I am having a consistent problem with cables breaking on one of our lifts. I have replaced seven cables since this lift was purchased in 1997. The lift manufacturer has been contacted and they claim that this is normal wear. I have another brand lift purchased in 1989 and have not had any cables replaced and none even look worn. Can you give me any help or advise?
Different brands of lifts have different drive systems (cables, leaf chains or direct drive). All lifts have specific manufacturers’ maintenance instructions that should be complied with. Of the three different lifting drive systems, cable systems have the highest maintenance, and highest cost to maintain, while direct drive lifts have the lowest. However, the cables of your lift are specifically designed for that brand, capacity and model of lift. Hopefully, you are using OEM cables, as aftermarket parts should never be used on any manufacturers’ lift.
In general, lifts designed with cables typically have a one- or two-year service life before cable replacement is required. Your lift that has not had cables replaced since 1989 should have them replaced immediately, as worn cables are difficult to detect due to the fact that they may:
1. Wear from the inside, with no visible sign of wear;
2. It is suggested that a full-length, visual inspection be made to see that there are no single strands of cable protruding from anywhere along the main cable (a sure sign that it’s time to replace the cable); and
3. The instruction manual of the lift probably doesn’t imply that the cables life is good for 17 years. However, your newer lift(s) that require annual cable replacement may be "standard" for that specific brand of lift. Like anything in life; you get what you pay for.
Annual lift inspections by a trained lift inspector are an OSHA requirement for all garages, per ANSI ALIOIM. Besides the obvious issue of the safety of your employees and your customers vehicles, as a shop owner, not having the paperwork on file documenting the annual lift inspections can lead to OSHA fines upwards of thousands of dollars.