Residential areas often lack adequate parking space for vehicle owners, especially those who have more than one or two cars. In such a case, having to leave your car on the road or in another place where it is exposed to weather conditions or accidental scratches and dents is a big disadvantage. A car lift provides you more parking spaces without the burden of building extra parking bays and access ramps. People who like to or need to do repair work on their vehicles can easily access the underside of their automobile using a car lift. It saves you the hassle of lying under the car, which is risky and gets you dirty, too.
What Is a Car Lift?
A car lift or a forklift as some of them are also known, is mechanized automobile lifting equipment. This technology is used to lift and lower cars or shift them from one height to another, even without an occupant.
Most car lifts are hydraulic and work on the Pascal principle. Car lifts have hydraulic components, electronic parts to manage the elevator, and various safety vaults for risk-free movement of the vehicle.
There are numerous types of car lifts available, depending on your requirements, budget and car weight.
Any house or residential area generally offers one car parking space per owner, but often the number of vehicles is greater than the space available for them. In such a case, vertical arking is convenient and can hold more cars in the limited space that you have.
If you have more than one vehicle and no place to park it in your garage, you often look for off-site parking. But, it is difficult to keep an eye on your car and ensure no damage comes to it. With a car lift, you can park two cars, one over the other, in the same garage, provided it has enough roof height. Purchasing a car lift is an easier solution than constructing a new garage or building outdoor parking spaces.
People who like to tinker with their vehicles or prefer to do their own repair work can get better access to the underside of their cars using hydraulic lifts. It will save you from lying on the floor, rolling under your car and reaching out for tools that have been left far out of your reach.
1. More Parking Area
Installing a hydraulic lift is a wise use of the vertical space in your garage. By stacking cars on top of each other, you have space for two vehicles instead of one. If you use one vehicle more often than the other, you can park it below the other, so you don't need to keep shifting vehicles back and forth in your garage.
2. No Need for Off-site Parking
People who own luxury cars that are used only in certain seasons or places, often pay a lot for exclusive parking spots for the vehicles away from home. Hydraulic lifts can save that money and let you keep your car nearby.
3. Protection from Weather and Everyday Damage
A lot of vehicle owners are forced to park their cars on the road for lack of space. This exposes your car to wind, rain, hail, or scorching heat. You also cannot keep an eye out for troublemakers and kids who might scratch or dent your car. Having a car lift can keep your vehicle protected from harsh weather conditions and vandalism.
What Are Some Types of Car Lifts?
Two Post Lift
Two post lifts are the easiest hydraulic lifts to use. Just drive your car in and hoist it up. These are cheaper than the four post lifts. They come in two types- symmetric and asymmetric lifts. The former has a risk of doors getting a dent if they touch the posts while being opened. The latter has addressed this issue by having posts that are rotated to thirty-degree angles of each other while the front arms are shorter than the back ones. This helps balance the weight of the car and also prevents denting to doors. Two post lifts need to be bolted to the floor and cannot be moved around.
Four Post Lift
Four post lifts are common in the automobile repair industry. They are sturdier and safer than two post lifts due to the additional support provided by four posts. Many of these do not need to be anchored to the floor and so are a popular choice for homeowners as they can be moved from one place to the other. Manufacturers can provide you with casters that can be fitted to the bottom of the lift in order to move it around.
Scissor lifts raise vehicles using a mechanism that folds up or down like an accordion. These come in a large variety of size and height for different personal and professional requirements
Portable Automotive Lifts
Portable lifts give you the option of packing and storing the lift away when not in use. This saves space that is otherwise taken up by a lift that is installed at a particular location permanently. But, keep in mind that they have a limited lift capacity and cannot be used to hoist heavy vehicles.
These wheel engaging lifts are heavy duty lifts and are used in the automobile manufacturing and repairing industry.
Alignment Auto Lifts
This lift has a runway which the vehicle must be driven onto. It has the possibility to undertake alignment services due to its special features. This is also known as a “wheel engaging lift.” The runway has turn-and-slip plates built onto it so the wheels can be turned without any resistance. These are indispensable when it comes to repair work on automobiles.
Public Parking Lifts
These lifts only serve to park vehicles and not for any repair work underneath cars. They are smaller than four post lifts and are widely used at shopping malls, hotels, or cinemas. Public parking lifts can provide double or even triple stacking options in which three cars can be parked one above the other. They are mechanically operated and have automatically engaging spring actuated locks for safety.
What to Consider before Purchasing a Car Lift
There are multiple options you can choose from, depending on your needs.
If you are buying a car lift for repair work, you will need to look for one that allows you enough space to work under it. Scissor lifts may not be a great option for this. If you are just looking to park more cars, you can go for the two post or four post lift.
Availability of Space
Think of the area where you will be placing the hydraulic lift. If you have space constraints, you can think of a portable automotive lift that can be put away when not needed.
Vertical lifts are not much use if the roof height of your garage or repair area is low. For risk-free parking of two vehicles on top of one another, you need sufficient ceiling height. The height of your cars will make a difference too.
The weight of your vehicle will also determine which lift you can install. Portable lifts, for example, cannot lift heavy vehicles so choose a four-post lift instead that is sturdier and safer.
Price of the Car Lift
People look for the cheaper option when it comes to purchasing car lifts. But, if a particular type of hydraulic lift is what you need, and you buy another one just to save money, it will actually be a big loss for you. You will have spent money and still not be able to utilize the equipment because it may not be suitable for your cars, space, or purpose. You must consider the price, but the main requirement that needs to be fulfilled is your reason for getting a car lift in the first place.
Your use, available space, vehicle weight, and height are the different variables on which your choice of lift depends. A change in any of the variables will bring about a difference in your budget and in turn, affect your choice of the car lift.
Safety features in most lifts include front and back plates, safety lock bolts and switches to avoid the car rolling off ramps. Most four-post lifts have automated locking on all posts simultaneously rather than individual locking on each, which leaves room for human error.
Car Lift Installation and Safety
Before installing any lift, make sure you have adequate space not just for your lift, but also enough space around the lift for anything else you may need. You will need this space to work safely on your vehicle and move easily around the raised lift. For the best safety and health practice, you should have a minimum distance of about 60cm from any obstruction or wall around your lift. You should install the car lifts on a sturdy and concrete, level base. For the stability of the car lift, make sure your lift is not installed near the edges of your concrete base.
Think about your car lift as a long-term investment. It must serve your purpose, last long, and ensure the absolute safety of your vehicle and the people involved in operating and using it. So, check whether it meets all the standard regulations and has safety features. Don't compromise on quality or opt for cheaper equipment.
Understand your requirements and carefully choose the right car lift that will make your work easier.