Determining Scrap Value for Your Old Forklift

what to do with your used forkliftAt some point, every forklift – even the “old reliable” ones – must ride off into the sunset. Responsibly recycling your forklift – including proper forklift disposal is a smart way to get the best value for your investment. Unlike some assets, an old forklift cannot simply be set to the curb for the garbage truck to pick up.

According to a recent article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive, there are certain things you can do to make sure your lift enjoys a smooth retirement – no matter your ultimate plans for the machine.

And remember, there is one thing you can do to ensure your company is 100% OSHA compliant with the latest forklift training and certification: sign up with FLC today! 


First things first, it’s helpful to know when it is truly time to retire your old forklift and make the most of your money and efforts. There’s no standard formula to know it’s time to retire your lift, but you can look at the functional life versus economic life to get a good idea.

Here’s a helpful guideline to consider when you’re not sure it’s time to retire your old forklift: When the cost of repairs for your forklift are becoming more frequent than you’d like and are cutting in on the profits you make using the forklift, the cost to run it is beginning to outweigh the value it provides. In other words, your old forklift has reached the point of no return, and it’s time to start thinking about your forklift’s scrap value

The hours of operation of a forklift will help determine its economic life. This type of determination also includes how heavily it’s used, what condition it’s in, what conditions it’s used in, how well it’s been maintained, and more. When the hour meter of your forklift nears 10,000, you’ll want to start thinking about retiring your used forklift and finding a replacement.


Once your forklift becomes costlier to operate than it is actually worth, it’s time to consider the retirement option. This checklist will help you get the optimum value for your forklift:

Trade it in

what to do with an old forklift

If your lift still has some life left, try trading it in for a newer lift. Even if your lift isn’t worth using anymore after an accident or safety incident, resourceful buyers can always use spare parts. Try a private listing or go with a third-party dealer. But just remember, the trade-in value of your used forklift drops as your maintenance costs rise, so if you’re wanting to trade it in, it is best to do so before your forklift fully depreciates.

Sell it

Once again, if you want to sell your forklift and get something out of it, you’ll want to do so before your forklift has completely run itself down. This should ideally be before the 10,000-hour meter mark and before it requires major repairs. If you decide to sell your lift, you can put out an ad to sell it directly yourself, or you can list it with a third-party who can connect you with interested buyers. This is a smart option for any forklift that’s had attachments or components added during its lifetime.

Reassign the lift for lighter duty

Not quite ready for the forklift disposal route? This might be the best option. Let’s say your forklift still has use, but can’t perform as well as it once did. No problem – just move it to another part of your operation for less-stressful work. You could use it for small loads and other light-duty tasks. If you’re not yet ready to sell or trade it in, this is a good idea when you don’t want to run up your forklift’s heavy usage hours. However, if you get to the point when your forklift’s cost to run surpass the value of keeping it in use, you will want to either sell or trade it in.

Scrap it

Depending on your local scrap market, it might be worthwhile to consider scrapping your used forklift. While this might seem like a “last resort” option for your old forklift, there’s actually a good chance you’ll get some value in return for scrapping. While the overall condition of your lift might not be great, certain parts and components can bring back some money – even if it’s been involved in a tip-over or other accident. Usable parts can be quickly applied to a newer lift. Or, some parts might require a touch-up, or a little TLC. These parts are refurbished and distributed on the used parts market. Forklift scrap value varies; check with some local companies that specialize in forklift refurbishment or scrapping to get the best bang for your buck. Another benefit? Scrapping ensures as little as possible of your forklift ends up as landfill – it’s a responsible form of forklift disposal.

Keep it

Hey, some of those old forklifts have sentimental value. Sometimes a tune-up or parts replacement can make all the difference. This is an option for older, well-maintained lifts.


Want to get the most value out of your old forklift? Get the proper training to ensure your operators and maintenance personnel know everything required to get the most miles and hours out of your equipment. FLC’s training is helpful for not just safety and compliance; our customers also report maximum usage out of their powered industrial trucks. 

Understanding how to perform daily equipment inspections and knowing when any maintenance or repairs are needed is also covered in high-quality forklift training, which will certainly help you avoid serious repairs before they come up and keep your forklift running efficiently.  You may find that making the investment into forklift training saves you money and loss of productivity over time. offers the best possible forklift training online, available in 3 convenient programs: the Forklift Training Kit, Train a Trainer class, and Bundle Training Package. Each class features OSHA-compliant training content, developed by a dedicated & professional staff. Our courses are made for busy workers and supervisors, just like you. Best of all, you can access our OSHA-ready training courses anytime, all the time. If you’re online, it’s easy to get your certification papers! For more information, please visit our contact page or give us a call at (888) 278-8896.

Every older, used forklift will retire at one point or another. Hopefully, this article will help you retire your forklift the smart, responsible way and optimize forklift scrap value. Thanks for checking out the FLC blog!

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