Purchasing a new lift is an investment. Therefore we want to help you be sure you are making the right decision when it comes to this large purchase. Whether you are a shop owner, car collector, or farmer we want to help you be sure to get into the right lift for your situation. We have compiled a list of 5 things to consider before purchasing a 4 post lift.
A few major benefits of four-post vehicle lifts are they are easy to install, use and maintain. The hardest part about four-post lift ownership is the initial decision about which one will suit your needs the best.
Following are five factors to consider when buying a four-post lift.
1. Length. The wheelbases of the vehicles being lifted will play the most important role in four-post lift selection. First, the lift buyer should determine the wheelbase of the longest vehicle he or she is going to service. This number will determine the length of the lift. To accommodate a variety of wheelbase requirements, four-post lift runways can be ordered in many different lengths. When setting up a four-post lift bay, it is important to plan for adequate space in front of and behind the lift, taking the runways and any ramps into account.
2. Capacity. Once it is determined what length will be sufficient for the shop’s wheelbase needs, it is time to consider the weight of the vehicles that will be lifted. Since most vehicles – up to and including Class 3 pickup trucks like the Ford F-350 – weigh less than 14,000 lbs., a 14,000 lb. capacity lift will be sufficient for many facilities. If a shop services work trucks and other heavy fleet vehicles, it might be beneficial to select a four-post lift with 18,000 or 30,000 lbs. of capacity. A four-post lift’s physical footprint and rise time will typically increase with capacity, so the ability to lift heavier vehicles may come with space and efficiency tradeoffs. In general, 40,000-60,000 lb. capacity four-post lifts should be reserved for buses, RVs and Class 8 trucks.
3. Speed. When it comes to a facility’s productivity and profitability, every second counts. The faster the technician can raise the vehicle, the sooner he or she can get to work and complete each job. To further increase productivity, the company suggests a drive-thru model that has ramps on each end. This enables the vehicle to be driven on and off the lift in one direction, preventing congestion on the shop floor.
4. Accessibility. Four-post lifts are available with either an open front or closed front design. An open front design eliminates the crossbeam between the runways at the front of the lift, which makes it easier for technicians to access engine and front suspension components. Increased accessibility and work space can be beneficial, but they are not necessary for all applications. Since open front lifts have wider footprints than closed front lifts, facilities with space restrictions and narrow bays may be better served by a closed front design.
5. Versatility. While length, capacity and configuration selections will be primarily determined by the types of vehicles serviced, other options are available that can greatly increase the versatility of a four-post lift. For instance, if a shop plans on using the lift for wheels-free tire and brake work, rolling jacks are a must-have. Bolt-on retrofit kits are available, making it easy to increase the versatility of four-post lifts already in place.
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