Maintenance Checklist for Car Lifts

A reliable auto lift you can count on is an important part of your garage or auto repair shop. If your lift breaks down, you’re either stuck unable to lift a car for service or, worse, stuck with a car up on the lift that you can’t get down for a customer! To ensure your lift is always ready to use, our team here at North American Auto Equipment have put together this helpful auto lift maintenance guide.

We have decades of experience as a leading supplier of equipment for automotive service and repairs. In our experience, regular and systematic auto lift repair is the best way to protect your investment and guarantee years of reliable lift use.

While a breakdown can occur with any lift, when you perform regular inspection and maintenance you can often detect problems before they become serious and require costly repair or replacement.

Follow these points for a more reliable and long-lasting auto lift that’s less likely to break down.

Your Auto Lift Maintenance Checklist

When our clients ask us about regular auto lift maintenance, we always suggest breaking it down into daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Get into a routine of following your checklist at the same time every time — this helps it become a habit and you’re less likely to forget important maintenance items.

You can also print this list off or create your own checklist that you can tick off as you go. You may even create a small table to include the date, technician performing the maintenance and any observations or repairs made. This kind of tracking sheet allows you to look back and verify that all maintenance was performed as planned.

Daily Maintenance Tasks

The most important daily maintenance task should be performed every morning. We suggest the following daily maintenance checklist, which can be performed first thing Monday morning, for example:

  • Visual inspection of all moving parts.
  • Check safety lock audibly and visually while in operation
  • Check hydraulic connections, and hoses for leakage.
  • Test of up and down controls and emergency stop.
  • Check cables connections- bends, cracks and looseness
  • Movement of the lift arms (pivot/extension).
  • Condition of electric connections and power cord.

When you start your morning with this quick daily auto lift checklist, you can be sure that your lift is ready to put to work when you need it. If you have multiple operators who use your lift, alternate who performs the maintenance so everyone is aware of the importance of regular auto lift maintenance.

It doesn’t have to take a long time, so get in the habit of firing up the coffee maker before performing your daily inspection and maintenance. By the time you’re done, your coffee is ready and you can get started on your work for the day knowing your lift is ready to go.

Weekly Maintenance Tasks

Many of our customers dedicate 15-20 minutes every Friday afternoon to take care of weekly auto lift maintenance. If you perform these tasks on a regular basis, your lift is less likely to suffer a breakdown:

  • Wipe down your lift and remove all dirt and excess grease.
  • Lubricate all rollers and pivot points.
  • Check anchor bolts torque to 130 ft-lbs. for the 3/4” anchor bolts. Do not use impact wrench.
  • Check floor for stress cracks near anchor bolts.
  • Check hydraulic oil level.
  • Check and tighten bolts and nuts, and screws.
  • Check cylinder for free movement.
  • Test the full range of your lift (full stop, top and bottom).
  • Carefully inspect your cables and lifting mechanisms.

You can pick the day that suits you best. Do you have a slow period during your week? Fill that time with your weekly auto lift maintenance. Have your checklist handy in a visible place (like a maintenance & safety bulletin board or wall holder) and combine your lift maintenance with general shop cleaning to create a regular routine.

It can be helpful to create a storage space for all of the tools you need for your weekly maintenance, including rags, oil, grease and a flashlight for inspecting your cables.

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

Once a month, you should consider spending 30-45 minutes doing an even more thorough inspection of your lift:

  • Lubricate the columns, cables and drive screws, as necessary.
  • Remove all covers and protections and eliminate dirt build-up.
  • Verify and retighten floor anchor bolts as necessary.
  • Verify the torque of all bolts, safeties and pivot pins.
  • Check cables for length and tension and adjust if necessary.

Why not use this opportunity to gather all of your auto lift operators for refresh training on the function and safety features? This is an excellent way to stress the importance of regular auto lift maintenance and ensure everyone is using your lift in a safe and responsible manner. Watch for damage to your lift and note any scratches and dents.

Every few months you might want to sand down scratched areas and apply a bit of paint to keep your lift looking good and to help avoid rust. Be careful not to paint over any safety-related parts, labels and information plates or any moving components.

Yearly Maintenance Tasks

Once a year, auto-lift manufacturers recommend checking, repairing, and replacing specific parts

  • Grease rub blocks and column surface contacting rub blocks
  • Change the hydraulic fluid.
  • Replace hydraulic hoses (only a trained maintenance experts should perform)
  • Replace chains and rollers. (only a trained maintenance experts should perform)
  • Replace cables and sheaves. (only a trained maintenance experts should perform)
  • Replace or rebuild air and hydraulic cylinders as required. (only a trained maintenance experts should perform)
  • Replace or rebuild pumps / motors as required. (only a trained maintenance experts should perform)
  • Check hydraulic and air cylinder rod and rod end (threads) for deformation or damage.
  • Check cylinder mount for looseness and damage.

Every Model of Lift Requires Unique Maintenance

Our list of helpful daily, weekly and monthly maintenance guidelines needs to be adapted to your type and model of lift. If your lift was recently installed, you likely have the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance guide. Always follow the maintenance laid out by the manufacturer and add it to your regular checklists.

For older lifts, there's a chance you no longer have the original manual for information on load ratings and maintenance specifications. If that's the case, we suggest you follow our guidelines for daily, weekly and monthly maintenance. They cover the critical auto lift maintenance items applicable to all lifts. You can always try to contact the original manufacturer with as much make and model information as you have to determine if there are any particular maintenance items your lift requires.

In all cases, feel free to contact our team here at North American Auto Equipment. We have years of experience selling two- and four-post auto lifts and can answer any questions you might have about auto lift maintenance, service and sales.

If your lift is getting old and requires constant service or keeps breaking down, it might be time to consider a newer, more reliable model that will save you time and headaches. Let us know how we can help you benefit from a dependable and trouble-free auto lift that makes your job easier.

Read More About Auto Lift Care and Safety