Forklift Buying Tips from Other BuyerZone Users

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Sometimes, the best way to learn about the purchases you need to make for your business is from other people going through the same process. Here are tips submitted by other forklift buyers.

Be weary of leaks

"When buying any lift, make sure the lift is not leaking from the engine, as these repairs can be very costly. Hoses and cylinder pistons can be fixed, spending little money. But fixing front and back main seals can cost thousands, and these leaks unfortunately do not get better. Ask the dealer to move the lift if it has been sitting in one place, and you will be able to see any leaks on the floor."- Ben Crain, Non-profit, Apple Valley, CA

Rundown the basics

"There are many things to consider when buying a forklift: new vs. used, lifting need vs. lifting capacity, what type of fuel, what type of tires, etc. Although all these are valid concerns I've learned that the most important are tire type, lift capacity (including lift height & weight), and fuel type. If economics are a factor used is by far the best way to go, but when doing so be sure to check out the maintenance history. To determine the right tire type you must first determine your usage area; indoors, outdoors. If outdoors what type of surfaces, concrete, gravel, etc. This will determine your tire needs, either: cushion tires (smooth indoor surfaces), pneumatic tires (light outdoor/rough indoor), for rougher areas consider an all terrain forklift. Fuel type is a matter of personal preference, although electric is the most economical. Lift capacity is determined by the weights being lifted & the heights being reached. Once these factors are evaluated the choices will be clear."- RM, Manufacturing, Millville, PA

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Stick with a good dealer

"A dealer who gets back to you quickly is one to keep. If our lift trucks go offline we start losing money immediately. We take advantage of our on-site service agreement several times a year (we have 3 lifts) and it has more than paid for itself. When a dealer proves that they're responsive and can get fixes done quickly you should stick with them."- mtthompson, Retail, Sparkill, New York

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Get sideshift!

"Sideshift saves a ton of repositioning. You don't have to be so precise. Lots of trucks have it, and it will make drivers more efficient. It's a must have."- baddow, Transportation/Logistics, Aztec, New Mexico

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Measure your access points

"It's all well and good to know you need 3,000 lb capacity, but if the truck doesn't fit through your warehouse doors it's not going to be much help. Have height/width measurements for any doors, gates, or tight spaces you need to drive through before you go to a dealership - you can quickly eliminate some lifts that just won't fit where you need them to go."- ellie_saunders, Other Business Services, Niles, Illinois

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Dual fuel trucks

"We save money using dual fuel lift trucks. Gasoline prices are so up and down, but LPG is more constant. At times it's cheaper to use LPG, at other times gasoline. Also, LPG canisters are easier to store on site as a backup or bring to job sites, and we can use [a dual fuel truck] indoors when running propane."- Frank Gearhan, Construction/General Contracting, Bozeman, Montana

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Take care of it and it will take care of you

"It's like a car, regular oil changes are important, plus hydraulic inspection and lubrication. But more than a car, simply cleaning it, keeping debris out of the wheels/axles and making sure the forks can move freely, makes it last longer. Anyone with basic automotive experience can do much of the maintenance work themselves."- Dmaz, Government, Palm Springs, California

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Want more information on choosing a forklift dealer? Read our Forklifts Buyer's Guide.

Information was provided by users. Tips have been edited for clarity only.

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