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Ensuring Your Shop's Lifts Are Safe

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Oct. 23, 2019—Purchasing or acquiring a shop might also put an operator in the possession of a brand new, pre-owned automotive lift. 

They’re so ingrained into the infrastructure of a shop that it’s likely to stay on site through different ownerships. How does an operator know if it’s up to snuff?

First, check for the gold certification labels from the Automotive Lift Institute. The organization has been creating and monitoring standards among lift manufacturers since the end of World War II. If it doesn’t have the label, it might violate city code.

“If you have a lift that’s been installed in a commercial environment and it doesn't carry an ALI label, you need to check with your building code official,” says ALI President Bob O’Gorman.

Second Set of Eyes

Still, the ALI has documented cases of fake certification labels. To have the equipment checked, O’Gorman says a certified inspector can do the job. It might even be a good idea to have the inspection done while researching a potential shop acquisition.

“We would highly support that for anybody who is in the process of buying a shop, leasing a shop and having a lift there,” O'Gorman says.

Buyer Beware

The secondary market for lifts can be a bit difficult to navigate. O’Gorman says that if a lift is for sale, unattached to a shop, it’s important to look closely at the product.

“I’m not going to say that somebody can’t find a good deal on a used lift.,” O’Gorman says. “But in most cases, lifts are used like tools. When a lift is taken out of a shop to put a (new) lift in, there are some questions that you should be asking.”

In this case, an inspector can give a preliminary look at a lift. But O’Gorman says that full inspections are best performed when a lift is installed at the shop.

ALI's database of certified lift manufacturers and inspectors are on its website.

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