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Liftgate Purchasing Guide for 2023

June 25, 2023

When it comes to the efficient and safe loading and unloading of cargo, having the right liftgate for your specific truck and application is crucial. Liftgates provide a convenient solution, minimizing physical strain and improving workflow. However, with a wide range of options available, selecting the ideal liftgate can be a daunting task.

Together, let’s explore the key factors to consider when choosing a liftgate to ensure it meets your requirements, enhances your trucking operations, and levels up your business functions.

As always, we’re here for you to fulfill all your liftgate needs! Reach out with any questions.

What you'll discover in this article:

  • Cargo requirements
  • How to evalutate truck and trailer specifications
  • Importance of exploring different types of liftgates
  • Loading and unloading conditions
  • Safety prioritization
  • Maintenance considerations
  • Budget
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Understand Your Cargo Requirements

Before diving into liftgate options, it's crucial to understand your cargo requirements. Consider the weight, dimensions, and shape of the heaviest and largest loads you typically handle.

Understanding cargo requirements will help determine the maximum weight capacity and platform size needed to accommodate your cargo without exceeding the manufacturer's recommendations.

We often see problems arise after purchase because customers surpass their liftgate’s capacity. As a general recommendation for first time purchasers, we suggest adding 500-1,000 lbs to what you think you may need to provide ample safety for your cargo and operators.  

Additionally, assess whether you need any specialized features to secure or stabilize specific types of cargo. Depending on the type of liftgate, you will find features such as platform retention ramps or cart stops to prevent cargo from rolling off or railings on the platform to ensure unsteady items such as gas bottles do not tip off the platform.

Evaluate Truck Specifications

The specifications of your truck play a vital role in selecting a compatible liftgate. Consider the truck's frame type, height, length, and rear axle configuration. Measure the available mounting space to ensure it can accommodate the chosen liftgate model. Ensure your truck's specifications align with the liftgate's requirements to provide a seamless installation.

Understanding the truck or trailer specifications will help determine what liftgate will fit and what options may be needed. Most commonly these may help answer questions such as:

  • Width specifications (most commonly 96” or 102” wide)
  • Available clearance beneath the truck or trailer in the case of tuck under models
  • Total trailer length (we want to stay under 53” if it’s attached to a trailer)

Not sure? Contact us today! We’re here to help create a seamless purchase experience.

Explore Different Liftgate Styles

Familiarize yourself with the various liftgate types available, each designed to meet different needs. Common types include tuckaway liftgates, rail liftgates, column liftgates, and cantilever liftgates.

Pickup liftgates are a fantastic solution for multiple lighter weight applications and can lift up to 1,300 lbs.

Tuckaway liftgates are ideal for trucks with limited space that have a regular dock height, as they fold and stow vertically.

Rail lifts are known for their stability and extended reach having larger platforms.

Column liftgates offer excellent weight capacity (up to 6,600 lbs!) with some of the largest platforms in the business.

Cantilever gates are versatile and can even act as the backdoor to a liftgate, creating a seal against the rear frame of the body.

Evaluate the advantages and limitations of each type to choose the one that best suits your specific requirements.

Consider Loading and Unloading Conditions

The loading and unloading conditions you encounter on a regular basis are crucial in determining the right liftgate.

Understanding loading and unloading conditions will help determine which models and features best match your needs.

Assess factors such as space limitations, frequency of loading and unloading, and the terrain where operations occur. If you often work in tight spaces or low-clearance environments, a tuckaway liftgate that folds vertically may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you frequently deal with uneven ground, a level ride option to specific models of liftgate may fit your needs. Another important detail is if you are doing gate only deliveries or mixed deliveries, including dock stops as well.

Evaluate these conditions to ensure your liftgate selection enhances efficiency and adaptability.

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Prioritize Safety Features

Safety should be a top priority when selecting a liftgate.

Look for features that promote safe operations, such as non-slip and lightweight platforms, safety rails, and warning lights. Ensure that the liftgate meets your safety standards and regulations if needed. Consider additional safety features like bed-mounted controls or remote operation options that provide convenient and secure usage.

Prioritizing safety prevents damage to the cargo and the liftgate itself, as well as your number one asset, your employees and customers.

Assess Maintenance and Service Requirements

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your liftgate operating at its best.

When choosing a liftgate, consider factors such as accessibility to components for maintenance and repairs, availability of service and repair centers, and the manufacturer's reputation for customer support.

Check if the manufacturer provides comprehensive user manuals and training materials for proper operation and maintenance.

Additionally, consider warranty options and the availability of spare parts to ensure long-term support and minimize downtime.

We only distribute liftgates for the best manufacturers in the industry so you won’t have any worries here!

Budget Considerations

While it's important to choose a liftgate that meets your requirements, it's equally important to consider your budget.

There are some options such as aluminum platforms or galvanized steel which add cost to your liftgate. These may be nearly necessary depending on where you are located and your operating conditions. However, if you’re on a budget, consider your priorities prior to purchasing so that all needs are met.  

Balance your budget with the desired features, durability, and long-term benefits to make a wise investment.

Choose the right liftgate the first time (We're here when you're ready!)

Choosing the right liftgate for your specific truck or application involves understanding your cargo requirements, evaluating truck specifications, exploring different liftgate types, considering loading conditions, prioritizing safety features, assessing maintenance and service requirements, and aligning your budget. By taking these factors into account and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision that enhances your trucking operations, improves efficiency, and ensures the safety of your employees and cargo. Remember, investing time and effort into selecting the right liftgate will yield long-term benefits and contribute to the success of your business.

We distribute complete liftgates to companies across the United States and know the strengths and weaknesses of each model and how it will ultimately affect your business.

Our dedicated team has installation experience as well as functional expertise for businesses in many industries - at LiftGateMe, you are in good hands.

We’re here to create a seamless purchasing experience. Contact us today.

Have a question? We'd love to hear from you.

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Disclaimer: The content of this article and website is available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the professional advice of a mechanic who has personally inspected your vehicle, liftgate, or any property, nor does it create a relationship of any kind between LiftGateMe and you. Every situation may be different, and LiftGateMe does not make any warranties, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy, fitness, or applicability of the information, liftgate, vehicle, parts or other property, portrayed in this article and website. LiftGateMe makes no guarantee of results or outcomes. LiftGateMe will not be liable for any damages related to personal injury, property damage or loss of any kind that may result from the use or reliance of our information and/or any automotive parts represented. You are using the information and automotive parts portrayed in this video solely at your own risk.

Thanks For Reading!

- Your Team at LiftGateMe


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