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What is the Economic Life of a Forklift?

Planned Maintenance Plans
Posted: March 28, 2023
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Toyota Forklifts are built to be reliable, but the life of all material handling equipment will eventually come to an end. As an operations manager, you’re in control of when to get new machines into your operation. And as an operator, you know when your forklift is breaking down way too often. When bigger issues arise or when several small issues are keeping your forklift out of use, you may be asking yourself “Is it worth the time and money to put into this old machine?” This question means you’re considering your forklift depreciation rate and economic life.

Key Differences in the Useful Life vs. Economic Life of a Forklift

Every forklift has two lives, its useful life, and its economic life. Useful life is pretty simple. If your forklift cannot be repaired and is no longer used productively, then it has seen the end of its useful forklift life. Economic life is more complicated and requires more planning for both use and material procurement. This information can help you decide if your forklift’s economic life is coming to an end.

Economic life is the time span it makes financial sense to maintain your forklift, rather than replace it. You know your forklift has reached the end of its economic life when the cost of the repairs is more expensive than the cost of purchasing a new one. The stress of having a forklift out of service on both an operation and the people who run it should lead you to have a good understanding of a forklift’s economic life.

Determining Forklift Lifetime

First, make sure you are planning for the replacement of your older forklifts. On average, most forklifts will need to be replaced in around 10,000 hours, but can even be around 8,000 hours or less for those in unique applications. With the help of our economic life of a forklift calculator, you can get insight into when your forklift will need to be replaced. This allows you to easily determine a budget, and make it a more positive experience for you and your company. It can also influence your decision on whether you want to lease or buy your next forklift or forklift fleet. Leasing is sometimes an option that can help you reduce diminishing returns from a forklift with an expired economic life.


If you are putting off getting a new forklift and constantly maintaining your old one, you could be losing a lot of profits while the forklift is experiencing downtime. It’s never too late to start planning to improve the efficiency of your operation, whether you’re looking to acquire a forklift soon, have just done so, or are using an old forklift that might be past its prime. So next time you call your local Toyota Certified Dealer for repairs, make sure you consider checking in on your forklift’s economic life.

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