Ensuring vehicle lifts are performing at optimal performance and safety levels help guarantee fleets spend less time in the shop and more time on the street. Vehicle lifts must be maintained properly so techs can leave safely after each shift. Following these tips and best practices is the key to optimum performance and safety at all times.
Each lift type has efficiencies that provide increased productivity and performance. For example, there are two types of mobile column lifts: screw drive or hydraulic drive. While a screw-drive lift takes six minutes for a full up/down cycle, hydraulic mobiles take as little as two minutes for a full cycle. If a technician raises and lowers the lift four times per day over 200 days, there is a 54-hour time savings by using the hydraulic mobile lift. If the internal overhead shop rate is $75 per hour, the difference in these two types of lifts is $4,050 per year. Now multiply this over five years. What would an extra $20,250 mean to your department or an extra 270 hours of productive repair time for your techs?
To safely lift a vehicle using mobile columns, check to be sure the forks are fully supporting both rear tires. If not, the rear tire’s maximum load rating is being dangerously over-pressurized. Some manufacturers have 22-inch long forks available to accommodate floatation or dual rear tires, while others only offer 12 Inches. Also make sure the column capacity and each lifting point can accommodate the vehicle being lifted.
Regardless of which type of mobile column is being used, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. Additional resources for safe lifting can also be found on the Automotive Lift Institute’s (ALI) website (www.autolift.org), including the Periodic Lift Inspection Checklist. The checklist goes through all lift types and what to check, such as examining all accessible structural components and electrical wiring. The ALI site is also the place to locate a Certified Lift Inspector by zip code. According to ALI president R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, “the Inspector Program provides third-party assurance that an ALI Certified Lift Inspector has been tested and proven competent to thoroughly inspect an installed vehicle lift and report on its suitability for continued use and/or the need for maintenance or repair.”
A vehicle lift helps your fleet vehicles get back onto the street, so make sure it is being inspected and properly maintained per the manufacturer’s recommendations and is certified to the ANSI/ALI ALCTV-2011 standard (along with any options that are also being used on the lift). Making sure your lift is functioning properly and safely will not only protect techs but will extend the life of the lift and prevent downtime.