Forklift Buying Tips from Other BuyerZone Users
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
- Why this is important: Leaks can represent the first of many costly patch job, repairs that could potentially cost more than the lift is worth if they're too extensive.
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
- Why this is important: Basic features are fine for some applications. But if your job has specific demands, knowing them in advance will help you get a machine that handles the job efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively.
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
- Why this is important: Forklifts require constant service and support. And when they break down, turnaround time is critical to staying on schedule. A good dealer understands this and has a strong, reliable network that can service your machine quickly, possibly even setting you up with a stand-in if the repairs are lengthy.
"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
- Why this is important: Efficiency will boost productivity, reduce the potential for error, and also minimize driver fatigue. The more automation you have, the faster and safer your people will be able to work.
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
- Why this is important:Your work environment will typically be the first thing a professional seller will address. But just in case, it's critical to have a complete overview of where the forklike will have to operate. Don't forget narrow aisles, uneven or sloped work areas, and emissions considerations.
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
- Why this is important: Being cost-effective often requires a high degree of adaptability. By planning for fluctuating fuel costs in advance (a condition that's guaranteed in today's volatile market), you can avoid temporary increases in fuel prices by having a backup power source.
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
- Why this is important: Maintenance is one of the most important consideration when buying a new or used forklift. Make sure the seller you select has a comprehensive plan that will keep your machine up and running. Most service plans more than make up for their cost with the repairs they'll save you down the road.
Want more information on choosing a forklift dealer? Read our Forklifts Buyer's Guide.
Information was provided by BuyerZone.com users. Tips have been edited for clarity only.Ready to Compare Forklifts Price Quotes?