TMC adopts new recommended practice covering vehicle lifts

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According the the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC), RP 534, Guidelines for Determining Vehicle Lift Productivity Efficiencies, exited the appeals process (none were filed) on Oct. 1, 2008, and will be published with the rest of its graduating class first quarter of 2009, according to TMC Technical Director Robert Braswell.

RP 534 was developed by the S5 Task Force on Lift Productivity and ROI to address fleet managers’ needs to recruit and retain technicians, improve shop efficiency and reduce shop-related injuries. According to the RP, “Vehicle lift technologies can assist fleet operations in these critical areas, but equipment users should have a sound means of determining the cost effectiveness for acquiring these devices.”

The RP includes a simple ROI formula that fleet managers can use to estimate the additional revenue a new lift would generate or the cost-savings it would provide. Recognizing that it can be challenging to calculate ROI for a piece of equipment a shop has never used, RP 534 includes typical ROI examples derived from and validated by independent sources that are representative for commercial vehicle maintenance operations. All of the examples show a reduction in preventive maintenance costs through improvements in technician productivity. Typical savings range from $27,840 to $74,472 annually per lift, after the price of the lift has been recovered.

“Unlike transit, government, light truck and automotive maintenance facilities, commercial fleet operations and independent truck repair facilities traditionally have not used vehicle lifts,” explains Roger Perlstein, S5 task force secretary and heavy-duty sales manager for vehicle lift manufacturer Rotary Lift. “Instead, they’ve asked their technicians to primarily work on their backs, using creepers and floor jacks. Vehicle lifts dramatically improve working conditions, productivity and profitability by letting technicians work standing up, where they can easily and comfortably access all parts of a truck. RP 534 acknowledges the benefits of vehicle lifts and helps fleet managers evaluate them for their own facilities.”

One of the major advantages offered by vehicle lifts is improved ergonomics. According to RP 534: “Vehicle lifts improve the working environment by helping fit the job or routine to the technician. Commercial vehicle maintenance operations are having to deal with a maturing workforce in which ergonomics can play a key role in technician retention, and in recruiting experienced technicians where demand far exceeds availability of skilled labor.”

RP 534 also outlines steps for choosing a new lift. The RP recommends that fleet managers start by completing the facility analysis section detailed in TMC RP 510, New Facility Development. Key factors to consider include the number of vehicles serviced by class, type and frequency of use, as well as the types of services performed. RP 534 also recommends checking to see if the lift model under consideration has been third-party certified to meet the safety standards adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

For more information on choosing the right vehicle lift, Rotary Lift offers a free 30-page, illustrated white paper available for download at It includes sections on the benefits of vehicle lifts, the advantages and disadvantages of various types of lifts, lift purchasing considerations, the importance of third-party certification, advice on how to evaluate a lift manufacturer and supplier/installer, and guidelines on how to keep vehicle lifts functioning properly. A brief history of vehicle lifts and a glossary of lift terms are also included.

“TMC RP 534 is sure to make more fleet managers aware of the value of vehicle lifts,” Perlstein says. “That’s an important first step. Then, for customized advice on which types of lifts would work best in a particular facility, fleet managers can contact their local factory-trained Rotary Lift distributor for a free consultation.”

The S5 Task Force on Lift Productivity and ROI began developing RP 534 in 2004. It was balloted and approved by TMC membership at TMC’s 2008 Annual Meeting. It went into the appeals process in July. When no appeals were filed, it was officially adopted on Oct. 1.

For more information about TMC RP 534, Guidelines for Determining Vehicle Lift Productivity Efficiencies, contact TMC at (703) 838-1763. For information about the full line of heavy-duty vehicle lifts available from Rotary Lift, contact your local Rotary distributor, call Rotary at (800) 640-5438 or visit