Tech Stuff

Time for a new lift? Check out your options to choose the best one for your shop

 

In-ground lifts provide a reduced footprint, allowing a greater number to be installed in a given space.
<p>In-ground lifts provide a reduced footprint, allowing a greater number to be installed in a given space.</p>

Weber is president of Virginia-based Write Stuff. He is an award-winning freelance automotive and technical writer and photo-grapher with over two decades of journalism experience. He is an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician, and has worked on automobiles, trucks and small engines. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and numerous other automotive trade associations. He has worked as an auto service technician, a shop manager and a regional manager for an automotive service franchise operation.

Whether it is a routine oil change or a complete engine swap, the job is easier, faster, safer and more profitable if the vehicle is suspended on a lift.

Lifts are essential equipment for any professional auto service facility. Lying on your back and rolling under a car on a creeper just doesn’t cut it in today’s fast-paced pro shop. Industry experts note that a bay with a lift has double the productivity of a bay without one.

Like anything else, buying the best lift you can afford may cost more up front, but may pay for itself in less down time and fewer repairs. You should consider the total cost of ownership and the risk of lost productivity and income. Nobody has to tell you it’s all about the bottom line.

You may be in the market for a new lift or a replacement. It may have been a while since you were last in the market for a lift. If so, you probably have questions about the various types of lifts, accessories, installation, training and safety. We’ll try to help you make informed decisions.

Raise the vehicle slightly above the desired work height, then slowly lower to allow the arms to rest on their locking blocks. Never rely on the hydraulic system alone. If a hydraulic failure occurs, even a short drop onto the locks can unsettle the vehicle.
<p>Raise the vehicle slightly above the desired work height, then slowly lower to allow the arms to rest on their locking blocks. Never rely on the hydraulic system alone. If a hydraulic failure occurs, even a short drop onto the locks can unsettle the vehicle.</p>

Before you can begin your search, you have to do your homework. Ask yourself what kinds of vehicles you will be lifting. Many ASP readers will be in the market for a light-duty lift capable of handing passenger cars and light trucks. Also ask yourself what types of work you will be doing on those vehicles. Will it be transmission work, exhaust work, brake service, quick oil changes? List all your needs. Some lifts are better for particular jobs than others.

Now that you have evaluated your lifting needs, evaluate your shop. How much space do you have between service bays? How high is your ceiling? Do you have any pass-through bays where one is located beyond another? Do you own the shop and real estate or do you lease it? For instance, you may not want to install an in-ground lift that you can’t remove when the lease expires.

Before you make a final decision, contact the Automotive Lift Institute (see website www.autolift.org). ALI is a trade association representing nearly 20 lift manufacturers. The ALI website includes links and other contact information for the member manufacturers.

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