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Whether you run a high-end car dealership or you are a home enthusiast, you will know the massive difference a hoist makes to your productivity. But are you using the right hoist for the job? There are three main styles of hoists available and Loren says they all have different strengths, making them better suited to different roles. .
Two-post hoists are by far the most common vehicle hoist and are best suited to service and repair work for good reasons. They give the most open access to the vehicle and they are typically the most affordable. There are many variations.
Clear floor two-post hoists are the most common on the market today. The only limitation is their height can mean they won’t fit in buildings with low roofs.
Electro-mechanical two-post hoists run a spindle/threaded rod for lifting rather than a hydraulic ram. They are typically more expensive than the hydraulic versions but as they don’t have a solid overhead beam they are great for lower roofed buildings. Also, you can make much finer and smoother minor lift and lowering adjustments than with a hydraulic lift.
The full-length decks of four-post hoists are easy and fast to use and they are great for heavier or unevenly loaded vehicles. They offer a solid platform for transmission servicing or muffler replacement, or in fast service lube bays. They are also an option for wheel alignment with the necessary turning plates. It’s also best to specify your four-post with two rolling jacks so you can lift the vehicle off the decks to work on wheels, brakes, and suspension. Finally, they are great for storage — lift a car and park another underneath it.
These hoists are either ‘frame engaging’ — commonly known as belly lifts — or ‘wheel engaging’, like wheel alignment scissor lifts. As they can be flush-floor mounted, these hoists are ideally suited to workshops with limited space where you effectively drive across them.
Belly lifts are available in mid-height or full-height versions. The mid-height options work for tyre changing, accessory fitting, or for vehicle signage and wrapping.
Without even the two large columns of a two-post hoist they make the space much more usable. However, because of the equipment under the runway you have much less access to the underneath of the car compared to other hoists. They are best suited for quick service bays and for wheel, brake, and suspension work.
Other important factors
Quality over price — always check out the manufacturing safety standards of a hoist. Don’t assume the cheapest option will also be compliant.
After-sales support — what if something goes wrong? Does the supplier hold spare parts and will they be available in the years to come? What is the warranty? What is the reputation of the lift brand and the supplier?
So which hoist type is best for you?
Treadway Equipped has a full range of lifts and prides itself on giving specialist advice in selecting the best fit for each workshop’s needs, in all price ranges.
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