Automotive Lift Options – Part 1
There are many different Automotive Lift types, styles and designs out there on the market today.
Prior to the 1980’s, if you walked into a typical auto shop, you would most likely find an In-Ground Lift. In-Ground Lifts have the hydraulic reservoir located below the garage floor, in the concrete. They typically employ the use of one or more hydraulic cylinders. Some Lifts may be powered by air instead of hydraulics. In Ground lifts are very versatile, and can conform to almost any vehicle configuration. These lifts typically are frame engaging lifts, meaning that they have arms that can be adjusted to conform to meet the vehicles frame jacking points. In Ground Lifts are becoming less popular these days due to the fact that they are more expensive to install, and there are Hazmat concerns if the hydraulic oil begins to leak out of it’s reservoir.
These days, surface mounted lifts have become the most popular style of car lift. And of all suface mounted lifts, the Two Post Lift is the most common. Two Post lifts are mounted to the concrete floor with anchors. When installing a two post lift, it is vital that your concrete is of adequate thickness and hardness. Most two post lifts are powered by an electric motor powering a hydraulic pump. The pump will then power a hydraulic cylinder located in each column. From there, the cylinder can lift the lift carriage directly, (direct drive lift), or can work in conjunction with a chain or cables. Two post lifts must be synchronized so that they lift at the same pace. These lifts will typically be frame engaging lifts that lift the vehicle from it’s frame jacking points. This style of lift is popular because it is affordable, fairly easy to install and maintain, and allow to greatest access to all of the car for servicing. Most two post lifts are full-rise lifts, meaning they will raise the vehicle to adequate height so that you can stand up underneath it to service the car. Two Post Lifts can be broken down into two categories – Clear-floor, or floor-plate lifts. Clear-floor models have the cross-member at the top of the posts. This cross-member acts as a conduit for hydraulic lines and equalizer cables that must go from one column to the other. Floor plate lifts keep this cross-member on the floor, under a plate, hence the term “floor plate”. These lifts are primarily purchased by people who’s ceiling is not tall enough for a clear-floor model. Floor plate models will typically be under 10 feet tall.
In our next post, we will follow with descriptions of more types of lifts.