Getting off the ground

Vehicle lifts are as essential to repair shops as screwdrivers, scan tools and socket sets.

• Lift location – Confirm there is space available in the shop before a purchase is made.
• Overhead obstructions – Measure the full dimensions in the location of where the lift will go, to ensure it won’t hit anything when fully extended.
• Defective concrete – Make sure the flooring isn’t cracked or damaged before installation.
• Level floor – Be sure the floor doesn’t have any severe grades or steep climbs.


One issue with lifts includes the ANSI/OSHA standard for safety, as well as the Automotive Lift Institute’s ETL Certification Program. ALI approved the program, developed by an independent laboratory, to set lift standards for safety and performance.

“To consumers, the ETL mark is assurance that the product is compliant with safety standards, having been tested and certified by a third-party organization,” said Kritzer.
With American-made products, and original equipment parts in particular, there’s less of a risk problems will arise because of these standards. If they do, it’s usually easier to obtain the part or service necessary to fix the problem.

Smaller shops sometimes look to less expensive equipment in order to save money. But, this strategy could inadvertently cause long-term problems with faulty or poorly manufactured equipment.
“The value is sometimes a tough thing to sell, especially to the independent repair shop market. It’s a little easier to sell, like a dealership, because a dealer understands the value of good equipment,” said Rylee.

When a shop decides to purchase a lift strictly on price, it may be compromising quality of the product.
“(The shop) might have saved a couple hundred dollars the first day, but what’s it cost to not have an operational lift that day? All of a sudden, that becomes a very expensive lift,” said Perlstein.

By checking out the shops facilities, determining their line of repair work and educating customers on safety and standards, dealers can become a source of information and guidance for their customers when purchasing vehicle lifting equipment.

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