Used forklift parts are worth considering for two reasons - cost and availability. Used can cost from 50 - 60% of a brand new component. Many of these parts in good working condition are "cannibalized" from forklifts which are no longer useful for one reason or another. This is especially true for those parts which are not subjected to much wear and tear. Therefore, it's best to avoid used forklift parts which wear out easily such as lift chains, brakes, mast rollers, steering axles, water pumps, switches and other small parts. But, finding a used part in good condition can result in real savings for a warehousing or factory operation.
At times when a new part is not immediately available, a used part may be the only recourse in order to avoid work interruptions or delays. If the model of forklift you have is no longer manufactured, you'll probably find a replacement part only in a used parts shop. Another advantage of used forklift parts is that they can be purchased individually and not as part of an assembly the way many brand new parts are sold.
But how reliable are used parts? This depends, to a great extent, on the type of part itself. Components that don't usually undergo much pressure or stress may still be in good condition even after being used for some time. For those components where tolerances are of critical importance, used may not be advisable. It helps to know the history of the used forklift part and the reputation of the used parts dealer. Professional dealers of used forklift parts are a far cry from the junk yards of yore. They employ trained staff to clean the parts, inspect them and categorize them properly. Many even have a policy accepting returns after a limited period.
Many companies have established a policy of keeping an inventory of used forklift parts for emergency situations when new ones are not immediately available. Others keep the parts replaced during routine maintenance for the same reason.
If your business can afford it and you're not in a rush, then brand new forklift parts should be preferred over used. With brand new you can be sure that you're getting one that should last you for a long time. Unlike used brand new ones carry a manufacturer's warranty which protects you from any factory defects. Brand new parts also increase the re-sale value of a forklift in case you want to trade it in or sell it.
There are many instances when choosing a used part is the practical option. Although they may be a second choice, used forklift parts are worth considering.
Jack Ranger is a Community Manager at LiftX Parts International. Jack regularly writes articles, blogs, and other informational content related to the forklift and material handling industry. Jack's goal is to improve the current material handling online community by promoting education, sharing of information, and engagement.