How to Know When to Upgrade Your Forklift

When to Upgrade ForkliftA forklift is a piece of industrial equipment, so the decision to upgrade should be driven by the goal of maintaining or improving your business’s bottom line.  Each operation enjoys a different amount of capital and revenue, and the amount of labor performed by a forklift can vary from business to business.  So, the best strategy to get the most out of a forklift will vary as well.

There are two principal signs that a forklift upgrade is needed:

  1.  The forklift is about to exceed an operational threshold that significantly reduces its resale value and limits the number of potential buyers.
  2. The cost of repairs exceeds the forklift’s value, or expensive repairs will be required in the near future, and selling is the most lucrative option.

This article will discuss these two conditions and arm you with information that can prevent an unnecessary loss in capital.

The Operational Threshold

There are two variables that directly influence the value of every forklift: the number of hours the forklift has been operated and its age.  Both of these factors control the machine’s price and determine the number of potential buyers.

It’s important to consider the options that buyers have in the current market.  Because of industrial bankruptcies caused by the economic recession, there has been an increase in the number of forklifts being sold after less than five years of use.  If your forklift is more than five years old, informed buyers will immediately ask for a reduced price.  So, it may be wise to trade in or sell your forklift before reaching this threshold.

In single-shift operations, most forklifts labor for 1,500 hours each year.  Although the number of hours you operate your forklift is determined by your business’s demands, calculating the average number of hours it has been used each year can help you determine the value of your machine and when to sell.

Cost of Repairs

Just like a car, a forklift requires regular maintenance.  If your machine was not properly maintained and repairs are adding up to a small fortune, it may be time for an upgrade.

Common repairs involve the transmission, battery and friction, but any component of a forklift can be damaged to a point that demands replacement.  Although there’s no scientific approach to determine when to sell or trade in to avoid unpredictable damages, certain signs can indicate an approaching disaster, including frequent binding and turbulent operation.

The Benefits of Proper Timing

Not only can properly timing your forklift upgrade help you avoid unnecessary expenses, but it can also prevent industrial accidents.  Here are some common malfunctions that can lead to injuries and lawsuits:

  • Brake malfunctions
  • Steering malfunctions
  • Clutch, shift linkage and transmission malfunctions
  • Mast assembly malfunctions
  • Transmission or hydraulic system leaks
  • Malfunctioning safety devices
  • Forklift emissions
  • Visibility obstructions or blind spots

With proper maintenance and careful operation, you can maximize the lifetime of your industrial machinery.  Knowing when to upgrade your forklift can prevent unexpected costs and keep your business processes running smoothly.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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