Four common reasons why your mobile column lifts aren’t working

column lifts aren't working

Vehicle lifts can be one of the most important investments you can make for your workshop so if you’re wondering why your mobile column lifts aren’t working or causing you a problem or two, have you thought it might not be the actual lifts causing the issue?

Are your staff trained?

Training provides operatives with the key learning and understanding for them to be able to carry out their responsibilities safely and efficiently. A busy workshop can be a dangerous place if equipment is not operated safely in accordance with manufacturer instructions, it is important that operators are properly trained to reduce the risk of personal injury to themselves or others working nearby.

TotalKare provide a competency training course which covers in depth the legislation related to mobile column lifts and the safe use of the equipment. Training should be refreshed every three years to ensure all workshop staff remain competent in the use of vehicle lifts as well as ensuring any new team members have the same training as their peers.

Are your lifts serviced regularly?

We all know that if you don’t service your car regularly, sooner or later something will go wrong. It’s the same with lifts, and at TotalKare we recommend lifts are inspected and serviced twice a year. Regular inspections by a certified engineer will ensure your lifts are working properly and safely, saving expensive repair costs in the long term.

It is essential that mobile vehicles lifts undergo maintenance checks least every six months on the grounds that the improper use of this type of equipment represents a high risk to personnel as:

  • Work is generally carried out under a suspended load, and therefore is classified as the same as a man riding lift (HSE also recommends 803/69)
  • Mobile vehicle Lifts are – obviously – mobile and therefore at greater risk to damage from moving around workshops and by collision from moving vehicles
  • Mobile vehicle lifts are susceptible to misuse by operators outside their design which can lead to excessive wear and tear

How often should vehicle lifts be inspected?

To further ensure the safe working of column lifts in your workshop, they should be regularly examined thoroughly by a competent person who should issue, under LOLER regulations, a ‘Report of Thorough Examination’. It is recommended that this is done every six months. Although this should identify problems, it is no substitute for regular in-house checks and maintenance (as required by PUWER), much in the same way that you shouldn’t rely on an MOT to keep your vehicle roadworthy.

What vehicles are you lifting?

It’s important to stay within the safe working load limits as mobile column lifts do not spread the load as evenly as fixed post lifts, so ensuring no axle is overloaded and that the safe working capacity is not exceeded is crucial. Lifting vehicles with weight exceeding a column’s lifting capacity can seriously damage the lift – not to mention the vehicle or the lift operator.

Always consider the load distribution and the axle weights of the vehicles being lifted to ensure you are using the right number of columns to distribute the weight. When lifting vehicles, the front and rear axles must be used to distribute the weight of the vehicle. This ensures no side load is applied to any column.

The best way to picture this is to imagine a seesaw. The centre of balance on a seesaw is located in the middle, if the centre of balance was to move, this would alter the force needed to balance the weight. It is possible to overload an electro-mechanical lift, resulting in premature wear to the load unit resulting in costly repair bills.

With vehicle lifts being a large investment for many workshops it is good practise to ensure that your lifts are kept in the best condition they can be so you get the maximum usage out of them, much like a car the better condition the greater the longevity of your lifts will be.