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Lifting Gear

Lifting Gear Published: 25th Apr 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Lifting Gear
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Have you ever considered a professional lift to aid repairs plus also solve that age old problem of storage or always considered that sort of thing pie-in-the-sky? A car lift can be used for several different tasks – maintenance and advanced repairs, or cleverly employed to increase your storage and parking space meaning they are not the luxury many perceive them to be.

They’re a long term investment paying for themselves, in saving you labour repair costs as well as providing no cost extra storage (once the lift is raised of course!) doing away with the need for that new garage – and for a lot less outlay! You can purchase simple but highly effective lifts from the likes of Strongman Tools for less than £1500 (see separate feature).

Most designs rely upon hydraulic power to raise the lift but there are also manual types. Many workshops operate a ‘three-phase’ 415 volt electrical supply but there’s also lifts which utilise domestic 240V AC power.

The biggest disadvantage of a standard mid-rise scissor lift is a lack of central access but some ‘twin platform’ types provide access down the middle of the vehicle. A normal two poster provides better access, but the car demands balancing correctly on their arms for safety.

Not all lifts are made to carry a car long term so if you intend using a one for storage purposes you must make this clear when selecting one. Bear in mind also that most lifts need to be secured to the floor and a typical cost for this is £500-£600.

The traditional height problems of many domestic garages mean you have to go for a full length ramp type of lift which raises the vehicle to waist height. This affords a fair degree of underside access although you’ll probably be lying on your back so invest in a car creeper on wheels to aid comfort and safety.

If you can’t go up (or down – ever thought of a garage pit? See our feature elsewhere-ed) then what about a sideways stance? Body rollers are great as they take up hardly any space when in use (and easily dismantle when not) flipping the vehicle on its side by way of being secured on the wheel hubs. Either electricpowered (usually via a dometic drill chuck) or manual, they provide unrivalled access to the underside and many jobs, such as gearbox and clutch changes, can be carried out with ease – less so suspension work – and are cheap at around £500 if you shop around or buy second-hand.

Normal jacks and stands will always have their place. Always opt for the best and biggest you can muster; penny-pinching over sub standard tools here is pure folly and a safety risk. When selecting a trolley jack, go for a stout type which you can also move the vehicle around (say £160 or so) and while on this subject, don’t forget that special moving dollies and platforms are available; these are mainly for workshop use so you won’t find them in the high street.

Best bets

Lifts


A luxury you should afford, if you have the space. Wide choice to suit most budgets plus can free up extra storage potential

Ramps


Today’s professional ramps make an excellent alternative to a lift and good enough for many uses plus doesn’t need to be permanently secured

Jacks & stands


If funds can run to it, there’s some fantastic new ideas on traditional jacks and stands worth looking at and not that expensive either

Top five tips

Quality


There’s wide choice of products on sale, some at temptingly low prices. But quality is paramount for durability and safety so stick to better known names usually found in professional workshops

Old stock


Keep a beady eye out for quality used equipment, typically at auction, perhaps due to a garage or engineering shop closing down. There’s some good deals to be had if still in good order. Some manufacturers buy their old stock to recondition them

Leasing


Professional equipment can be leased to spread the cost, although this is mainly a trade deal. Worth checking out though because it also gives the luxury of trading up to a better type without the buying/selling hassle SHOWS You can always find such equipment on display at major car shows and it’s a great way to see the gear in action; some at special show prices

Maintenance


By law, unlike a professional workshop, you are not obliged to have your equipment periodically examined, but it’s wise to have it done every few years



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