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Should you choose a pit or a hoist for your workshop?

What you should consider before you invest  

As a workshop manager, you’re probably aware that any type of access option – whether that’s a pit or a hoist – will make a huge difference to your productivity, compared to working with the vehicle purely on the ground. 

And it’s easy to see the potential ROI for your business. A workshop hoist or pit can reduce the time it takes to do a job from an entire day to just ¾ or ½ a day. If you look at the time they can save your technician (based on a $100,000 salary), a workshop hoist at (say) $50,000 will pay for itself in about 6 months!

If money was no object, of course you’d install both a pit and a hoist, to be ready for every servicing contingency. In the real world however, space and budgetary considerations usually mean choosing one or the other.

Service Pit or Vehicle Hoist?

If you’ve ever batted this topic around in a room full of workshop technicians and managers, you’ll know there are many dearly held opinions. For this reason, it’s important not to make your decision based on just one person’s view – after all, employees do leave, and you don’t want to be left with a solution that’s not exactly right for your workshop.

Instead, you should select the pit or hoist that will give you the best productivity for your particular business. In this news post, the Levanta team offer some pointers on how you can select the right option for your requirements.

Is a pit or hoist best for a light vehicle dealership workshop?

If you’re mainly servicing car-sized vehicles, a pit will usually be unnecessary. The only exception could be if you wanted to establish a “drive-on customer experience”, where people actually wait in their car while it’s being serviced. A workshop pit is ideal for this application.

For most other car lifting scenarios, there are a range of different two post and four post hoists that will do the job admirably. 

One advantage of working on a hoist is that you can make use of whatever natural light is available. Unlike with a pit, you won’t need to waste time sourcing and setting up lead lights just to see what you’re working on. 

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Is a hoist or pit best for a heavy vehicle truck or bus workshop?

When deciding on the right option for your heavy vehicle workshop, it’s crucial to consider what you actually want to get done underneath the vehicles you service.

A workshop pit is ideally suited for carrying out regular service work, such as a basic grease and oil change, in a high volume workshop. It allows you to simply drive the rig on, complete the service, and drive it off again.

Opting for a service pit means you can also have two team technicians working on a vehicle at once – one below, one on top.

Of course, because a service pit is a “fixed” asset, once you install it you won’t have the option to move it to another facility should you decide to move your workshop.

On the other hand, if you’re doing a lot of heavy mechanical work – such as taking out an engine – it’s best accomplished with the help of a truck hoist.

Another factor is the type of vehicle you most often deal with. If it’s a single asset (for example a bus, coach, or truck), it’s hard to beat a knuckle lift where you can simply drive the vehicle on and lift it up.

By contrast, if you do a lot of work with “heavy combination” articulated vehicles (such as a B-double or road train), you usually won’t want to split it up, as it’s a prohibitively big job to disconnect all the trailers (and reconnect them after the service). In that case, there are a few different options.

You could use a series of column lifts (see our breakout box below) or you could use a 27 or 30 metre long pit and drive the entire combination on to be serviced in one unit.

Then there’s the 'hybrid' option of an in-ground lift that can offer you the best of both worlds. It gives you the versatility of being able to lift a whole rig on up to five lifting points, while still providing all the advantages of a hoist (such as working at ground level and making the most of available natural light).

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An alternative lifting option when space is at a premium

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If your workshop doesn’t have room for either a pit or a hoist (for example if you’re working out of a small shed with just two bays) you might consider using column lifts. 

A big advantage with column lifts is that, when you’re not using them, they easily wheel out of the way and don’t take up valuable floor space in your workshop.

Compared to a vehicle hoist, column lifts may be a bit slower to use – yet they still offer you a big step up in productivity, compared to working with a vehicle on the ground.

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Need advice on the right lifting option for your workshop?

As you can see, there are many different options available for servicing trucks or cars in your workshop. So before you decide on either a pit or a hoist, it’s a good idea to speak with Levanta’s workshop consultants. They can assess your existing setup – as well as any future expansion plans – along with the type and volume of workload you deal with, to advise you on the right option for your requirements.

For advice on choosing a pit or hoist for your light or heavy vehicle workshop, call Levanta now on 1300 577 541 or fill out the contact form here.

Topics: service pits, car hoists

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