Using a Four-Post Hoist

Four-post hoists allow the vehicle to be positioned and lifted easily. They are often used to lift a vehicle for wheel alignment services and brake repairs. The objective of this procedure is to show you how to lift a vehicle using a four-post hoist.

Part 1. Preparation and safety


  • Lift a vehicle using a four-post hoist.

Using a four-post hoist

Personal safety

Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:

  • Work clothing - such as coveralls and steel-capped footwear
  • Eye protection - such as safety glasses and face masks
  • Ear protection - such as earmuffs and earplugs
  • Hand protection - such as rubber gloves and barrier cream
  • Respiratory equipment - such as face masks and valved respirators

If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.

Safety check

  • Make sure that you understand and observe all legislative and personal safety procedures when carrying out the following tasks. If you are unsure of what these are, ask your supervisor.

Points to note

  • Four-post hoists allow the vehicle to be positioned and lifted easily. They are often used to lift a vehicle for wheel alignment services and brake repairs.
  • Some four-post hoists are fitted with attachments that allow the vehicle to be raised in a "wheels free" position. Refer to the operations manual for the correct operational procedure.
  • The lifting capacity of the hoist you are using must be rated for a vehicle weight greater than that of the vehicle you are intending to lift. Check the hoist rating and compare it with the weight given in the vehicle service manual.
  • Make sure you know exactly how to operate the hoist, taking particular care to know exactly where the stop control is so that you can use it quickly in an emergency. Refer to the operations manual for the correct procedure for stopping the hoist.
  • Make sure that there will be adequate headroom above the vehicle after it has been raised. Taller vehicles, especially those fitted with roof racks, may need more headroom than you think.
  • The hoist should be raised so you can comfortably work under it. Lock the lift in place before moving underneath or working on the vehicle.

Part 2: Step-by-step instruction

  1. Read instructions
    Read the safety instructions that are provided with the hoist. They should be displayed near the lift operating controls. Check the hydraulic system for any leaks, and the steel cables for any sign of damage. Make sure there are no oil spills around or under the hoist.
  2. Prepare the hoist
    The hoist should be completely down before you attempt to drive the car on to it. The platform may have built in wheel restraints, or attachments for wheel alignment equipment. A set of bars is mounted at the front of each ramp to prevent the vehicle from being driven off the front of the hoist. At the back there will be ramps that allow the vehicle to be driven up and on to the hoist. These will lift up when the hoist is raised and prevent the vehicle from rolling off.
  3. Position the vehicle
    Drive the vehicle slowly and carefully onto the hoist and position it centrally. If the vehicle has front wheel restraints, drive the vehicle forward until the wheels lock into the brackets. Get out of the vehicle and check that it’s correctly positioned on the platform. If it is, apply the emergency brake and select first gear or park.
  4. Raise the vehicle
    Make sure the hoist area is clear. Move to the controls and lift the vehicle until it’s reached the appropriate work height.
  5. Lock safety device
    Most 4 -post hoists will have an automatic locking mechanism. If the hoist has a manual safety mechanism you should lock it in place to engage whatever safety device is used.
  6. Lower the vehicle
    Before the hoist is lowered, remove all tools and equipment from the hoist area, and wipe up any spilled fluids. Remove the safety device or unlock the lift before lowering it. Make sure that nobody is near the vehicle or the hoist. Once the hoist is fully lowered you can drive the vehicle off the hoist.