Automotive lifts, including car lifts, truck lifts, or motorcycle lifts, are a vital piece of equipment in any garage. In fact, you can get one for your home garage or commercial repair shop to raise almost anything with wheels, in almost any configuration, but you’ll need to choose wisely. Each model is designed specifically to hold a certain type of vehicle, and if you ignore this fact, it can be dangerous or even deadly.
Before you choose one, take some time to get familiar with the many different types of hoists and their features. This will make it easy for you to find the one that works the best for the job you have in mind and keep you safe at the same time.
Types Of Car Lifts, Automotive Lifts, Truck Lifts & Motorcycle Lifts
The type of auto lift you need will depend on the vehicle you’ll be working on, how often you’ll use it, where you’ll be using it, and how much space you have available. Once you know that, you can match your needs to one of the available types, which include:
o Mechanical Styles — Also called a manual jack, this style raises and lowers with the use of a pedal, handle, pins, screws, or bolts. They are often found in smaller hoists including motorcycle and utility lifts. o Hydraulic Automotive Lifts — This method compresses a special liquid and uses a pump to force it through cylinders. This gives it added safety while making them easy to use.
o Electric/Hydraulic Truck & Car Lifts — This style has added stability and security while ensuring the entire system works quickly and smoothly.
o In Ground or Pit Models — Best used when space is at a premium and you need convenience, this style sits into the floor allowing you to drive the vehicles on and off. They run on hydraulics or electric/hydraulic systems, so they’re easy, fast and can move a decent amount of weight.
o Portable Automotive Lifts — If you travel frequently and need something you can take with you, these smaller versions are hassle-free regardless of the style you choose. o Air Powered Models — Generally reserved for motorcycle lifts and small utility/recreational vehicle lifts, you simply have to hook this style up to an air compressor to raise and lower the hoist.
Features Of Each Type Of Car Lift, Automotive Lift, Truck Lift & Motorcycle Lift
Once you know what type of car lifts will work best for you, take a closer look at the details to decide which one would be the best purchase. Automotive lifts for trucks and cars come in several main styles:
o Two Post Car Lifts — Great for home garages, this style takes up very little space and comes in two different styles: Symmetrical, which has two posts across from each other to center the weight (better for vehicles heavier in the rear), and asymmetrical, which holds the weight toward the front leaving room to access the interior of the vehicle.
o Four Posts Models — With a sturdier build, the four post style remains stable even under a heavier load and make it easy for you to drive the vehicles directly onto it.
o Scissor Styles — While unsuitable for permanent storage, they are ideal for a home garage. Both professionals and avid DIYers prefer this style for the increased access to the undercarriage and the ability to hold larger vehicles like buses.
o Low-Rise Models– These have a dropped crossbar and low profile to prevent body damage and give you the room you need to work.
o Pit Hoists– Whether you have a pit or want to save space, pit style automotive lifts make quick lube and tire rotation a breeze. With no cross bar, you have plenty of room to work. Portable or permanent mount, you decide.
When you need to store a vehicle, you need a model with stable and secure construction. Two automotive lifts that are ideal for storage include:
o Single Post Car Lifts — Suitable for cars, trucks, boats, and recreational vehicles, this style’s single-armed, wide platform is mounted for long-lasting stability.
o Two Post Car Lifts — With no anchoring or mounting, you can double your storage wherever there’s a concrete floor. The sturdy platform safely holds vehicles and keeps the entire undercarriage protected.
Larger vehicles like tour buses are tough, but they still require maintenance. Therefore, you’ll need a heavy-duty mobile column truck lift that can handle the weight and give you enough clearance to work comfortably. These easily lift approximately 64,000 pounds in as little as a minute and have added security, locks, and stabilization.
If you’ll be doing a lot of alignments, consider a two post, four post, or scissor alignment lift with an open front and clear center. Lawn maintenance and utility vehicles require a special turf equipment lift that will give you space and be fully adjustable to fit almost anything you can park on it.
Motorcycle lifts are available in several different styles, but use very little space and are very portable. While some use a pedal, others are air powered, or use a combination of electricity and hydraulics to raise the platforms.
Automotive lifts come in all different configurations, and choosing the right one will make a world of difference when it comes to actually doing the repairs. Simply match the right piece of equipment to the right job and you’ll discover just how quick and easy repairs can be.