Tips On Purchasing A Used Car Lift

January 2nd, 2011

For purposes of full disclosure, we don’t sell used equipment. We strictly sell brand new auto shop equipment. So when we make statements about purchasing used equipment, realize the perspective we are coming from.
Automotive Lifts are a vital piece of equipment for any auto shop. Safety is such a crucial factor with a piece of equipment like this. You don’t want to skimp when it comes to a lift. There is too much at stake.
That is why we always recommend that you consider purchasing a lift that is ALI Certified (Automotive Lift Institute). This means that it meets very stringent  safety and quality requirements. One way to determine if a lift is ALI Certified is to check on their web site. They state clearly each and every model that is certified. You can also look for the ALI Certified sticker on the lift. If it’s certified, it will have the sticker.
If you shop around, you can find many great deals on used auto lifts. Search foreclosure auctions, private sales and other venues and you can get lucky and find a great bargain. But by the same token, it is also quite possible that you will find that it is difficult to locate a reasonably priced used lift. After selling automotive equipment for over 14 years, we have found that people selling their used equipment tend to overprice them. Maybe it’s because they remember what they paid for it, and they believe that because they treated it well that it retained that value, or close to it. But most people don’t realize the cost of depreciation. Figure at least a 15% depreciation factor per year for auto lifts. Factor in the fact that a person purchasing a used lift doesn’t know how well you actually treated it, and basically has to make his decision based on the seller’s word, along with a thorough inspection of the lift.
When you do inspect the lift, take into consideration the manufacturer’s name. Larger, more well know manufacturers will have a greater resale value than a no-name, economy manufacturer car lift. ALI Certified lifts will also have a greater resale value.
Wear parts are the most critical components to review. Inspect cylinders and seals as best you can. Look for the tell tale signs of hydraulic fluid leaking from the cylinders. This will probably be the most common issue. Inspect all cables for fraying and chains for excessive wear also. Another important imperfection to look for is corrosion. Is there surface rust, or something deeper? If the manufacturer gave it a good powder coat, you should not have much rust.
Make sure the seller has all the necessary parts. This is especially important if the lift is all bundled together and not assembled. It could be difficult to get parts if you’re missing something.
Of course you won’t get any kind of warranty with a used lift. This is an important factor to consider. If you need support you are on your own. Many manufacturers offer on-site service as part of their warranty also. One of those manufacturers is BendPak. Some manufacturers offer a parts only warranty, so investigate before choosing. If you are the type of customer who needs that type of service, then you would be better off purchasing a new lift.
After considering all of these factors, along with your budget and more that we haven’t touched on, make the determination which option works best for you.


One response to “Tips On Purchasing A Used Car Lift”

  1. used car inspections writes:

    I have never bought a used lift but I am familiar with ALI and their certification process which makes me want to check out their used lifts if there are any left because I am pretty sure that they would sell pretty fast. Thanks for the post and information.