Find out which specification of lift truck would best suit your particular handling needs:

  • What is the maximum weight the truck will need to lift?
  • What lift height is required?
  • Are there any height/width restrictions?

Choose a power type, but remember, engine powered trucks are normally only used outdoors. If replacing an old and worn out truck, do not just assume a newer version is what you need without thinking about ways in which your operational needs may have changed.

Age And Condition

Buyers often make the mistake of leaning towards younger trucks, but the number of operating hours and the truck's condition are much more important than age. For example, would you prefer a truck that has been battered 40 hours a week in a salt mine for the past 3 years, or a 5-year-old truck that has been sitting quietly in the corner of a warehouse doing light duties for 14 hours a week? Always check the hour meter for hours worked and the rating plate for year of manufacture.

Service History And Quality

Most of the trucks sold by main dealers are from their rental fleets, serviced by them from new. Because rental trucks remain in the ownership of the dealer until they can sell them at the end of the contract period, it’s very much in the dealer’s best interest to look after them. An ex-rental truck can prove to be a good bargain with many more productive years to give. Ask if the dealer has a record of the truck’s service history as this will verify the hours worked and application conditions.

Cheap At First, But...

A cheap truck might cost you more in the long run. Ideally, ask to view the truck and see it in operation before you buy. Check the condition of the forks, seat, mast, chain, tires and load back rest for damage and wear. If you are buying an electric truck, check the condition of the battery and ensure that it accepts a full charge, as these can be expensive to replace.


Check that spares will be available for a number of years and that parts are reasonably priced.

Service Backup

Ensure the supplier can offer good service backup, ongoing maintenance, and fast repair in the event of breakdown. Buyers sometimes fail to put in place a proper maintenance program for the equipment they buy. Not only could this affect the company if there’s ever an accident, but it will increase the rate of breakdown and repair costs, reduce the resell value of the truck and reduce its working life, meaning you have to spend more to replace it. A service contract should be arranged to provide periodic maintenance. Also, be sure to check that the supplier can respond quickly to any breakdown, or it might cost your business significantly through downtime and lost sales.

Like For Like Quote?

When reviewing prices, be careful to compare “like for like,” and ask for a written detailed quotation. Decide whether you want to purchase or hire the truck and set yourself a budget. Long term rental is also an option that can often be advantageous, since payments are spread out, and the provider can normally add routine maintenance to the monthly fee.

Further advice on purchasing a used truck is available from Barloworld Handling, www.barloworld–