How to Choose the Right Lift gate for Your Work Truck

By November 22, 2018Lift Gates, Truck Blog
truck and trailer repair

Three feet doesn’t seem like a large distance but in the world of the commercial truck, three feet from the ground to the threshold/floor height of the truck body can be the most important three feet in the world. Getting thousands of pounds of materials up and down that distance in a timely and efficient manner can be the most important aspect of a shipment. Lift gates allow for a shipment to reach its destination in a manner that wouldn’t be possible without this kind of equipment. Several questions to ask as you start the fact finding process are: So what kind of lift gate should I be looking for? Do I need a “level ride” platform? Steel or Aluminum platform?

Do I need Cart stops? Do I need a regular mechanic or a truck lift gate mechanic for diagnosis and repairs? What’s the difference?

Several factors go into deciding what type of lift gate mechanism would work best in your circumstance. First, what is the type and size of the vehicle in question? Then, what are the body specifications, and at what height is the body floor from the ground? More questions include figuring out the weight capacity you need, the size/type of the platform, and how often it will be used. Next, how will the product be transported onto the lift gate, and what type of lift gate will fit your needs the best?

For example, parallel arm lifts are good when space is an issue. Rail gates are designed for lower weight capacity and rely on rails attached to the sides of the truck to maintain the path of the platform. Column lifts are the beefier cousins of the rail gate, and have some of the highest capacities for weight. Column lifts have the benefit of being able to lift a load above the bed height as well as below it. If a lift that can be used at an angle is a necessity, then cantilever lifts are a good alternative. If the lift isn’t always necessary each day, “tuck under” lift gates are a great choice as they stow underneath the truck body. “Level-Ride” platforms keep the platform level through the entire lift/lower cycle and are perfect for sensitive cargo that can tip over or is not well balanced. Cart stops keep carts or dollies with wheels from rolling off the platform until the cargo is on the ground. Aluminum platforms are lighter and they are not prone to rust in salty road conditions such as a steel platform would be in that type of environment.

Now, if you’ve already got the right lift gate for your fleet, what happens when something goes wrong? There are any number of issues that can send an entire operation grinding to a halt. If anything goes wrong, be it the cylinders, the pump(s), motors, switches, or platform itself, an entire vehicle can be out of commission until that problem is addressed. Knowing where to get them fixed can be incredibly important. The average mechanic may not have experience with servicing lift gates and it would be advantageous to use a service center that has lift gate service experience. Whether you are looking to get a lift gate installed, need a lift gate mechanic for maintenance, or have a major issue with a truck, you need to know where to go for qualified service. Truck-n-Trailer is a local service center in Oklahoma City that is here to make sure that no matter the issue, it gets resolved in the most efficient and affordable manner. Contact your local truck and trailer repair shop to get the help you need today!