a good deal.

Spend some time working with a second-hand forklift supplier, who’ll be able to show you a few different models based on your requirements.

(Not sure what type of vehicle you need? Check out our infographic ‘Pros and cons: What type of forklift is right for my business’ for an overview.)


2. Conduct a test drive

This is an obvious point, but always go and visit any second-hand forklift you’re planning to buy – not everybody does this! Take a good look at what kind of condition it’s in – interior and exterior – and ask to take a test drive.

During the test drive, make sure you test the brakes, steering and lifting mechanism, as these areas are most likely to develop faults due to wear and tear.


3. Ask to see the vehicle’s documentation

Check that your used forklift comes with:

  • CE mark on the truck
  • CE certificate
  • A relevant manual
  • Identity manufacturer’s identity plate and capacity plate
  • Original labels and warning
  • LOLER certificate
  • A warranty

If the truck’s original warranty has expired, you should be able to secure a warranty from your supplier. Reputable used forklift suppliers will offer their own warranties, giving you peace of mind that you aren’t going to get caught out by any unexpected breakdowns the moment you’ve got the truck to your site.


4. Ask what mechanical work has been done recently

Find out what recent work has been carried out on the vehicle. It could be anything from a quick clean and service, to a full overhaul and this can impact the value of the used forklift in the long-run.

For instance, a truck that has had a simple lick of paint may have a lower life expectancy than one that has had several brand new parts installed. Knowing this information in advance will help you to maintain the vehicle going forwards.


5. Buy through a company that can provide aftercare

You might find a great deal on a used forklift from an individual, but think about what situation that could leave you in if something goes wrong with it.

Buying your used forklift from a specialist forklift supplier means that you have someone to call upon in the event of a breakdown or accidental damage. The long-term value you will gain from this will far out way any kind of price knock-down upfront.

We offer a comprehensive range of used forklifts that are available to buy, delivered to your site at your convenience. To find out more about our vehicles and services, call us on 0113 393 2881 or email enquiries@moorgateltd.co.uk.