What Is a Car Lift and How Much Do They Cost?


No item looks cooler when optimizing a garage than a car lift. These magnificent machines are ideal for DIYers who want to learn the intricacies of their vehicles. However, finding a top-notch lift for your garage can be difficult.

The first consideration for home mechanics is cost. Some people may be able to afford any lift they desire. However, this equipment is out of reach for many people for the most part. But don’t worry; we’re here to point you in the right direction. What is a car lift, and how much does one cost to install in your garage?

What Exactly Are Car Lifts?

Car lifts are excellent, convenient solutions for those who require additional vehicle storage in their garage. Car lifts are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners with limited storage space, and these simple tools are excellent for optimizing the space inside your garage to create extra storage space.

Car lifts are also great for organizing your garage because they use the vertical space in your garage to raise one auto off the ground, letting another vehicle be parked beneath it. Car lifts can support significant weight loads, are safe, and are simple to use daily.

Most dealerships, auto repair shops, and collision centers require car lifts. They make repairs more efficient and straightforward. Purchasing a car lift necessitates a significant investment, ranging from $1,500 to over $10,000. Nonetheless, a high-quality lift can last a lifetime, and you will repay the investment in additional revenue.

Types of Car Lifts

Car lifts come in various sizes and configurations. Some are intended for light trucks and cars, while others are intended for buses and large trucks, and still, others are intended for smaller vehicles such as ATVs and motorcycles.

Four Post Lift

a four-post lift inside a car mechanic shop

The four-post lift is the most versatile and popular car lift available. Its sturdy structure makes it suitable for both heavy and light vehicles. They do, however, have weight limits that may limit some heavier vehicles for safety reasons.

As its name suggests, a four-post lift comprises four posts at every corner, forming a rectangular base. The pillars hold up a ramp-like structure, allowing the car to access the elevating platform.

As previously mentioned, one feature of the four-post lift is its stability. The entire structure is tough, and even a novice mechanic can use it to elevate a vehicle for repairs.

Two Post Lifts

Other types of car elevators available on the market include two-post automotive lifts. They are more prominent in the auto racing scene, but they can be found in your garage. One advantage of this type of lift is the large area of exposure provided when lifted, which allows for appropriate auto tuning when operating from underneath.

As the name implies, it is constructed of two posts that resemble two pillars. Arms jutting out in a triangular shape under the two posts serve as the point of attachment for the car’s base when lifted. The lift is appropriate for small vehicles such as minitrucks and minivans.

In-Ground Auto Lifts

When it comes to saving space, in-ground auto lifts are another excellent option. Their base and hydraulic lift system are installed beneath the ground. When it is necessary to use the lifts, the vehicle positions itself directly above the elevator.

A switch attached to the elevator activates it, raising the vehicle to the desired level. When not being used, the lifting podium is at ground level, providing plenty of space. It’s a great addition for medium to large-sized garages.

They vary in weight limits, just like any other car lift. There are in-ground vehicle lifts supporting smaller cars and heavy-duty lifts that work with larger vehicles such as buses and trucks.

Scissor Lifts

a car lifted by scissor lifts in a garage

If you have limited garage space, scissor lifts are a good option. It comprises two platforms that are superimposed on top of each other. A series of retractable levers extend in a zigzag pattern between them to affect the lift. The scissor lift obtains its name from the zigzagging action of the bars.

Portable Lift

The portable car lift is among the most innovative designs. It is an appropriate option if you’re a remote worker who travels to various workstations to fulfill your automobile tuning duties. It has a straightforward design that consists of supporting extensions and a lifting panel.

Alignment Lifts

Wheel alignment is an essential car maintenance part. It ensures that all wheels are at the proper angles to prevent slanting while the car is on the road. The alignment lifts are the best automobile elevators to rely on when it comes to wheel maintenance.

The alignment lift is rather sophisticated, with an almost identical design to the four-post lift. It has a ramp for entering the vehicle onto the lifting space and comes in various styles. They also come in various weight capacities to accommodate a variety of vehicles, from small cars to bigger automobiles like trucks.

Mobile Column Lifts

Mobile column lifts come out on top when it comes to efficiency in automotive lifts. This lift comprises four or six individual columns, each with movable wheel forks to accommodate different wheel sizes. They are strong lifts that are typically used in larger vehicles.

Parking Lifts

Parking lifts are another useful piece of car elevating equipment in your workshop or garage. The parking lifts save space by parking in a vertical pattern on a platform. Compared to the traditional horizontal allocation, which can only accommodate a few cars, this formation saves space.

Parking lifts are available in various configurations, with a few accommodating two vehicles. Others go the extra mile and can accommodate up to ten cars stacked on top of each other.

Average Car Lift Prices

a car lifted by a two-post lift inside a garage

Generally, the higher the lift capacity, the higher the price.  Four-post and two-post lifts with a 10,000 capacity cost between $1,500 and $3,500. Budget $3,000-$6,000 for models with a 14,000-pound capacity.

On the other hand, in-ground lifts typically cost between $6,000 and $10,000. They are significantly more costly due to the additional technology required and the complexity of installation. Meanwhile, scissor and parallelogram lifts are typically priced at $10,000 or more.

Installation is sometimes included in the cost of an auto lift. If not, it’s typically not too expensive. A two-post lift may cost $300-$500 to install, whereas a four-post lift may cost $750-$1,000. The cost of scissor and parallelogram lifts rises to $1,000-$1,500.

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