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Top Shop Tips: Lifts

Your lift is critical to the operation and profitability of your business. If it stops working correctly, it’s costing you money.


Let’s take a look at how to troubleshoot some common issues and get your lift back to work. Remember to check your owner’s manual for details about your specific lift.

Lift Won’t Raise

If the lift won’t lift … that’s really going to be a problem! Here are some possible causes and solutions.

Possible Causes

Air in oil: To resolve this issue, check for proper oil level; bleed the cylinders; check if the oil seal is damaged or cocked, and, if so, replace it; and check if the inlet screen is clogged so that you can clean or replace it.


Lowering valve leaks: Flush release the valve to remove possible contamination and replace dirty oil per the owner’s manual. If the handle does not move freely, replace the bracket or handle assembly.

Damaged pump: Replace with a new OEM pump.

Pump won’t prime: Check for proper oil level or flush release the valve to remove possible contamination. You can also check if the oil seal is damaged or cocked and replace it, if necessary. In addition, check the pump mounting bolts to be sure they’re correct per the owner’s manual. Check if the inlet screen is clogged, and clean or replace it. Replace it with a new OEM pump, if needed.


Relief valve leak: Check if the inlet screen is clogged, and clean or replace it. Replace it with a new OEM pump.

Cylinder is binding or leaking internally: Contact customer support.

Lift Lowers Slowly

When the work is done and it’s time to get the car back to the customer, the last thing you need is an unusually slow lift. Here are some potential causes and solutions for a lift that lowers more slowly than normal.

Possible Causes

Release valve clogged: Check the hydraulic fluid level and cleanliness. If it’s contaminated and you’re using automatic transmission fluid, replace and clean the entire system. Clean release valve in solvent and blow out with air. Replace with a new OEM part.


Pressure fitting is too long: Replace fitting with a short-thread lead.

Cylinders are binding: Contact customer support.

If a vehicle becomes stranded in the air after all mechanical locks have been released and you’ve followed all standard operating procedures, immediately stop using the lift, check to make sure all locking positions are secure and contact the factory or factory-approved service center. Many common issues can be prevented by proper maintenance. Keep your lift clean and well-maintained for long service life.

Content contributed by Bendpak.

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