Vehicle Hoists

Vehicle hoists a come in a range of configurations and are designed to meet the particular needs of the workshop. NEVER exceed the safe working load for the lift and always follow the manufacturer loading and operation instructions.

Vehicle hoists raise whole vehicles off the ground so that a technician can more easily work on those parts that are accessible only towards ground level or from underneath.

There are a number of different designs and they come in a range of sizes and configurations to meet the particular needs of the workshop. For instance, there are hoists that are mobile, hoists that are designed for use where the ceiling height is limited, and some lifting machines can be linked together electronically so they can be used on longer vehicles such as trucks and buses.

The most common types of hoist in general use are known as two-post and four-post hoists:

Four-Post Hoist

A four-post hoist is very easy to use. The vehicle is driven between the four posts so that the wheels are resting on two long and narrow platforms, one on each side of the vehicle. The platforms are then raised up, taking the vehicle with them. The underside of the vehicle is accessible, but it is resting on its wheels, so these cannot be removed while the vehicle is on a four-post hoist.

See Using a Four-Post Hoist

Two-Post Hoist

A two-post hoist requires careful positioning of the padded ends of four short arms so that they are under appropriate lifting points, two on each side of the vehicle. The workshop manual for the vehicle will detail where those lifting points are so that the vehicle can be raised without causing structural damage. A two-post hoist leaves the underside of the vehicle very accessible, and also allows a technician to remove the wheels while the vehicle is raised.

A single post hoist raises the vehicle on a platform supported by a single solid shaft located centrally under the vehicle. This type of hoist is very compact in the workshop and leaves the perimeter of the vehicle very accessible, but the central post obscures part of the underside of the vehicle.

Other types of hoist include: scissor lifts; parallelogram lifts; and mobile or specialty lifts.

See Using a Two-Post Hoist

Safety locks
Every workshop hoist must have a locking device built into it so that the hoist can be secured at the chosen height after the vehicle has been raised. This locking device prevents the vehicle from being accidentally lowered, and holds the vehicle in place, even if the lifting mechanism fails.

Technicians should never physically go under a raised vehicle for any reason unless the safety locking mechanism has been activated.

Ratings and inspections

All hoists are rated for a particular weight and/or type of vehicle, and should never be used for any task other than that recommended by the manufacturer. In particular, a hoist should never be used to lift a vehicle that is heavier than its rated limit.

In most countries, there are regulations that require hoists to be periodically inspected and certified as fit for use – usually annually. Before you use a hoist, check the identification plate for its rating, and make sure that is has a current registration or certification label.