Having the right tools and equipment in your home garage is definitely appreciated – even if you are not a professional, there are some devices that you should keep in the garage nonetheless. After all, you never know when you will need them.
One of such devices is a car lift. If you don’t know what it is, a car lift is a device you use to raise your vehicle off the ground – for example, when you need to check something in the undercarriage.
Types of Vehicle Lifts
Nowadays, there are more than a thousand different models of car lifts. However, not all of them will be suitable for use in your home garage – some of them are strictly designed for professional use. To understand which is which, here is a short guide on different types of vehicle lifts.
Four Post Lift
This is the most commonly encountered type of vehicle lift. Due to its sturdy structure, it is suitable for use with both light and heavy automobiles. As the name suggests, the lift is made of four posts at each corner. When choosing this type of lift, look at the weight limit, as well as the base area. What’s more, aside from repairs the four-post lift can be used for remote parking.
Two Post Lift
The two post car lifts are mostly encountered in automotive workshops, but you can also install one in your garage without major problems. It is suitable for use with smaller vehicles, minivans, and mini trucks.
One of its benefits is how much you can see when you lift the vehicle up. Like the name suggests, it involves two posts, which act like two pillars, with two arms under them, jutting out in a triangular shape – they hold up the vehicle.
A portable lift is a great choice if you are a remote worker, going from one automobile workshop to another. However, it should also work just fine for your home garage. Its design is very simple and consists of a lifting panel and supporting extensions.
When it comes to portable lifts, you can come across ones with a single platform or double-sided platform. The former ones accommodate the car’s base completely, while the latter ones are set on both sides of the vehicle.
In-Ground Auto Lifts
This is a great option for those who want to maximize the space in their garages, as the base and the hydraulic lift system is placed under the ground. Whenever you need to use it, you park the vehicle directly above it, turn on the lift with a switch, and raise it to the desired level.
When looking for an in-ground auto lift, pay close attention to the weight limit, as some are more suitable for use with small cars, while some are designed to work with heavier vehicles, such as trucks.
While many other types could be listed, as there are several more, the ones we mentioned above are the most suitable ones for home use.
Vehicle Lift – How Much?
When it comes to things like a vehicle lift, you cannot think only about strictly sticking to a budget – if you do, you might find yourself in a situation where instead of enjoying your time in the garage, it will be experiencing a total nightmare when trying to lift your car. Just because you were trying to save a few dollar bills.
While buying an expensive car lift does not always mean receiving a product made of high-quality materials, the extremely low-price automotive lift will most certainly be cheaply made. These create several risks, including:
- Thin steel construction
- Using undersized lifting cylinders, which are dangerous
- Either a compromised safety system or no safety system at all
- No engineering structural stability to speak of
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you have to buy the most expensive product on the market, because that definitely isn’t the case – just make sure that you are willing to pay at least the value that you hope to get out of it.
Generally speaking, a standard two-post car lift that can hold up to 10.000 pounds will cost something between $2.000 and $3.500 – more or less the same as a four-post auto lift. If you’d like a four-post car lift, with a capacity of 10.000, you will have to pay a couple of hundred dollars more. However, this is a great option if you have more than one vehicle, as you will be able to stack them up.
When buying a car lift, always check that the final price includes the shipping and installation costs.
Depending on what company you will be purchasing the car lift from, the shipping price might vary. Most companies have a free shipping policy, while others will require you to pay due to the product’s size.
Even if your DIY skills are quite advanced, you might still want to get help from a professional when it comes to the installation of objects as large as a car lift. Depending on the type of car lift you bought, you might need different actions to be performed, but generally speaking, here are the estimated costs of an installation:
- Installation of the car lift itself – $800
- Adding high-lift kit/equipment to the garage door – $700
- Anchoring to the garage floor – $250 (can be less if it’s done at the same time as the initial installation)
Additionally, you might need electrical work to be performed, as well as a compressor, but as we already said – this will vary depending on the model.
The Bottom Line
Nowadays, there are so many tools and devices available on the market, that knowing which ones are a necessity and which ones are just a luxury can be pretty hard. And while we cannot really tell you what to buy, we can tell you this – a car lift is a piece of essential equipment for your garage.
A car is just a machine, which means that it can break at any time – and as you probably know, visits to the automotive workshop can get pretty expensive. If something happens with your car, with a bit of help from the car lift, and some knowledge, you might be able to determine the cause of the problem. Think about it.