^yes exactly. Sometimes it is the only tool for the job. Dangerous or not. But judge from this thread the number of posters who posters who have parroted the sentiment that they would never use one because they are so dangerous.
At the risk of getting absolutely spanked, is there any tool more universally useful than the hi lift?
I think most folks would agree that an electric winch is better for winching, there are better/safer ways to lift a vehicle to change a tire or do trail work, clamps are better at clamping and so on and so forth. I can see where folks with those specialty tools wouldn't find much use for a hi lift but I can't say that I've come across a single tool that fills as many niches as the hi lift does.
I've used my HiLift countless times... wouldn't go offroad without it. I've also used my winch countless times. Without the proper training both are deadly and best not used. Take an extraction course, learn how to use them properly and safely and they'll be your best friend.
HiLift has been great to pull up fence posts, winch down lodged branches, etc. It's a great powerful tool when used properly. But like any tool, if not used in it's proper intended manner it can be very dangerous.
Always maintain it too... don't let it sit out in the weather year after year without cleaning and lubrication. I also carry a full set of spare parts for it.
Count me as a fan of the Hi-Lift. I still carry one, have used it for recovery/repair in places where I would have been in a really bad situation without it. I also carry a bottle jack, Winch (with all accessories) and various other tools. My Hi-Lift has never inured me and I don't intend to allow it, as I practice the appropriate safety measures. I lean toward carrying too much equipment, but I like having the appropriate tool for the job, which the Hi-Lift sometimes is and sometimes isn't, but you can make it do a lot of things. I have owned one for almost 30 years and the extent of maintenance I have performed is to hose it down with some PB blaster before each use. Other that that it sits hidden, but exposed between my tool box and bed wall.
I do the same thing, after it rains, just to make sure it will function when needed. I spray the pins and every place a moving part attaches. I carry a can of PB Blaster (or WD-40) in my truck always, along with just about everything else for minor maintenance.