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When dealing with school buses, safety is a top priority. From parents to drivers, everyone wants them to run properly and get our kids securely from point A to point B. If you’re in charge of keeping those buses running, you know that maintenance is key. A well-maintained bus is a safer bus. And providing great repairs requires great equipment. If you’re planning a school bus maintenance facility or looking to upgrade an existing one, choosing the right lifts is paramount. When you pick the right tools for the job, both the repairs and the buses will be safer. 

Picking a Lift

A lift is a must for most school bus maintenance shops, and you need one that can handle the job. There are several options available, including runway lifts and in-ground lifts. Those options both have their benefits, but they also take up quite a bit of room. We’ve found that mobile columns are a great fit for most bus maintenance facilities.

Thanks to their lower cost and flexibility, mobile columns have become the go-to, entry-level lift for many shops. Also called wheel lifts, they’re very versatile, and don’t require a dedicated bay. You can move the lifts wherever you need them and then shift them out of the way when you’re done.

What about wheel repairs? Just add a wheels-free jack stand. You’ll raise the bus with the mobile columns then lower it onto the jack stand, freeing up your wheels. Overall, mobile lifts are a convenient option that often makes the most sense for bus maintenance shops.

Before you pull the trigger, here are some questions to consider as you plan to add mobile lifts to your facility:

Wireless or wired? Wired mobile lifts are easy to set up, but wireless lifts are even faster. If speed is a priority, opting for columns that can work together without techs adding a wired connection each time is a smart move.

How many will I need? This depends on your facility, of course. How much space you have, how many buses you need in the air at one time, etc. For reference, our MCH18 4-column configuration can hold up to 72,000 lbs. The nice thing about columns is that you can move them to a relatively small dedicated space when not in use. So you could have enough columns to get three vehicles in the air at the same time, but you don’t need three bays that are off-limits to other uses.

Are there installation considerations? Battery-powered 110V lifts can be charged with a standard outlet, which means you won’t have to worry about adding 220V wiring to your bays. That makes planning a little easier, plus it has environmental benefits.

How should techs be trained to use them? It all comes back to safety. As your keeping those buses safe, you’ll want to ensure your technicians are using the repair equipment properly. Make sure you get a demonstration from your distributor when they drop off the lifts, and then add mobile lift training to your overall safety plan.

 When your facility is equipped with the right tools – and your techs use them correctly – everybody wins.

Want to learn more about your heavy-duty lift options? Our resource guide can help.