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First-time Buyers: What Do These Things Tell You About a Used Forklift?

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Buying used machines is never an easy job and forklifts are no exception. You need to ask yourself so many things before splashing lots of money on what could turn to be a very big mistake. What's the condition of the inner components that you cannot examine with a simple glance at the machine? How has the previous owner treated the forklift over the period that he or she has been using it? These questions will linger in your mind as you look to buy a forklift from someone who has been using it. If you are buying used forklifts for the first time, here are some of the most important things you need to look at:

The Lifting Unit

The lifting mechanism comprises the lift chains, cylinders and mast rails (leave out the forks here because they need their own segment). As you would expect, the lifting unit is the most frequently used section of the forklift as it facilitates the up and down movement of the forks. Look out for cracks on the chains and excessive wear on the rollers. An easy way to tell if the rollers are worn is a change in their shape from round to oval. After assessing the rollers, examine the whole length of the lift chains for any damage and missing anchor pins. Lastly, make sure that the hydraulic cylinders are not leaking. Anything that doesn't make the cut will require replacement before you can start using the forklift.

The Forks

The forks do the actual lifting of the load from one point to another. Stand at the front side of the machine and check for bends and fractures on the forks. Bent forks can be straightened without affecting the loading capacity of the machine. On the other hand, superficial and deep cracks pose a safety hazard to the user. Moreover, it also impairs the forklift from operating at full loading capacity. Besides cracked forks, make sure that the heels of the forks are as thick as the upright shanks. If not, you will have to replace fork unit before starting your operations.

The Engine

The engine powers the machine around. Without it, you won't be able to move loads from one point to the other. Generally, the engine compartment should be free of leaks, cracked hoses and build-up of grime and dirt. These are indicators or a neglected engine that might even call for an overhaul. Lastly, check the condition of the oil to determine if the previous owner often replaced it in good time. If the oil on the dipstick has small particles of dirt, then the engine requires thorough inspection before you start using the machine.