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Forklift Maintenance – Should You Repair or Replace



Forklift Maintenance - Should You Repair or Replace - forklift repair service

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In today’s forklift market, there has been a shift towards more advanced forklift trucks and modern material handling equipment. With these market changes, it is sometimes difficult to know if the old rules regarding replacement or repair still apply. Every situation is different, but there are several basic things to keep in mind when making a decision.

When is it Worth it to Repair a Forklift vs Replacing It?

Deciding whether to repair or replace a forklift is a bit of a different decision process than it would be with a personal vehicle. In many cases, forklifts are more cost-effective to repair than replace.

It is important to get a good idea of the facts and consult with the experts before making any snap decision. Once you know what the issue is, the first step is to price out your parts with a dealer, such as Intella Parts. When you have an idea of the cost of the parts, it can help you to make an educated decision.

Unlike a car’s age which uses the measurement of mileage, a forklift’s age is measured in hours of use. Anything over 10,000 hours is considered “high use”. Depending on the quality of the forklift, it may last anywhere from 10,000 hours to 20,000 hours. Based on an average 8-hour day shift, 5 days a week, this equates to about 5 years.

Based on these numbers, when a forklift hits the 10,000-hour mark, you may want to consider a replacement, or at least start saving or allocating funds for the possible future purchase of a new forklift.

In the meantime, run the numbers. As with a car, the general rule of thumb is that if the cost of forklift repair is going to be greater than the cost of replacing the forklift, or if you are losing many hours of productivity due to breakdowns, it might be time for a new vehicle.

How Much Will a Forklift Cost to Buy?

In general terms, the more weight a forklift can carry, the more it will cost to buy. A simple pallet jack can be purchased for under $10,000. However, according to, in 2021, a standard forklift would cost between $15,000 to $35,000 while a 10,000 lb capacity forklift would cost between $30,000 to $45,000. A more hefty 35,000 lb capacity forklift could cost upwards of approximately $100,000.

According to market research, the global market for forklifts is on an upswing due to an increase in e-commerce. New advancements in technology and increased demand may lead to a further increase in the cost of new forklifts.

Are There Government Standards around Forklift Repair?

In the US, OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – provides standards and regulations on the use of powered industrial trucks, otherwise known as forklifts. They have many checklists and resources available on requirements and industry best practices.

Although forklifts should be checked daily for issues, did you know that June 14 is National Forklift Safety Day? That makes it a great day to add to your annual calendar to think about your company’s forklifts, budget for maintenance and repairs, and to promote awareness around the safe use of forklifts for staff members.

There are many factors involved in whether to repair or replace a forklift. However, the basics still stand. Proper, consistent maintenance can go a long way to extending the life of your forklift and in many cases, a repair can be more cost-effective than replacement. A careful analysis of business factors and a cost/benefit analysis can help you to make a final decision.

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