When Is It Time to Replace Your Forklift?

As a construction or material handling professional, you need a forklift you can rely on to run a successful business. This equipment plays a valuable role in getting the job done safely and efficiently. Still, even the best-maintained fleet eventually needs a refresh, so you need to know when to replace an old forklift with a newer, more capable model.

4 Signs You Need to Buy a New Forklift

A large part of knowing when to replace a forklift comes from keeping an eye on its performance and condition. Some indicators are obvious, while others take closer attention.

1. When Visual Inspections Reveal Issues

As part of your safety and planned maintenance protocols, forklifts should undergo regular inspections. One sign that you may need to replace your lift truck is finding visible cracks during an evaluation. You should also check the forks for excessive wear or distortion. Any exposed wiring, leaking hydraulics and loose cables could indicate you’re due for a replacement.

2. When Operating Conditions Are Rough

If your forklift handles its maximum load a majority of the time, it’s likely to wear out sooner. Similarly, forklifts working in extreme temperatures or around excessive dust may experience more stress on critical parts like hydraulics. Those that must stop, turn and start continuously could also need more frequent replacement. If these conditions apply to your operation, be sure to perform regular, meticulous forklift inspections to stop problems before they start.

3. When You’ve Logged 8,000 to 10,000 Working Hours

While not a hard-and-fast rule, this milestone appears to be the industry average, likely because it’s when the costs of repair tend to outweigh the benefits. A cost-per-hour analysis can help determine if that’s true — the lower maintenance and repair expenses of a new or gently used unit may be worth the investment when you consider the actual costs of downtime.

4. When Safety Becomes a Concern

Safe operation is a priority for businesses to protect their people and equipment. New forklifts offer several advancements in safety technology, and changing regulations may affect older models if modification isn’t possible.

Similarly, forklifts showing signs of mechanical issues can pose safety hazards — for example, the rough operation could cause a load to shift. When repair isn’t an option, replacement is the solution.

Leave a Reply