For many mechanics, the clearance between the top of the floor creeper and the bottom of the truck chassis seems to have gotten a little tighter, due to more gadgets and inspection points on each unit. But thanks to some recent improvements in the automotive-repair equipment markets, working under a mixer doesn't have to be such back-twisting work.

A new generation of portable wheel lifts gives mechanics better under-vehicle access. These self-contained, heavy-duty units combine the functions of hand jacks and bulky steel-support stands.

In general terms, producers can choose between two types of wheel-lift systems. For smaller or satellite producer repair facilities, there's a pneumatically operated wheel lift that can raise axles to a maximum of 24 inches from the floor. For shops with more headroom, or for mechanics who don't like stooping over, there's a wheel-lift system that lets the mechanic hoist a truck more than 60 inches. It requires four lifts on the front tires and two on the center dual axles. A master electrical control system monitors and coordinates each lift's position.

Keywords: wheel, lift, jack, pneumatic, Gray Automotive, Automotive Resources, Herzog Construction