An alternative to vehicle lifts

Depending on the type of vehicle service required, wheel lift systems offer an alternative to vehicle lifts. Wheel lifts are air operated lifting systems designed to be used in pairs to safely lift only one end of a vehicle - from either the front or rear – by cradling the tires and wheels.

In addition, the systems can function as a support stand, allowing open access underneath a vehicle.

“Vehicles today are being built with maximizing fuel economy as a main goal,” explains Todd Michalski, vice president of sales and marketing for Gray Manufacturing Company, which specializes in manufacturing and selling portable lifting equipment for use by professional technicians ( “The lighter weight materials and the maximum use of aerodynamics is now the standard.

“These vehicle designs are not only difficult to lift, but there are fewer safe lifting points on many vehicles. The wheel-engaging lift method provides a safe and reliable lift point for any vehicle.”

What’s more, the use of wheel lifts can save shops time as there is no need to remove aerodynamic fairing and devices from a vehicle, he adds.


Gray Manufacturing introduced its Wheel Lift Systems in the early 1990s. They come in three different capacities. The WL-20 is capable of lifting 20,000 lbs, the WL-30 30,000 lbs and the WL-40 40,000 lbs.

The systems can be used for preventative maintenance; transmission removal and installation; clutch replacement; working on springs, axles, suspensions, wheels and brakes; and any other necessary under-vehicle repair, says Michalski.

Wheel Lift Systems have an adjustable lift height, making them helpful for shops with limited ceiling height, he says. They are fully portable so they can be used inside and outside a shop. Spring-loaded casters enable the wheel lift base to securely rest on the surface to prevent any movement after the lift.