Forklifts & Telehandlers

Telehandlers ... popular worldwide.

Telehandlers ... popular worldwide.

Expert tips on buying used telehandlers

RICHARD SWEATT, territory manager for the Middle East at Euro Auctions*, provides Gulf Construction readers with valuable tips on how to buy a good used telehandler at an auction.

June 2019

Telehandlers are used not just on loading docks and construction sites, but can be increasingly found in agriculture, recycling, civil engineering, manufacturing and a number of other applications.

Combining the capabilities of a forklift with those of a small mobile lifting crane, these rough-terrain, wheeled vehicles have popular appeal worldwide.

So what are the factors that need to be considered when buying a quality second-hand machine?  Here are some top tips:

• History:  Here, there are a number of scenarios: if the machine has had one or two ‘careful’ owners in its life, the hours on a five-year-old machine may not seem excessive. However, it may have had only one owner but a lot of different users over its three-year life span as an ex-rental machine. Yet, don’t be put off by ex-rental machines as they would have been serviced well.

• Pins and bushings: Start the machine, placing the fork carriage on the floor under pressure. Applying slow firm pressure will show any play in the machine. Extend the boom, then place it on the floor again, paying close attention to the movement in between the boom sections. Expect some movement in the pins in older machines and look to see if the pins and bushes have been greased.

• Exterior condition: Check the exterior of the machine for dents, cracks and twists. On a level ground, place the front bucket just off the ground and stand in front of the machine to look for any major twisting in the boom. Extend the boom and do the same again to look for twists. Lastly, check all the windows and doors open and shut nicely.

• Hydraulics: Extend the boom to expose as much of the hydraulic cylinder chrome as possible, looking for burrs and scrapes and leaking hydraulic oil. Check under the machine for oil leaks and signs of repair. Look in the rear of the boom, as any excess oil will indicate an internal hose has failed and the boom sections will have to be split to make a repair. A good owner would repair leaks as a matter of course – another tell-tale sign of how the machine has been looked after.

• Hour meter: Does the hour meter fit in with the condition of the machines? If it looks wrong, look at the filters. They may be marked with the next service hours. If you are not sure, the manufacturer will keep a warranty record with hours.

• Bucket and attachments: Does the machine come with forks, a bucket or other attachments? The bucket should be examined to see if it has a worn cutting edge. Does it have hydraulic lines to service those other attachments?

• Parts and service: Research the make and model of the telehandler you are interested in. Find out who is available in the Middle East to service that machine, and which manufacture is strong in your region. Spare parts are readily available by post but if the machine becomes inoperable, you will need local service.

• Tyres: Tyres are an important part of the overall machine.  The current condition of the tyres should be examined. Look at the obvious thing first: tread depth, slashes and cuts, and do all tyres match. If the vehicle is 4x4, consider tyre wear.

• Price: Years and hours will affect the price, but additional factors come into play when determining the value of used machines, such as: the year, overall condition, service records, and available attachments. Telehandlers have global appeal with smaller models easy to move around the world in shipping containers, meaning at auction you will be competing with more than just a local customer when you start bidding.

• Start the engine: Start the machine, getting it up to operating temperature. Listen for unusual engine noises, breathing and excessive exhaust smoke. Check for oil leaks around the engine and in the bottom of the engine compartment. Examine all fluid levels and coolant levels. Check engine oil for signs of water. Are the filters in good condition? Do they show current dates?

Run the machine checking all controls and gauges. Check all glass, mirrors, door latches, window wipers, external lenses and bulbs. If the cab is enclosed, check the air-conditioning. Make several cycles up and down with the boom. Extending the boom and lower the legs if it has them. Drive it forward and backwards and in all gears checking the brakes and hand brake.


* Euro Auctions is a leading auctioneer of industrial plant and construction and agricultural equipment. It sells thousands of telehandlers every year - readers can visit its website to get an idea of pricing to help them make a good decision. The company’s staff at its auctions, can also provide further advice.

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