How to Find a High-Quality Used Forklift for Sale in Houston

Used forklifts are cost-effective, but how do you know if they’re high-quality? Here are several things to look for when buying a used forklift for sale.

If you own a forklift, you know how important it can be for your business or job site. They are the workhorse that keeps things running. 

They can also be quite costly to buy new and maybe you aren’t yet in a position to make that kind of investment. Maybe you want to consider buying a used forklift and wonder if it’s a good idea to invest in a used piece of equipment. 

What things should you consider if you want to buy a used forklift for your business?

Read on to learn all the questions and considerations as you look at a used forklift for sale.

How Much Can It Lift?

Ultimately, the job of your forklift is to, well, lift things. So, your first consideration when looking at a used forklift should be whether the machine can lift the weight you need it to lift. 

You need to know your lifting needs before you even start looking for a machine. Then check the machine’s ratings to know what it’s lifting specifications are. 

You also need to factor in the deratings. So, for example, if you need to lift 5,000 pounds, you won’t get a 5,000-pound machine. The mast and the forks derate from that 5,000 pounds and you actually lift less. Be careful to check the specs closely when evaluating weight limits for the machine.

 Power Source

When considering a used forklift you also need to consider how it will be powered. There are electric forklifts run by battery power that is recharged. There are also fuel sourced machines run by either gas, propane, or diesel. 

Often the question of what type of power source you want to use comes down to where you will be using the machine. 

If you want to use the machine inside in a warehouse, for example, you likely want a machine that emits no fumes, so an electric machine is a better choice. 

If you are working outside on a job site where the forklift will be doing some serious heavy lifting, you likely want a diesel machine. Fuel machines are typically better choices for outside since there will be emissions while the forklift is working.


When you buy a car you want to know what year the car was built. It tells you how old the car is. When considering a forklift, you want to know how many hours the forklift has on it. This tells you how many hours the forklift has been working. 

Why does this matter? You could have two forklifts built in the same year. One could be nearing the end of its work life and the other could last for many years more. 

The average forklift lasts for about 10,000 hours.  Obviously, the more hours a used forklift has on it, the less valuable and less time it is likely to last. 

So, as you look at used machines, consider how many hours it has already worked and how hard you intend to run it to get a gauge on the used machine’s life. 

Maintenance History

Just as if you were buying a used car, you want to buy one that appears to have been well cared for. It makes sense to think that if it’s well maintained, then it will last longer. 

When you look at the used forklift, as to see the maintenance history. Was the appropriate routine maintenance done on the machine? Does it appear the machine was cared for? Is there anything in the maintenance history that would suggest that the machine has experienced mechanical problems?

It also matters who handled the maintenance. You want a reputable dealer and mechanic working on the machine to ensure it was properly cared for. 

What Do You Know About the Seller?

Knowing the seller or how the seller operates will give you a window into how the machine was treated prior to it being for sale. 

If a dealer has the machine, they may have knowledge of its history and its maintenance records. They will also be most knowledgeable about its current condition.

Buying a forklift from a wholesaler or middle man leaves you with little information about the machine’s history. 

Machine Specifications

There are a variety of other things to consider when looking at used forklifts. You want to make sure you buy a used forklift that has the specifications to do the lifting you need it to do. Let’s take a closer look at those specs to consider. 


You want to make sure the forks are the length and size to do the lifting you need. You also want to carefully inspect the forks for possible damage. Look for cracks in the forks. Also, look to see if there any dents or bends to that might throw off the balance of what you’re lifting.


When considering a mast you want to make sure it has the lifting potential you need. You also want to make sure you can get to the height you need. 

Look to make sure the mast isn’t slipping when operating, that’s a red flag for potential problems. Check this when the forklift is carrying a load and not carrying one.


You want to look at the condition of the tires. These can be costly to replace. You also want to make sure the forklift has the right kind of tires for how you intend to use it. Does the forklift have pneumatic or cushion tires and does that meet with your needs?


Consider your own needs for the forklift. Do you need a cab on the forklift? Will you be using it outside in the elements? Look at the condition of the cab.

Find the Right Used Forklift for Sale

Buying a used forklift for sale can be a smart decision to get yourself the workhorse you need. Carefully consider your needs and evaluate the specifications of the machine to be sure it meets your lifting needs. 

If you are in the market for a used forklift, we can help. Contact us today to get more information about our inventory.