When it comes to warehousing and material handling, few machines are as indispensable as a forklift. Because new forklifts can be so expensive, many small business owners opt to purchase a used forklift instead. If you are considering adding a used forklift to your business's tool arsenal, read on. This article will talk about some important forklift features to check on before finalizing your deal.
The forks are the most important part of a forklift, seeing as they are responsible for moving merchandise safely up and down. Of course, this also means that the forks are subject to a lot of wear and tear. For that reason, it is vital that you inspect a used forklift's forks for any signs of stress or abuse. Cracked, bent, or otherwise distorted metal are all signs that the forks may have been subject to excessive loads.
Small bends may be repaired through a process of straightening. But this often requires additional expense—and a trip to a professional repair person. While you may judge fixing such bends an acceptable cost, any other type of damage should be a red flag. Even the tiniest crack is liable to grow larger and larger with time and can thus put you, your workers, and your merchandise at unnecessary risk.
When checking out the forks, it is also important to take measurements of the metal's thickness. Specifically you'll want to compare the thickness of the horizontal and vertical portions. Use a high-quality pair of digital calipers for the best results. You want to find that the metal in both portions is equally thick. If not, you're looking at a strong sign that the bottom face of the forks have been habitually dragged along rough ground.
The mast of a forklift is the pair of upright beams along which the forks move up and down. As you can imagine, the mast is exposed to large amounts of force on a regular basis. Even if the forks appear undamaged, it is important to look closely for any signs of stress or bending on the mast. Note any signs of welding, as this may indicate that the mast has been cracked and then repaired in the past—a scenario that may make it more susceptible to future damage.
There are two heavy-duty chains that are responsible for moving the mast up and down along the fork. It is important to check these chains for rust. This indicates that the machine has not been properly maintained in the past. You'll also want to inspect the chains for any absent anchor pins. These will leave the links severely weakened.