Now that the general inspection is complete, it's time to check the machine's operation. Start at ground level and work your way up. First, check the manual descent cable that allows a person on the ground to lower the machine.
Next, visually inspect the OSHA-required safety chain and check to see if all required decals are legible and in place. If not, replace them as needed.
Next, mount the lift and check for all functions from the upper control box. Many machines today are equipped with a removable control box to deter theft. Check the connecting cable and the general condition of the box.
Ensure steering works properly by moving the machine to the left, right and back to center. On a level surface, listen for any groaning or whining of the hydraulics. Now drive the machine forward and backward.
The machine should cutout from high drive to low speed (in the drive mode) after raising the platform a few feet. When descending, be sure there is no binding or creaking from the scissor stack.
Check the integrity of the machine's tie points and take a look in the manual compartment to be sure the model-specific owner's manual is there, along with the manufacturer-supplied "green safety manual" and any OSHA or ANSI spec sheets.
During operation, the machine should feel balanced and steady. There should be no vibration felt during ascent or descent. Wheels should turn properly and drive speeds, as well as speeds for ascent and descent, should be constant and appropriate.
On the surface
The last thing to consider is the cosmetic appearance of the machine. Always pressure wash the scissor lift when it comes back in from a rental. This will make problem areas easier to spot and fix. Touch up paint where possible on newer pieces. On older, faded pieces, you might want to repaint the entire part or simply leave it alone. Touching up the paint in those cases might just draw attention to the problem. On vital, discontinued models that you want to get maximum life out of, repainting the entire unit might be a sound decision.
Often, electric scissor lifts are rented to painting contractors and brought back badly discolored. In cases like that, it's fair to charge the customer for the damage. If you're a rental house with a sizable stable of lift equipment, you can prevent such situations by designating one lift to be used by painting contractors exclusively.
When done with the inspection, connect the charger to an electrical outlet so the battery recharges. Most new model battery chargers make this simple, as a light will come on to let you know the machine is charging correctly.
The last thing to do after a full inspection is to tag the machine indicating it's 100 percent ready for rental.
If inspected and maintained diligently, an electric scissor lift can serve your rental inventory for a decade or more. And with all the uses these machines are good for, that decade could translate into a significant boon to your bottom line.
Information provided by EquipWholesale.com, Genie Industries, Illini Hi-Reach Inc. and JLG Industries.