Is Maintaining Your Forklift Worth it, or is it Time for Your Machine to Retire?

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You’ve taken care of your forklift for years.  You’ve followed the tips that you’ve seen here on this blog, followed the manufacturer’s user manual, and made sure that you and your drivers were always safe.  But, as with any piece of machinery, eventually time will take its toll.  How do you know when the time has come to retire your forklift, and pick up a new one?  Below are the three most common signs that it’s time to upgrade.

1. Cost of Maintenance

This is relatively simple.  How much is each forklift in your fleet costing you to maintain?  How much money are you generating by using each forklift?  You’ll start to notice on your older machines that the cost to keep them running perfectly is getting higher and higher.  Only you and your finance team can determine the dollar number that you consider a cut-off, but it’s a good idea to have a maintenance budget for your machines.  If one machine is consistently going over budget, that could be a sign that it is time to upgrade.

2. Downtime

You have to remember that the actual bill for the repairs is not the only money you’re spending when your forklifts are being repaired.  Every day that a truck isn’t being used, it isn’t generating the income that it could be generating for your business.  As machines get older, the maintenance will likely get more complicated, which means that the machine will be out of commission longer.  Just like we feel that you should track how much money you’re spending to repair each of your machines, you should track how much time each forklift is being repaired.  This will give you a better idea of which forklifts may need to retire.

3. Value

Finally, you need to consider how much your forklift is worth.  If it needs major repairs, would it be worth it to repair it, then sell it?  Should you sell it for parts?  Should you trade it in?  You can look around online to see what similar models in similar states are going for, which will help you make an informed decision.

These three considerations, combined, will give you an idea of when the optimal time to retire your forklift is.  If you’ve read the above factors and come to the conclusion that it’s time to take your old machine off the yard or out of the warehouse, surely your next thought will be something like, “Darn!  Now I have to shell out a bunch of cash for a brand new forklift!”  Don’t worry, though.  Buying used is often a great way to cut costs, and still receive a machine in amazing working condition that will last you for years to come!


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