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Used forklift refurbishment is an excellent opportunity to purchase a truck that’s useful for your warehouse, business, or individual use.

However, there are certain factors to be aware of before making this investment that can save you time and money. For instance, the correct documents, certification, and safety standards can impact your purchase regarding refurbished pre-owned forklifts.

This comprehensive guide to forklift refurbishment will explain the refurbishment process, the benefits of a recondition forklift, and factors to consider before buying.

Benefits of Buying a Refurbished Forklift

Purchasing a refurbished forklift has advantages for businesses and personal use. Let’s look at the benefits of buying a refurbished forklift, such as saving on costs, lower insurance premiums, affordable replacement parts, and more.

Save on Costs

If your business is on a budget, you can save on costs with a refurbished forklift, as there are fewer upfront expenses.

Depreciation already has occurred with a refurbished forklift, shaving off thousands without factoring loss over time.

New forklifts are more strict with warranty maintenance, where used forklifts can use in-house mechanics, reducing labour costs.

Shorter Waiting Periods

Depending on your manufacturer, you may have to wait long periods as your new forklift is assembled.

If you need a forklift right away, a refurbished forklift takes less time to get into your hands, with inspections and certification already established.

Lower Insurance Premiums

Used forklifts will have lower insurance premiums as they determine costs based on value. In the event your forklift is stolen, it will cost less to replace it.

Affordable Replacement Parts

Your used unit will more likely have parts in circulation compared to new forklifts.

If your forklift breaks down, the replacement part will cost less. New units tend to have fewer parts available, less supply, and higher price tags.

Since the replacement parts will cost less, you can purchase additional equipment such as beacons, ride-on platforms, or anything else for your project.

You will also not have to worry about paying for inflated prices on add-ons, enhancing the driving experience of a forklift.

Less Training Required

New units may have innovative functions to learn as they hit the market. Older, used forklifts will most likely have the familiar parts, allowing quicker integration utilising the forklift. You do not have to train new mechanics as well, saving time.

However, ensure you still read the manual and its documents to operate the forklift successfully. You can also read our guide to forklift training for a more comprehensive review of training needs.

Forklift Refurbishment Process

We’ll explain the forklift refurbishment process to help you understand how they are disassembled and reassembled to look and operate like new.


In the first stage, the forklift’s condition is inspected and evaluated. This step also determines which parts will be replaced or salvaged. Most likely, all safety-related parts will be replaced, including abused or worn components.

The engine, transmission, battery, tyres, mast are checked and fully tested. Mechanical parts, tyres, and brakes will also be replaced if necessary.


Hydraulic fluids and oil are changed and disposed of safely.

Mast sections and rollers are inspected. The mast is prepped and thoroughly cleaned.

Refurbish Components

Bearings are greased, and both tubes and chains are changed if necessary.

Each component is repaired or replaced with new or refurbished parts. This includes inserting new bolts, axles, drawbars, springs and tyres.

Parts with visible wear-and-tear are replaced, with the engine and gearbox renewed.

The battery is replaced with a new or refurbished unit.

Surface Treatment

This step ensures the forklift looks brand new as the chassis and mast are prepped, smoothed, and painted.

If the mast has broken or worn parts, it will be repaired. The steering system, tilt cylinder, side shifter receive compressed air. After, a fresh coat of paint is applied, restoring the original colours. A customer may also request a customised design or colour.


All the components come together to create a restored forklift that runs and operate like brand new.

Final Inspection

A thorough, final inspection is conducted with a functional test and load.

Some companies are more strict than others and may require a checklist to certify the forklift passes safety standards and accreditation. It is a team effort to ensure there are no defects, as it may delay the distribution process.


The forklift goes through a LOLER examination by a fully accredited inspector. LOLER tests and certifies the forklift is operable and safe to use.

Before delivery, a rigorous Pre-Delivery Inspection is conducted to ensure warehouse owners, operators, or private businesses receive an efficient forklift.

You may also like to read our article on how to service your forklifts for more information.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Refurbished Forklift

There are many advantages to buying a refurbished forklift vs. long term rentals. However, it is important to know what factors can impact your decision, such as the engine, brakes, condition, service reports, and other features.

Overall Condition

When you meet the refurbished forklift, examine it thoroughly. Is it in a rough condition, or has it been reassembled to look brand new? Check if there are any signs of rust, dents, scratches, or a poor paint job.

Consider the age and hours of use on the forklift. Less than 1,000 hours will be best to last longer in the future.

Always test drive the refurbished forklift before buy. Check if it’s fully functional with a smooth ride with no repairs necessary.

The steering should also be smooth and easy to drive around bends at various speeds. The forklift must remain stable while in motion.


While test driving the forklift, listen to the engine for any irregularities.

During this time, you can conduct a hydraulic leak test. Park the forklift in the cleanest area you can find, have it fun for 10 to 20 minutes, having someone qualified to activate the hydraulic functions.

After, move the forklift and look for any leaks or other warning signs that something is wrong with the transmission.

Also, be aware of excess smoke.


Test the brakes at different speeds, as they should not stick or feel soft. The forklift must respond quickly and efficiently to the brakes. Also, the brakes must not push the forklift to one side.

Tyre Conditions

Cut and worn tyres are standard on forklifts that have seen years of service. However, the tyres must be cut to safety standards or be new.

No deep marks on tyre walls must be present, including worn-down rubber.

Manuals and Service Reports

Before buying a refurbished forklift, you must check the manual and service reports. These documents allow you to know the working condition of the unit, helping you evaluate the value and safety of the forklift.

The manual ensures anyone using the forklift in a warehouse can operate the unit as intended.

Check the full-service history to view previous issues and identify if any further repairs need to occur.


Most people forget to check the lights, but they need to work before you buy the forklift. Make sure there are no dim, flickering, or broken lights. If there is an issue, ask the seller if it’s possible to repair the lights.


Forklifts come in all sizes for different services. Consider which jobs you will use the forklift for and which size is best suitable for you.

Usually, refurbished forklifts will range between 3,350 mm to 4,950 mm and weigh 1,750 kg to 5,500 kg.

Safety and Compliance

The most common safety accreditation is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). It ensures the lift is safe and functional. It is mandatory for every refurbished forklift.

Other safety compliance includes:

If a forklift completed both LOLER and PUWER, you would see a Certificate of Thorough Examination on the unit. It is a legal requirement that states parts such as the fork and lifting chains are safe. If these parts fail, the insurance company is more likely to help if you have these credentials.

If there is an accident, not having these credentials will invalidate the insurance, costing you more money.

Brand and Seller Reputation

Brands such as Caterpillar, Hyster, CESAB and Toyota are a few selections of refurbished forklifts that give consumers more confidence in their product because of reliable, high-quality parts.

The manufacturer or dealer you buy your refurbished forklift also matters to avoid scams. Although, it is possible to buy from someone lesser known as long as they provide the correct manual, reports, and certifications.

Simple Offers

Looking for a bargain can come with complications, as manufacturers may try to offer you confusing deals in different packages without the proper compliance.

Easy to understand offers are the best from a manufacturer who has all the correct paperwork.

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Overall, this comprehensive guide for reconditioned forklifts is the first step to buying a pre-owned truck today. Purchasing a refurbished forklift is excellent for any business to get the job done at a lower cost and less hassle. Ensure your pre-owned forklift passes through rigorous accreditation and certification with the proper marks for insurance and safety purposes.

And, of course, if you are looking for reliable help with your forklift maintenance, servicing, repairs, and refurbishment needs, Angus Lift Truks has over 35 Years of MHE Experience in LeicestershireNottinghamshireNorthamptonshireBirminghamWarwickshireDerbyshireEast Midlands & West Midlands.


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