Avoiding Common Mistakes When Buying a Liftgate for a Medium Size Truck

When buying a liftgate for a medium size truck, meaning most panel and box trucks used for delivery, you want to ensure you choose one that will accommodate the size and weight of standard loads and that is compatible with your truck. Because liftgates can be very expensive, it's good to understand the terms involved when buying a liftgate and certain specifications. Note a few common mistakes that are often encountered when someone purchases a liftgate and how to avoid those yourself.

1. Laden versus unladen

When buying a liftgate, you may see the terms laden and unladen used when instructing you on how to measure the clearance of the truck. Not understanding these terms can mean winding up with a liftgate that doesn't actually reach the ground. The term laden means a truck that is fully loaded; when the back of a truck is loaded down with materials for delivery, it will sit lower to the ground. When it is unladen, meaning empty or partially empty, it will sit higher off the ground.

When purchasing a liftgate, you need to know the highest point of the truck when it's empty or unladen, and this will be the maximum clearance. If you choose a liftgate based on the clearance of the truck when it's sitting lower to the ground due to being weighed down with materials in the back, the liftgate may not lower enough once you've made some deliveries and the truck begins to sit higher off the ground.

2. Weight capacity

Those who buy liftgates often use an average weight of delivery items as their weight capacity. However, this can mean overloading a liftgate with larger deliveries, and forgetting to figure in the weight of delivery persons and equipment. When a liftgate is overloaded, it may not be controlled by the hydraulic system and may simply fall, which can put your crew and your delivery items at risk. It may also not be able to lift the weight on the gate itself. Your weight capacity should be when the gate is fully loaded with materials, a pallet jack, and personnel.

3. Tuckaway depth

A tuckaway liftgate is one that slides under the body of the truck when not in use, and these are often preferred, as they don't block the door of the truck. However, you're limited as to the depth of a tuckaway liftgate, due to the length of the chassis of the truck. You need to consider the depth of the materials being delivered, along with delivery equipment and personnel, and then decide if a tuckaway that fits your truck will be sufficient. Otherwise, you will need a fold-up model just so you can choose the right depth of the gate itself.

Keep these tips in mind as you contact local liftgates suppliers. 

About Me

Optimising Sheet Metal in Building Projects and Other Manufacturing Blogs

Welcome! My name is Fiona. I'm a designer who works in marketing, but in my youth, I dreamed of being an architect. I was especially interested in combining interesting materials into buildings. In this blog, I want to explore that old love. I plan to write about using sheet metal in building, and I may go into the equipment involved or write about other industrial concepts as well. I hope to help you with every aspect of the process from shopping to building. Thank you for reading, and if you like my posts, please share them with others!