Speeding truck maintenance
with vehicle lifts
Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
Vehicle lifts are laborsaving devices designed to safely raise and hold up vehicles to facilitate maintenance. They allow technicians to work underneath the vehicle while standing up, an ergonomic advance over lying under a vehicle on a creeper.
When compared to using floor jacks, jack stands, creepers, and pits, vehicle lifts offer a number of advantages. Among them: increased productivity and profitability, improved worker safety, and better employee recruitment and retention.
In fact, productivity studies conducted by fleets and truck maintenance providers have found that installing a single vehicle lift in the shop can save upwards of $75,000 in terms of annual profits or reduction in labor overhead.
“The biggest factors affecting vehicle technician productivity are access and clearance,” says Roger Perlstein, heavy duty sales manager for Rotary Lift, a leading manufacturer of vehicle lifts based in Madison, Indiana. “When technicians have room to work and convenient, comfortable access to components and serviceable parts, they can get more done in less time.”
Vehicle lifts provide ergonomic working heights, letting technicians operate in a natural position, with convenient access to tools and equipment and less strain on their bodies. Lighting is also improved. All of which can help decrease accidents and injuries suffered by workers, resulting in healthier employees and fewer lost work hours, Perlstein says.
Another benefit of vehicle lifts is a reduction in expensive roadside service. “When a technician can easily walk around under a vehicle and see any components that are leaking, binding, or showing wear, the problems can get fixed in the shop,” explains Perlstein. “But when it's more difficult to see those issues, perhaps because the technician is on a creeper or the lighting is bad, then they're more likely to be missed, leading to a failure taking place on the highway.”
Moreover, he says vehicle lifts can even help companies recruit and retain trained diesel service technicians, of which there is a growing shortage.
Along with higher pay, better benefits, and more vacation time, many companies are now touting better working conditions as a way to attract qualified technicians. Studies show that given the choice, most technicians would prefer to work on a vehicle standing up with the vehicle raised to a comfortable position, rather than having to slide under the vehicle on a creeper.
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