The Right Lift: How lifts contribute to shop productivity

Click to download the original article as PDF

By Steve Perlstein

The type of lift chosen for a shop can dramatically impact the facility’s productivity level. For example, of the different types of mobile lifts, the faster raising and lowering hydraulic lifts—as opposed to the slower operating electromechanical lifts—can add 54 man-hours of productive repair time per year to your facility based on the one minute up/one minute down cycle time vs lifts that take three minutes up and three minutes down (54 hours assumes you raise four vehicles per day). If this is extended over five years, that’s an extra 270 hours of productive repair time.

While the previous example is specific to mobile lifts, the most common lift type is the above ground two-post frame engaging lift for light vehicles and mid-size trucks. Each time the lift is raised, the shop technicians must bend down and properly position the four individual swing arms and the sliders at the proper lifting points of the vehicle. But, what if you didn’t have to position the swing arms?

Some lift companies offer a lifting pad instead of four swing arms, since the pads speed up certain routine maintenance jobs, such as oil changes. However, these pads are also limited, as they get in the tech’s way on services. Yet, there is a solution.


The Mohawk Speedlane, unlike pad-type two-post lifts, gives shops the versatility of using the lift as a normal swing arm lift or a drive on pad lift for tire or brake service. Like a pad-type two-post lift, the Speedlane can improve turnaround time without limiting what services can be performed.

Two Post Automotive Lifts
Two-post lifts are the most common lift type, servicing small and mid-size vehicles.

Doing exhaust work and want the exhaust system to “hang” at ride level? Of course, yet a swing arm lift doesn’t allow this due to the hanging suspension. Tire engaging wheel adaptors can be added to the ends of the swing arms to speed arm placement and raise vehicles faster.

Two-post lifts are the most common lift type, servicing small and mid-size vehicles. Yet, as municipalities and landscaping fleets need to also service turf maintenance equipment, some two-post lifts have the versatility to service light vehicles, trucks, and turf equipment. Ask the manufacturer what lift options and accessories are available to assist in servicing different types of vehicles and equipment.

Mobile lifts offer the versatility of not having to dedicate a bay to a fixed position lift. When using high reach jack stands, the columns can be moved to another bay with the first vehicle remaining in the air for service. The disadvantages of mobile lifts is the few minute setup time to position columns at each tire, yet they offer the flexibility to service light vehicles, raise vehicles front to rear or, used in pairs, to service forklifts.

Having the lift manufacturer do a site survey in advance of purchasing can help to determine where the lifts should be located based on traffic flow and proximity to tool storage. The survey also ensures there is adequate concrete to safely bolt down the specific lift model, proper electricity for operation, and sufficient ceiling height to fully lift all vehicles.

Request a site survey to avoid a four-post lift with 30-ft tracks being delivered when there is only room for 25 ft. Upon completion of the site survey, one should be confident that the type of lift they have decided on will successfully work in his or her shop.


Mobile Column Vehicle Lifts
Have the lift manufacturer do a site survey in advance of purchasing to help determine where the lift should be located and ensure there is adequate concrete to safely bolt down the specific lift model.

To justify a lift purchase, the 94th Army Command needed to purchase lifts for 10 of their facilities in the northeast. The person in charge compared the time savings between using floor jacks, jack stands, and creepers vs two-post lifts. The determination was that based upon the number of vehicles being serviced, the lift purchase equated to a $140,000 cost saving in just the first year. There was a 40 minute time savings per vehicle when using a two-post lift vs jacks and creepers.

Shop efficiency is all about getting the repair job in and out of your garage faster to increase the percentage of vehicles on the road and working. Since “time is money,” keeping your fleet on the street will do the same for your operation.

Steve Perlstein has been with Mohawk Lifts for 35 years and brings the experience of growing up in the family garage.

Mohawk Awarded NASPO ValuePoint Contract for Lifts & Garage Associated Equipment

Amsterdam, NY (February 21, 2017) – Mohawk Resources Ltd. has been awarded with NASPO ValuePoint contract #05316 for vehicle lifts and garage associated equipment. In addition to the ability to purchase two post, four post, mobile column and parallelogram lifts off the contract, government agencies can also purchase Hunter’s wheel service equipment under Mohawk’s contract.

This contract was competitively bid and awarded, giving government agencies the ability to issue purchase orders directly, without the need to constantly go out to bid every time for each piece of equipment.

Steve Perlstein, Government Sales Manager at Mohawk Lifts, spoke of Mohawk’s awarded contract saying, “Mohawk has been involved as an original vendor to the WA state contract, which was used by over 34 states.”

The contract is effective through February 10, 2019 at which point there is the option for a three year extension.

About NASPO ValuePoint

NASPO ValuePoint is a unified, nationally focused cooperative aggregating the demand of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the organized US territories, their political subdivisions and other eligible entities spurring best value, innovation and competition in the marketplace.

Mohawk Can Help you Visualize Your Maintenance Facility in 3D

Using Ecdesign software, Mohawk can assist you with planning a new shop layout, or help you to optimize your current space. Based upon your requirements, a 3D layout can be created to help you visualize your facility.

In addition to lifts for service bays, the layout can include work benches, exhaust reels as well as oil and lube equipment. This is especially beneficial if you’re in the planning stages and are still determining the most productive shop setup. Large lifts, including four posts and parallelograms, require more shop space than two posts. Seeing a layout before the lift is purchased helps determine if the lift will adequately fit in the space.

Mohawk Announces Turf Kit with Dual Trough Accessory

Amsterdam, NY (September 14, 2016) – Mohawk  Lifts announces the release of a new accessory to service cars, trucks, zero turn mowers, turf equipment and four wheelers. The turf kit with dual trough has a 6,000 lb. capacity and can be used on Mohawk 10,000 through 18,000 pound two post lifts, including those lift models with optional three stage arms. The dual trough gives versatility to shops and facilities that need to service cars, pick-up trucks, as well as turf equipment without having to dedicate a service bay and lift to just one type of equipment. For additional information, contact Mohawk at 800-833-2006.

6 Principles for Safe Lifting

System I Two Post Vehicle Hoist SafetyYou’d never drive a vehicle that hadn’t had the brakes inspected in years. You would never use a jack without also using a jack stand. These basic and common sense principles apply to vehicle lifts in your maintenance facility and daily inspections are part of your job. The vehicle lifts that are supporting the buses being repaired in your garage can represent one of the most productive tools in your shop, or one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment for your techs if not used and maintained properly.

Whether you’re using two-post lifts for cars and light trucks, parallelograms, mobile column lifts, drive-on lifts or in-ground lifts for servicing vehicles, you should follow these basic safety rules.

1. Buy Certified Lifts

There’s only one nationally recognized safety standard for vehicle lifts: ANSI-ALI/ALCTV, administered by the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI/ETL). ETL testing labs verify that a manufacturer’s lifts meet the national safety standard for vehicles lift.

The Automotive Lift Institute working through ETL testing procedures involves rigorous third-party testing verifying lift manufacturers comply with current ANSI requirements for lifts as defined by the International Building Code, which mandates that lifts be third party tested to meet these safety requirements. To verify equipment status, look for the gold ALI/ETL verification tag next to the lift’s controls.

2. Buy Certified Lift Options

A commonly overlooked mistake is using an uncertified option or accessory on a certified lift. Doing so will void the lift’s certification. It’s simple: If the optional accessory isn’t certified then the lift isn’t certified.

ALI/ETL standards (&ANSI standards & building code standards), require all accessories, such as drive-on lifts, rolling jacks and truck adaptors, to be certified. Although certification is good for the life of the lift, older models may not meet the most current standards.

Complying with American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) requirements is the key to keeping vehicle lifts at the highest possible safety level, sending your technicians home safely after each shift, and avoiding write-ups or hefty noncompliance fines.

3. No locks are liability

You’ve heard the phrase “never use a jack without a jack stand.” The same is true for vehicle lifts. Always raise the vehicle and then lower it onto the lift’s mechanical locks as required by ANSI. Refer to ALI safety manual Lifting it Right or the manufacturer’s operating instructions for detailed information.

When you’re walking through the shop, make sure techs are using the proper procedure. An easy way to visually verify the locks are being used is to include a weight gauge (a pressure gauge calibrated to the lift’s lifting capacity) on your lift. A weight gauge can also be a great diagnostic tool.

If using an old in-ground lift that doesn’t have locks, it’s time for a new lift. While some in-ground lifts can be retrofitted with an aftermarket lock, it’s not the most cost-effective option, and your lift will still not be ALI/ETL certified to be compliant with ANSI rules and building code laws.

4. It’s easy to overload

Manufacturers of the most common two-post side by side lifts mandate that none of the four swing arms be overloaded. For example: Some may think that a 15,000 pound rated lift that’s loaded with a 14,200 pound ambulance isn’t near capacity. They’re wrong!

This ambulance has a front axle weight of 4,000 pounds and the back axle weighs 9,200 pounds. The per-arm capacity of 15,000 pound-rated lifts is 3,750 pounds. If the heavier rear end of a vehicle weighs 9,200 pounds, each swing arm needs a minimum arm capacity of 4,600 pounds for safe lifting. Multiply this example by four swing arms and the minimum capacity of your lift for this vehicle should be 18,400 pounds.

It’s easy to see why two-post side-by-side lifts are often overloaded, even though the total lift capacity hasn’t been exceeded.

5. Inspect Equipment Annually

ANSI/Automotive Lift Institute ALCTV Standard for Automotive Lifts-“Safety Requirements for Construction, Testing, and Validation” requires technicians to perform a daily operational safety check. The code also requires an annual inspection by a qualified individual. Failing to do so exposes your shop to liabilities that could be associated with an injury if an accident were to happen.

6. Training and Testing

Like any product, lifts vary in style, type, capability, longevity and warranty. ANSI requires technicians to be trained annually in proper lift use. Contact the Automotive Lift Institute, your lift supplier, or a local lift inspection company for a copy of the 20-minute Lifting it Right video hosted by legendary NASCAR driver Richard “The King” Petty and his son, Kyle. Require your technicians to watch the video and pass a written test on lift operation and safety.

Customer Testimonial

To Whom it May Concern,

My name is David and I purchased a new Mohawk System Iift, and had it install on 4/22/13. I wanted to share my experience. I started by searching the Internet to see available lifts. There are several and took some time to sort through. Then looked into getting a lift delivered, and install it myself. After considering this option for a moment. I decided with Mohawk. For safety reasons I wanted it installed, to insure proper operation. So, after researching I found in the end, safety and quality were my priority. Not price. So much. After reading pros and cons of lifts. I decided on Mohawk for sure.

Why risk safety and would you risk your 50,000 dollar vehicle to some cheap alternative?

I called “Mohawk Lifts Southwest” and spoke with Mike. He gladly answered all my questions and insisted if I had any more questions he would be glad to discuss them. So after considering options and installation. I called Mike back and purchased my awesome lift. So we discussed install dates and set the day !

Well the day arrived and I was stoked ! Mike and Adam showed up on time with all the right stuff and started the install. These guys are machines! They did a fantastic install in front of my eyes. There is NO WAY I would have tackled this job.

Mike is very professional, informative, and is easy to talk with. Adam is a great worker with a great attitude. Would love to have Adam as a Service Tech in my business. But is better served in what he does, lucky you.

After the lift was up and operational (4 to 5 hours with me asking every question I could, sorry guys.) Adam thoroughly explained every aspect of operation and control of lift. Pointing out your outstanding safety features and quality of construction and most of all, all American made. (YES)!

So after all was done I vowed to see them at the Nevada SEMA show this year 2013!

I can’t say Thanks enough for having such a great job done. My lift is awesome and I would buy nothing else.

Thanks again for a high quality product and American craftsmanship. I look forward to using my lift many years!!!!! I highly recommend anyone buying a lift in Arizona to call Mike at “Mohawk Lifts Southwest”

Thank You,

David C. Arizona

Read additional customer testimonials >>

Mohawk Lifts Launches Mobile Website

Mohawk-MobileThe mobile websites provides customers with the same information as the regular Mohawk Lifts site and has been optimized for browsing without a mouse and keyboard.

“Analytics show that traffic coming from mobile devices is increasing”, says Steve Perlstein, Sales Manager at Mohawk Lifts. “Creating the mobile site will allow access to Mohawk’s products at night and on weekends, when people may not be in front of a computer.”

The mobile site will automatically display when is accessed from a mobile device.

Mohawk Lifts Recognized as Top Small Business

Steve Perlstein, President of Mohawk Resources, Inc., has been nominated by the National Small Business Administration as a finalist for the 2013 Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Mohawk was selected based upon growth in number of employees, increase in sales, positive financial performance, and economic importance to community involvement.