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Safety Tips for Using Vehicle Hoists

17 Jun 2008


Will the vehicles weight shift?

Clear away any equipment before lowering the vehicle

Make sure wheels are chocked

  • Think about the contents of the vehicle you’re working on in terms of balance.  What’s under the cover in the Ute? What’s in the boot of the sedan? Could it be bags of cement for a weekend project?
  • Think about the work you will be doing and how it can shift the weight of the vehicle. Will you be removing heavy components from the vehicle? Should you use vehicle support stands to stabilize the lifted load?
  • Think about the centre of gravity for the specific vehicle you’re working on.  Are you lifting a short wheelbase roadster, a passenger car, a stretch limousine or a plumbing truck?
  • Never assume the lift swing arm restraints will keep the arms from coming out from under the vehicle. If the adapters aren’t placed on a flat surface the horizontal force developed on the adapter pad can be greater than the vertical force applied to it. 
  • Take the adapter design into consideration. Does your hoist have flip-up adapters, screw-type adapters or stacking adapters? Are there features on the adapters that would inhibit lateral movement? Do you need to use extenders?
  • Never use blocks (wood or other materials) between the adapters and the vehicle lift points, even if the vehicle manufacturer recommends them. The use of blocks can only lead to instability.
  • When lowering the vehicle, make sure the area is clear of people, tools and equipment.  This includes toolboxes and oil drain pans that may catch under a vehicle and cause it to fall.  Be aware of the moving parts of the hoist and ensure these are also clear. 
  • If the adapter pads on the lift won’t reach the recommended vehicle lift points, use a different lift. 
  • When using drive-on lifts, make sure wheels are properly chocked. Make sure the lifts front and rear stops are working properly and use the proper chocks provided with the lift. Wood blocks or bricks are not acceptable substitutes. 
  •  The lift manufacturer’s guidelines should be followed for inspection and scheduled maintenance procedures. Technicians should be properly trained to inspect the lift everyday before it is used.