Give Your Service Department a Lift


As vehicle manufacturers have broadened their product lines, dealers are finding that they need a different mix of lifts than they once did. New vehicles are bringing with them a host of new lifting requirements. Green initiatives and space considerations also are becoming increasingly important.

So here's a list of things to consider when making your next lift purchase for your dealership.

It’s a Small World

On the opposite end of the vehicle size spectrum, some OEMs are also introducing new micro cars, like Toyota’s Scion IQ and the Chrysler Fiat 500. These vehicles’ short wheelbases can make their pick-up points difficult to reach with traditional lift arms. Therefore, any frame-contact lifts (such as two-post and inground lifts) that will be used to service these vehicles should be equipped with three-stage arms. Three-stage arms offer more extension and retraction than other arms, enabling them to reach a greater range of manufacturer-recommended pick-up points. Drive-on lifts and those equipped with pad contact adapters are additional options. Also keep in mind that not all alignment racks can be used to perform four-wheel alignments on mini cars. Some alignment racks can accommodate wheelbases as tight as 71 ½ inches for four-wheel alignments, while others can only perform on wheelbases of 88 inches or more.

Remember the OEM’s Lift Recommendations

In order to help dealers choose the equipment that will work best with their vehicles, many OEMs recommend or even mandate which lifts dealers should install. Be sure to check their guidelines to avoid improper or problematic hoisting of the vehicle, which will only lead to further complications down the road. In some cases, the OEM has worked with a lift manufacturer during the vehicle design process to determine how to best pick up the vehicle, especially in situations where the lifting points are difficult to reach with standard lifts. Before investing in new equipment, make sure it has been approved by the vehicle manufacturer.

Ground Rules

Inground lifts continue to be the top choice for new car dealers for dozens of reasons.

  • Aesthetics: The shop and dealership look cleaner with the lifts neatly tucked into the ground.
  • Spacesaver: Because 12 inground lifts fit in the same space as 11 surface lifts, they enable dealers to either build a smaller service department or accommodate a larger number of bays, for greater profitability.
  • Ease of use: No obstructions or steel columns get in the way of the technician, allowing for increased accessibility and greater efficiency on a wide range of vehicles.

Recent developments in inground lifts allow for even greater versatility. The latest models have been redesigned to provide greater drive-through clearance, improved lift-to-vehicle clearance, more undercar access and expanded three-stage arm reach. New models are available with interchangeable adapters, making it easy to use the lift to service a wider variety of vehicles. New drive-over lift pads are perfect for quick service applications. Some inground lifts can even be equipped as drive-on models. A few things to consider when comparing inground lifts:

  • Safety Features. Does the lift have a lower-to-locks function so your techs have the assurance that the lift (and the vehicle it’s holding) is resting on its mechanical locks?
  • Longevity. What features has the manufacturer incorporated to ensure
    long service life?
  • Serviceability. Can the lift be easily serviced from ground level, with no auxiliary equipment, or does it have to be pulled out of the ground?
  • Additional Needs. Does the lift require additional air compressors or other equipment to function properly?

Keeping up the Pace to Greater Profitability
The pace of change in the auto industry is accelerating. Dealers and service managers need to make sure that their service department capabilities keep up with what is happening on the showroom floor. New advances in lift technology can greatly improve the shop environment. Providing technicians with safe, efficient, flexible and easy-to-use lifts can dramatically improve shop economics while also improving customer service and satisfaction. Sometimes the best way to lift your business can be just above your head or right at your feet.


Lift Buyer's Guide