Shop Tip: Building your detailing on a strong foundation

Shop Tip: Building your detailing on a strong foundation

Using a car lift allows detailers full access to the wheel areas of cars.

Sponsored by QuickJack

If your shop doesn’t have a car lift, chances are good that you wash and detail most cars with all four wheels on the ground. If done by hand, this can mean a lot of bending and reaching, which may not be a big deal for some people, but after a full shift, it can cause muscle and joint pain in others. And while washing a car with the wheels on is fine for routine washes, it’s less than ideal for detailing.

To thoroughly detail a car, you have to remove the wheels to get full access to the wheel wells, brakes, shocks and suspension components. Removing the wheels also lets you clean both sides of the tires and rims. Traditionally, removing the wheels involved the time-intensive use of good old-fashioned jack stands. But developments in the lift industry mean you can now build your detailing on a stronger foundation and take advantage of the benefits of using a car lift instead.

A portable low-rise lift can slide under the vehicle and have it at a comfortable working height in seconds. With the vehicle on the lift, you can work more ergonomically, even sitting on a rolling work seat instead of stooping over or kneeling on the ground. Cleaning the undercarriage is also easier. Plus, using a lift eliminates the fear of potentially bumping or shaking the car off the jack stand while you’re scrubbing off some stubborn tar, sap or bug carcasses. 

If you want to give your detailing business a lift, here are some important factors to consider:

  • Does the lift manufacturer approve using the lift outside? Many lifts are rated for indoor use only.
  • Is the lift rated for use in washing applications? Some lifts specifically prohibit wash bay use and cannot get wet.
  • Has the lift been third-party tested and certified by the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) to meet all industry safety and performance standards? The ALI Gold Certification Label is the only proof that a lift is safe. 
  • What is the rated load capacity of the lift? Make sure the lift is rated to hold the vehicles you work on. Never overload a lift.
  • How low is the lift when collapsed? Make sure it can slide under the vehicles you service, especially if you work on a lot of low-slung cars.
  • Is it portable? If you don’t want to dedicate a bay full-time to a lift, portability is a must.
  • Does it provide clear access to the vehicle undercarriage? Many low-rise lifts have structural steel connecting the two lifting platforms that can hamper access to the vehicle undercarriage.

Next time we’ll discuss: How to address workplace heat regulations.

You May Also Like

Can you detail an EV on a lift?

This new class of vehicles requires special considerations.

lectric vehicles (EVs) are rolling into dealer showrooms at a roaring clip. It’s estimated that EVs will make up around 30% — about 4.7 million units — of new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030. Like any other vehicle, all those EVs will have to be detailed easily, efficiently and safely. Meeting that need are new low-rise portable lifts designed specifically for working on EVs.

Information checklist a carwash owner should gather before selling your business

Before you or your advisor contacts any buyers, it is highly recommended to compile in advance the key information that all buyers require.

Portable lifts aren’t just for detailing cars

This versatile equipment can help techs reach new heights.

Quickjack, portable lifts
Prevost product showcase

The compressed air and fluid distribution company shows off some brand offerings.

6 common questions about portable car lifts

Answers and insights into these inquiries.

Other Posts

Tunnel vision: What in-bay and tunnel washes offer operators in the growing carwash landscape

What in-bay and tunnel washes offer operators in the growing carwash landscape.

Spring cleaning your vehicle

The season brings with it a host of vehicle care issues. Share this educational article with your customers to encourage this simple but vital step to keeping a vehicle healthy and safe for years.

One step to synergy

Synergy: the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Wash Talk ep. 130: Exec. Series — Prevost

The national sales manager with Prevost, a compressed air system manufacturer, joins us in the studio.