How Often Does A Warehouse Replace Their Forklifts?

Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, there will be times when a warehouse fleet manager will have to consider replacing their forklifts. The prospect of replacing a fleet or certain vehicles within the fleet is not a one-time consideration. It’s possible that a fleet manager will oversee a number of forklift replacements before he’s finished his career with one warehouse.

When it comes to deciding whether it’s time to make the exchange, two factors come into play –- efficiency and safety. Old forklifts that are less efficient than they once were can be a problem for a fleet manager. Such forklifts are slow, constantly in need of repair, which adversely affects maintenance costs, and deteriorates productivity.

Things to consider include maintenance, and the cost of operation.


The secret to a forklift’s longevity is properly maintaining it during its life cycle. If it is not serviced properly or regularly, then it will age quicker.

If the machine spends a lot of time in the repair shop, costs are increased and company profits suffer. Meanwhile, employees will have to wait for the lift to get repaired, affecting labor costs and productivity. Moreover, the possibility of accidents increases. Like a football coach who goes with an old reliable pro too long, a fleet manager can stick with an old, one-time reliable lift beyond what is rational.

Look for warning signs that a lift needs to be replaced as you give it routine maintenance. Some things to keep an eye out for include:

• Signs of cracks or distortions.
• Broken or exposed wires.
• Worn fork Blades.
• Distortion of the fork blades.

Many forklift suppliers suggest that you consult with them when you begin to consider replacing lifts in your fleet. They can counsel you when is the best time to invest in new forklifts.

Cost Of Operation

An experienced fleet manager is aware that some forklifts are done after about a decade while others should be replaced after just five years. If you as a fleet manager are spending more to maintain a lift than it would cost to buy a new one, then it’s time to make the exchange.

Other things to consider when deciding if some lifts in your fleet need to be replaced include:

• The age of the forklift and the brand’s estimated life expectancy.
• The number of hours the lift has been working and the amount of weight it has been hauling over time.
• The frequency and type of maintenance it gets.
• How the forklift is being used.

Is your old forklift ready to be replaced?
(Courtesy: David Valenzuela at

Electric forklifts commonly last longer than gas-powered lifts because the gas lifts require more maintenance. The electric version has fewer parts, making it easier to maintain. The manner, in which the lift is used including operation in severe temperatures, can cause additional issues and assists in aging the machine quicker.

Plan For Forklift Replacements

It is advised that warehouses plan ahead of time for replacing forklifts. An experienced fleet manager probably knows that most forklifts last for about 10,000 to 12,000 hours. However the amount of maintenance and upkeep can affect that number.

It is recommended, therefore, that you actually save for a new forklift. This will allow you to replace it as soon as it is necessary.