Buying Used Forklifts: A Guide for NZ Warehouse Managers 

Why Consider Used Forklifts? 

Used forklifts can be a great option for start-ups, growing companies, and businesses with occasional needs or mixed fleets. They offer a cost-effective alternative to new equipment while still delivering on quality. 

Key Considerations Before Buying 

Forklift Fit and Purpose: 

  • Ensure the forklift meets your clearance heights and aisle widths. 
  • Define where it will be used: indoors, outdoors, or both. 
  • Check the terrain and subsoil conditions. 
  • Confirm lifting loads and heights required. 
  • Determine if you need assistance systems, sensors, or cameras. 

Forklift Condition: 

  • Used forklifts come in various conditions, from like-new to needing repairs. Inspecting the forklift is crucial. 

Engine & Hydraulics 

  • Location of Use: Choose between electric or combustion engines based on whether the forklift will be used indoors, outdoors, or both. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Test the engine and hydraulics. 
  • Look for fluid leaks. 
  • Ensure the engine runs smoothly. 
  • Verify the maintenance schedule. 

Lift Mast & Forks 

  • These parts endure high stress; ensure they are in good condition. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Confirm the mast matches the truck’s type plate. 
  • Test all movements. 
  • Check for damage or cracks in the forks. 
  • Verify the operating hours. 

Lighting & Electrical Systems 

  • Safety is paramount, and proper lighting is essential. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Test all lights and headlamps. 
  • Inspect cables and plugs for damage. 
  • Ensure lamp housings are dry. 

Battery (for Electric Forklifts) 

  • The battery’s condition greatly affects the forklift’s value. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Look for sulphation on terminals. 
  • Check for bulging battery cells. 
  • Inspect for cracks in the battery case. 
  • Determine if cells have been replaced. 

Driver’s Cab & Workplace 

  • A functional cab is crucial for operational efficiency. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Ensure all displays and controls work. 
  • Check for cracks in panels. 
  • Test doors, wipers, and lights. 
  • Verify all mirrors are present. 


  • Well-maintained tyres are a sign of good upkeep. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Look for damage, cuts, or nicks. 
  • Check the wear indicator. 
  • Inspect rims and wheel bolts. 

Steering & Brakes 

  • Safety relies on high-quality steering and brakes. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Test for directional stability and steering play. 
  • Verify service and parking brakes. 
  • Ensure braking is even on both sides. 
  • Check the condition of rubber pedals. 

Body Condition 

  • The truck’s body should be free from significant damage. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Look for rust, dents, or deformations. 
  • Check if parts have been replaced. 

Documents & Warranties 

  • Ensure all paperwork is complete and check warranty details. 
  • Checkpoints: 
  • Verify the warranty status. 
  • Review test reports and identification documents. 

Final Inspection 

A personal inspection is essential. Evaluate any defects and decide if the price reflects necessary repairs. Contact Yale Forklifts NZ service agent SG Equipment for expert advice and quality used forklifts to meet your needs. 


    Head Office: 09 268 4610

    10 Marphona Crescent, Takanini,
    Auckland 2105

    PO Box 97156, Manukau City,
    Auckland 2241

    Te Puke Branch (07) 281 1870

    6 Te Puke Quarry Road, Te Puke.

    Open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm

    Weekends & other times by appointment


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