The safety of any vehicle lifts in your shop should not be taken for granted. It is important for technicians and dealer managers to inspect vehicle lifts regularly.
“Maintaining a safe and efficient repair shop is everyone’s responsibility,” explains a marketing director for a major lift manufacturer. “Technicians should check their lifts every day, and the dealer managers should schedule professional lift inspections annually. Regular inspections help ensure that all the lifts are operating properly. After all, you can’t afford to have a lift out of action.”
In addition to daily operator inspections, the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) recommends that all vehicle lifts be inspected by a qualified lift inspector at least annually.
The owner’s manual will provide inspection instructions for a specific lift. General guidelines also are available from the Lifting It Right safety manual published by ALI, and ANSI/ALI ALOIM:2008, the industry standard that outlines safety requirements for lift operation, inspection and maintenance. Both publications are available from ALI members and their distributors, as well as from ALI’s website, www.autolift.org.
At a minimum, technicians should check daily to determine that: lift controls are working properly; all locks and restraints are working correctly; and there is no deformation or excessive wear of any lift components, including posts, arms, hoses or wiring. Additionally, there should be daily inspections to see that there is no damage or excessive wear on any of the lift contact points, including adapters; and that there are no hydraulic leaks and no cracks or loose concrete around floor anchors, if applicable.
If any of these problems exist, or if the lift makes unusual noises or sudden movements, operates erratically, or creates chips or filings during use, the technician should stop using the lift and report the condition to a supervisor immediately so the lift can be repaired by factory-trained service personnel. Lift inspectors should meet all of the requirements for a “qualified lift inspector” outlined in the ANSI standard. It is desirable that inspectors attend factory training where available, maintain insurance coverage and be able to provide customers with lift maintenance and repair service, as well as genuine replacement parts.