A forklift must be inspected well and given a test run before buying it. This applies specifically to trucks being purchased on-line. It is vital to find potential problems with trucks bought from businesses on-line.
Starting the engine from cold is a good idea. Note whether there is excessive smoke and the ease with which the engine turns over. This is especially vital with trucks that have IC engines.
Testing the performance of the truck in tough situations must be included in the test run. A trained driver can operate the truck in reverse and forward, up the ramp.
You can carry out your own inspection of an IC engine truck. On a clear area of floor, run the truck around for several minutes while a skilled operator tests the hydraulic functions. After that, look at the ground underneath for indications of fluid leakage. Even seemingly minor leaking can result in serious issues that would be very pricey to repair later on.
A skilled individual must inspect the chains and masts. 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 mast and fork carriage. Another is creeping down or creeping forward of the mast when loaded. These could be signs of issues with ram, valve or seals.
If the truck is used, the mast might have been changed at some time. Make sure that the mast and any fitted attachments follow the rating plate on a truck. Make sure that the sideshift is not sticking when loaded.
Looking closely at the thickness of the heel for wear or damage must be included in the inspection. The manufacturer of the truck specifies minimum thickness. A loose fit can mean the carriage or hanger points are worn. Watch for cracks on the arms at mountings and heels.