A forklift must be inspected well and given a test run prior to buying it. This applies particularly to trucks being purchased on-line. It is important to find possible problems with trucks obtained from companies on-line.
Be certain to start the engine from cold, and note the ease with which the engine turns over and whether there is too much smoke. This is specifically essential with IC engine trucks.
The test run must include an inspection of the truck's performance in tough situations. A qualified operator could drive the truck in forward and reverse, up the ramp.
You can inspect an IC engine truck yourself. On a clear area of floor, run the truck around for a few minutes while a trained driver tests the hydraulic functions. After that, examine the ground beneath for signs of fluid leakage. Even seemingly minor leaking can lead to serious issues that would be expensive to fix later on.
The masts and chains should be checked by a skilled individual. Check with and without a load that the mast operates well. Watch for 'binding' or sticking of the mast. A warning sign is play in the mast channels or between the fork carriage and mast. One more is creeping forward or creeping down of the mast when loaded. These could be signs of issues with valve, seals or ram.
If the truck is used, the mast might have been changed at some time. Make sure that the mast and any fitted attachments adhere to the rating plate on a truck. Make sure that the sideshift is not sticking when loaded.
When checking the forks, look closely at the heel thickness for wear or damage. The manufacturer of the truck specifies minimum thickness. A loose fit might mean the carriage or hanger points are worn. Look for cracks on the arms at mountings and heels.