How to Safely Use a Car Lift or Truck Lift

Being a smart lift user starts and ends with being a safe lift user. Because the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) is focused on car lift safety, we’ve put together these guidelines for staying safe while using a vehicle lift. Whether you’re working with a two-post lift, four-post lift or mobile column lift, surface-mounted or inground model, make lift safety a habit and always follow these best practices.




Know your lift. Start every shift with a lift walk around and get to know your lift well enough that you recognize if it shows any signs of needing service.

Choose the right lift and accessories for the job. Consider the lift’s rated load capacity, clearances and ability to reach the vehicle manufacturer-recommended lifting points.

Get lift operator training. Training on how to properly use the lift you are using is crucial to safe lifting.

Lift it right. Don’t start lifting until you determine the vehicle’s center of gravity and OEM-recommended lifting points.

Keep lift safety front and center. Post lift safety tips to avoid complacency.

Know Your Lift

Before using any vehicle lift, take a few minutes to check it over following any instructions in the owner’s manual. The ANSI/ALI ALOIM (current edition) Standard for Automotive Lifts “Safety Requirements for Operation, Inspection and Maintenance”  states that when operating a lift, the operator shall remain attentive to notice at least the following:




Confirm all lift operating procedures, safety tips and safety materials are accessible and readable.

Ensure all warning labels are accessible and readable.

Confirm that the lift’s rated load capacity is visible.

Check that all lift controls are operating properly, including synchronizing systems, restraints and locking devices.

Look for deformation or excessive wear of any structural components.

Check for deformation or excessive wear of non-structural components, like hoses, wires or drive chains.

Check for damage or excessive wear to any lift contact points.

Look for evidence of hydraulic or pneumatic leaks.

Look for cracks or loose concrete ground floor anchor bolts (if applicable)

Questionable accessories, including those professionally, shop, or home made

If you find any issues during your daily review or if you’ve noticed unusual noises, sudden movements, erratic operation or evidence of chips or filings being generated during use, report the situation to your supervisor immediately. Do not use the lift. It should be locked or tagged out of service until the problem is resolved. Never try to fix or rig a lift that isn’t working properly. Call qualified lift service personnel.

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