Regardless of whether you plan to buy a new or used forklift, you will need to do a bit of research to figure out which type of forklift is best for your needs. The size, function, and engine type of the used forklift will have an impact on how useful it is for you, so you should make a list of ways you are likely to use the lift as well as where you are most likely to use it. A forklift intended for outdoor use will be different than one intended for use in a warehouse with narrow aisles, so plan accordingly.
The three most common engine types for a used forklift are electric, gasoline, and diesel engines. The specific things you will need to look for when purchasing one of these models will vary according to the type of engine. You will need to look underneath the vehicle for obvious fluid leaks when dealing with a gasoline or diesel engine, but this may not be as applicable with an electric engine. You will need to find out the weight and power ratings for each type of used forklift as well so you know how much weight the lift can carry, and how powerful the engine will be for your needs.
Be sure to test drive any used forklift you are considering purchasing. The test drive should start with cold starting the engine; take note of how long it takes for the engine to warm up and get ready for use, and listen for any abnormal noises. Drive the forklift to test for proper function and maneuverability, particularly if you intend to use it in a narrow-aisled warehouse. Use the lift to test its functionality and ease of use, and whenever possible, move some pallets with the unit.
Try to buy a well-known brand name forklift if possible. This will ensure you will be able to get replacement parts and accessories easily for the forklift in the future, as repairs are likely to be necessary after time with a used forklift. Ask the seller if any warranties are still valid on the forklift, and contact the manufacturer to make sure this warranty is transferable if the forklift is sold second-hand to you. If you are buying from a forklift dealer, be sure to ask about any return policies or guarantees on the quality of the lift once you buy it.