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Four Very Important Things to Look For in a Car Lift

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Four Very Important Things to Look For in a Car Lift

Nick C.
October 24, 2007

Whether you've just opened a shop and are looking for a new car lift or you are seeking to replace one of your existing units, car lifts are nearly as complex and diverse as the vehicles that they lift. There are so many factors to consider (size, load capability, type, etc.) that choosing the appropriate car lift is often an arduous experience in and of itself.

Like a car, you will want to put some time and thought into choosing your car lift. Before you start looking you should sit down and really asses what you need from it. Generally, there are four important elements of a car lift to consider:

1. Load capability – Purchasing a lightweight lift that can only handle 7,000lbs will severely limit what vehicles you can safely lift with it. Conversely, heavy-duty lifts are much more expensive than their lighter counterparts. It is important that you determine how much weight you actually need to lift, and how much weight you may need to lift every now and again.

If the typical vehicle weight is around 3,200lbs, purchasing a lift that is capable of lifting 7,000lbs may seem ideal. However, will you ever need to lift a truck or van that is 9,000lbs and over?

2. Lift type – The vast majority of car lifts are hydraulic. This type of system is very reliable, established, and is also quite common. Most life are asymmetrical in design. The arms are preset to allow the driver's side door to be opened fully without hitting it on the post.

Both are capable of reliable operation and are quite economical. In fact, the only real advantage of the electronic lift is that it operates quieter when lifting.

3. Purpose – Will your lift be used as a storage lift, or will it be used for repairs and maintenance on vehicles? Since there are various designs for each purpose it is important to know exactly what you are going to be using it for. Why spend more for an asymmetrical lift if all you plan on doing is storing vehicles on it?

4. Design – Do you want an overhead lift (two sides and a cross member over top), or do you want a ramp-type lift? Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and both can be quite useful.

Though these aspects may seem not that much important, I can assure based on my experience that in order to get the most of your car lift you have to think about these aspects carefully.

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