￼￼￼￼The decision over which method of vehicle inspection a workshop opts for is dependent on many things and what works for one workshop may not work for another. Liftmaster explores the options.
When choosing a new lift, space will probably be your first consideration, the height of the workshop and any obstructions could be the deciding factor as to whether you go for a lift or install a pit. If you have a low ceiling height and you are able to excavate the floor then a prefabricated pit could be your choice. Prefabricated pits are said to be the best choice for a pit as concrete and block formed pits can prove to be expensive. A prefabricated pit supplied by Liftmaster will be water proof, fully painted and include lighting, electric and air points. Installation time will be dependent upon the size of pit, but in many cases could be installed within a week.
Having a pit now gives you access under the vehicle for inspection but additional equipment will be required if you need to carryout servicing. A pit jack, support bridges, transmission jack and lubrication equipment may all be required.
If a pit is not suitable for your workshop or for the type of work you carry out then you have quite a choice of lifts to consider. Remember one lift probably will not cater for all the various vehicles you need to inspect or work on. Your lift choice will probably be a compromise, so choose carefully and take advice from your supplier.
Two post lifts, more frequently used in car workshops, are now available for lifting up to eight tonnes and are now used commonly in commercial workshops.
Mobile columns give the workshop flexibility as the lifts can be moved around the workshop and also used outside on most hard level surfaces. They are available as three phase cable powered or battery powered wireless lifts. Bear in mind mobile columns raise the vehicle by the wheels, so axle stands will be required if any work needs to be carried out on hubs or brakes.
Four post lifts and scissor lifts give you similar access to the underside of the vehicle as a pit. However you need height in your workshop to get the best use out of them. You will also need a jacking beam to give you wheel free access. These lifts can also be fitted with lighting and airline kits. A new lift to the Liftmaster range is the Pantograph Lift.
This lift is said to give excellent access around and under the vehicle. The Pantograph Lift is a scissor lift but with a ‘dog leg’ scissor at each end of the platform. There are no cross beams between the platforms, giving you a clear walkway. Scissor lifts and pantograph lifts also take up less space than a four post lift and can be recessed into a strip foundation, giving you a flat floor area when the lift is lowered.
The in-ground lift is made up of individual hydraulic lifting units, each one capable of lifting 15 tonnes. A minimum of two lifting units giving a total capacity of 30 tonnes is required but up to five lifting units can be synchronised giving a total lifting capacity of 75 tonnes. The first lifting unit is normally fixed and any others are in long cassettes that allow them to be moved to locate under the remaining axles. In- ground lifts probably give the best possible access under the vehicle, according to the company.
The vehicle can be raised a few millimetres allowing wheels to be removed and easily rolled away or removed with a wheel trolley. The vehicle can then be raised to a comfortable working height. The lifting units can be raised and lowered individually, so if the vehicle is supported by axle stands the lifting units can be used to remove and install components such as axles and transmission units.
The cost of the in-ground lift can be offset against not having to purchase jacking beams and transmission jacks etc. You are also left with a clear floor area when the lift is lowered.
In conclusion there is a wide range of lifts and pits available and careful consideration must be given to your choice. Liftmaster says its experienced sales staff are on hand to provide help and advice on making the right choice. The company can also carry out the six monthly LOLER and PUWER safety inspections that are required for Lifts.