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Automotive lift question

Recently a friend of mine who owns a repair shop told me that he was advised to replace two of his 2-post lifts because there is a -1 degree angle at the lift pads, indicating wear on the arm components. These lifts are 20-some-year-old Challengers and have been in his shop since new. The suggestion came from (surprise!) a lift salesman who apparently painted a lurid picture of possible disaster and liability for injury leading to bankruptcy.

My friend is worried. In my own history of auto, truck and heavy equipment repair I never ran into anything like this. I suggested that he get a second opinion from someone without a horse in the race. Comments?

what did the salesman say was the worn parts that is causing this angle? bushings in the arms? bent arms? why not fix/replace the bad components?

Yes, he needs a second or third opinion from a real inspector, not a salesman.

Comments from the internet will not help. Your friend needs to call the manufacture of the lifts if still in business and have them inspected which should be done every couple of years anyway.
I actually knew a person who had a lift collapse with a car on it and was lucky to survive.

Your friend needs to get a professional opinion for sure. Is the paint fading? Is the tone on the locking pawl a C one octave above middle C? This could be serious.

I get the idea that the comments were general to the various arm components, with the sliding and pivoting elements all contributing. Seems like a sales ploy to me. Suppose that -1 degree angle was there since day one?

And was wear the reason for the collapse?

Perhaps the salesman had a mortgage payment due?

Challenger is still in business. Tell your friend to do this, from their FAQ :

Challenger Lifts has a network of (CAI) Challenger Authorized Installer/ Service companies throughout the United States. To find a Challenger Authorized Installer near you, simply contact us at or 800-648-5438.

I would be amazed Iif the inspector checked the floor where the lift is mounted.

I may be wrong, but I thought there were “certified lift inspectors”

If so, find one who is NOT affiliated with a particular store or brand

On the other hand, the cynic in me is wondering if there even ARE any such individuals

There are independent auto lift inspectors.


The mechanic who I used several decades ago had a lift that had the disconcerting habit of suddenly emitting a groan, and then dropping an inch or two. I was under the lift with him when I experienced this for the first time, and it freaked me out.

Rudy–the mechanic–was used to this phenomenon, and claimed that the lift had been doing that for several years, and he didn’t plan on doing anything about it. His philosophy was that he would save the money required to repair the lift because he was planning on retiring in a few years, and he did manage to retire without being crushed by that thing!

All of that being said, I strongly suggest that the OP get a second opinion and/or make sure that his life insurance is paid-up.

Thanks to all who responded. I’ll pass along the info.