How to Operate a Wheelchair Lift

Step by Step Wheelchair Lift Operation Guide for the DPA family of Wheelchair Lifts – Century 2, Millennium 2, and Vista 2

Welcome to the worldwide family of BraunAbility wheelchair lift owners. We created this program to help you get the most out of your BraunAbility Wheelchair lift. Over the next few minutes, we will highlight the operation of the wheelchair lift and offer tips on basic maintenance, however, this video is supplementary to the instruction provided in the manual, and is not a substitute for reading the manual and following its instructions and warnings.

Before attempting to use your wheelchair lift, we also strongly suggest that you examine the unit carefully and notify the carrier immediately if you notice any damage that might have occurred in transit. If you notice damage, do not use your lift until any problems have been resolved or you have received confirmation from BraunAbility that your lift can be safely used.

You’ll also want to make note there are two BraunAbility model and serial identification tags on your lift. One ID tag is located on the opposite pump side vertical arm and the second is located on the opposite pump side tower. You’ll also use these numbers if you need to file a claim or order parts in the future. So, we recommend that you record this information in your operator’s manual for easy access.

Once your inspection and paperwork are complete, you’re ready to learn about the proper operation of your BraunAbility wheelchair lift. In this video, you’ll receive an overview of the BraunAbility wheelchair lift, it’s safety features and basic precautions that will help to safeguard both you and your passengers. And of-course we’ll show you how to properly load and unload passengers, operate the lift using the manual back-up systems, and perform preventive maintenance.


Your BraunAbility lift is ADA Compliant and fully satisfies the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or (NHTSA). BraunAbility makes it easy for a trained attendant to load and unload passengers and also mobility equipment, by providing fully automatic operation of the lift and easy to use manual features that can be used even in the unlikely event of vehicle electrical system failure.

Safety Features

Before attempting to operate your wheelchair lift, it’s important to know that BraunAbility has several built-in safety features working for you. BraunAbility lifts are designed to help prevent conditions that could result in accidents or injury to passengers or operators. Lift-tite latches, for example, prevent the platform from drifting at the stowed position due to bleed off of pressure, common to hydraulic systems. The automatic inner barrier automatically deploys to its horizontal position to serve as a bridge between the platform and the vehicle floor and once fully deployed rests on a threshold warning plate which senses weight and will activate both a visible and audible alert if the inner barrier is occupied when an operator attempts to activate the lift. The threshold warning will also sound if a passenger enters the threshold area while the platform is in motion or when the platform is below the vehicle floor level. Movement of the platform will be prevented by the interlock system if the inner barrier is occupied or doesn’t transition to its fully upright position.

Similarly, when the platform is at ground level the outer barrier forms a bridge between the ground and the platform and upward movement of the lift will be prevented by the interlock system until the outer barrier is fully upright. Although the BraunAbility public use lift offers these safety features, it’s important that operators read all warning and caution labels and adhere to their instructions each, and every time the lift is used. It’s also important to follow proper procedures to help enhance overall safety. For example, Be sure the vehicle parking brake is engaged before attempting to load or unload a passenger.

Be sure the vehicle doors are fully opened and secured before activating the lift. Avoid the use of the lift in areas where there is vehicular traffic. Be certain to load and unload passengers on level surfaces only. Provide adequate clearance outside the vehicle to allow full deployment of the lift. Keep bystanders and yourself clear of the area in which the lift is being operated. Be sure passengers are fully secured and wheelchair brakes engaged before moving the lift. Ensure the passengers are contained within the yellow boundaries of the lift occupant area and are clear of moving parts and make sure the lift has no signs of damage or abnormal operation.


All of the key functions of your BraunAbility lift are easily and conveniently controlled using the on/off control switch mounted on the outboard face of the pump module and the up, down, fold, and unfold control switches on the BraunAbility hand-held pendant control. To operate the lift, check to be sure the on/off switch is in the on position and then simply use the handheld pendant to choose the appropriate functions.

Unloading A Passenger From A Vehicle

To unload a passenger from the vehicle, begin by securing the vehicle doors to avoid interference during lift operation. Confirm that the power on/off switch shows a green power indicator signal that you’re ready to activate the lift. Assuming that you have a green light, move away from the door to clear the area for the platform to fully unfold. Then press and hold the unfold button on your handheld pendant control and the lift will move out of its storage position. Notice that as the unfold button is pressed and the platform is fully extended, the wheelchair lifts mechanical inner barrier automatically moves to the horizontal position to form a smooth transition between the vehicle floor and platform. Once the platform is fully extended and motion stops, release the unfold switch. In the event, the platform does not unfold from the stowed position, simply press the fold switch to fold the platform which will, in turn, release the lift-tite latches. Then press the unfold switch, and the lift should unfold with no further hesitation.

Once the platform is fully deployed, be sure the inner barrier rests solidly on the vehicle floor and check to be sure the outer barrier is fully raised and locked. Also, be sure that your passenger’s safety restraints are securely fastened and then buckle the handrail belt if equipped on your lift. Then guide your passenger onto the platform being sure to keep the wheelchair between the yellow boundaries. Once fully boarded, engage the wheelchair brakes or turn the power off to powered wheelchairs, and ask the passenger to hold the handrails if possible.

Note that BraunAbility lifts can accommodate passengers who prefer to face inward, however, BraunAbility recommends the outward position because of the enhanced sense of security it provides for passengers. BraunAbility can also accommodate passengers who use walkers or canes or cannot navigate steps into the vehicle. In all cases, however, it is critical that passengers, whether sitting or standing, are positioned at the center of the platform within the yellow boundaries to help ensure they have cleared the vehicle bridge and are in the proper position for side to sideload balance and smooth movement of the platform. Once the passenger is in position, press and holds the down button on your handheld control until the entire platform reaches ground level and the outer barrier unfolds completely. When all movement has stopped, unlock wheelchair brakes or switch on wheelchair power if necessary. And if equipped, unbuckle the handrail belt and unload the passenger from the platform.

Loading A Passenger

To load a passenger, start with the platform at ground level and the outer barrier fully extended. Move the passenger onto the lift platform into position within the yellow boundaries. Again, lock the wheelchair brakes or turn off wheelchair power on powered chairs, buckle the handrail belt if equipped, and have the passenger hold the lifts handrails if possible for additional support. While being sure to stand clear of the lift, press and hold the up switch on the pendant control. This will allow the outer barrier to rotate to the upright and locked position and the platform to rise to the vehicle floor level. The lift will stop at floor level automatically and the inner barrier will rotate to the horizontal or bridging position. Once the lift has stopped completely, reengage power to power chairs or disengage wheelchair brakes, and move the passenger into the vehicle compartment.

Storing The Lift

To return the platform to its storage position, be sure the lift and storage areas are clear and the handrail belt is unbuckled if equipped. Then simply press and hold the fold button on your handheld pendant until the platform is fully stowed and all motion stops. Check to make sure your vehicle doors are fully closed and secured. If returning the platform to its stored position from ground level, check to be sure the platform area and vehicle storage area are clear, then simply press and hold the up button until the platform reaches vehicle floor height all movement stops. Then press and hold the fold button, again, until all motion stops. Then again close and secure your vehicle doors.

Manual Operation

In the unlikely event that your vehicle experiences power or equipment failure, your BraunAbility lift can be safely and easily operated using the manual back-up system. Instructions and illustrations for all steps that differ from standard lift operation are included in your operator’s manual. Before attempting the manual operation, it's important to familiarize yourself with the location and operation of the back-up system components. Specifically, the pump handle. Which is stored in clips mounted on the pump module. The manual back-up pump is located inside the pump module mounted on the tower and the release valve located just below the pump receptacle.

Unloading A Passenger Using Manual Back-Up Pump System

To remove a passenger from your vehicle using the manual back-up system. Open and secure your vehicle doors to prevent interference during lift operation. Then using the hand pump handle, close the hand pump valve by placing the slotted end of the pump handle onto the release valve and turn clockwise. Then insert the handle in the pump receptacle and stroke until the platform first folds fully and all movement stops. This is necessary to ensure that the lift-tite latches will release when you attempt to unfold the platform. Then open the hand pump valve by turning it counterclockwise, which will allow the platform to slowly unfold and stop at floor level. Close the hand pump valve again by turning the pump valve clockwise. Check to be sure that the inner barrier is in its fully deployed horizontal position. And that the outer barrier is in its fully vertical position and the outer barrier latch is engaged. Buckle the handrail belt if equipped and then load your passenger onto the platform as you would during normal automatic operation. Open the release valve again by turning it counterclockwise, one half turn only to allow the platform to slowly move to ground level and the outer barrier to unfolding fully. Unbuckle the handrail belt, if equipped and move your passenger off of the platform and away from the vehicle.

Manually Raise Platform

To manually raise the platform and return it to its storage position, close the release valve by placing the slotted end of the pump handle onto the back-up pump release valve and turning clockwise. Then insert the handle onto the backup pump receptacle and stroke until the platform reaches floor level, with no passenger on the platform you can continue to stroke until the platform folds fully. Be sure that the release valve remains closed and ready for automatic operation once power is restored. Be sure to return the pump handle to its storage clips.

Preventive Maintenance

Every Braun lift is designed and built for durable and dependable service. You can maximize the life and operation of your lift by performing routine inspections and simple maintenance tasks. By lubricating moving parts, cleaning debris from mechanisms, and checking for wear and tear. You protect your investment while enhancing the safety of lift passengers and operators. Some parts require lubricating maintenance or inspection more often than others. Your operator’s manual outlines a full schedule of maintenance procedures to be conducted at regular intervals. Every 750 cycles as a general rule. Actual maintenance requirements will vary, pending on the amount of use and exposure to conditions that affect equipment wear and tear. The cycle counter located on the top of the pump module can serve as a visual reminder that routine maintenance may be in order. Preventive maintenance and longevity of your lift revolve around 2 key factors, lubrication, and inspection. When it comes to applying lubricant to specific lift components, your manual includes a diagram showing parts that need regular lubrication. Most parts require a light penetrating oil, which is available at most auto parts stores, hardware stores, and home centers. Your manual also suggests the use of special lubricants for specific components and offers item numbers for easy ordering from BraunAbility if not locally available.

Routine Lubrication

Before applying lubricant to any part start by cleaning dirt from the area. Dirt and grit are extremely abrasive and can seriously affect smooth movement and shorten the life of components. Once clean, apply the specified lubricant and operate the mechanism a few times to ensure that the oil works its way into areas where friction could occur.

Routine Inspection

Another important maintenance task is to inspect parts for wear and replace any worn or damaged parts as needed. The maintenance schedule in your operator’s manual indicates specific parts to check during regular routine maintenance. If you see signs of abnormal lift damage or wear before replacement is suggested stop using the lift immediately and contact the BraunAbility National Aftersales division for guidance for help in finding an authorized service facility near you. Following the correct operating procedures and performing regular maintenance will help you get years of service and satisfaction from your BraunAbility public use lift. If you have questions about your lifts safety features, operations, or preventive maintenance procedures or if you like more information about your lift or other BraunAbility products, contact BrauAbility.