Buyer's Guide for Car Lifts, Automotive Lifts, Truck Lifts & Motorcycle Lifts
How To Choose The Proper Car, Auto, Truck,
Or Motorcycle Lift For Your Application
Whether you're an avid DIYer working in your own garage, or in a commercial shop, automotive lifts are a vital
piece of equipment. With the many different styles of car lifts, truck lifts, and motorcycle lifts, you can fix
anything on wheels, but you'll want to choose wisely. Each style is designed for a specific type of vehicle or
job, and if you don't keep this in mind, you can do a lot of damage to yourself and the vehicle.
Before choosing which type of car hoist is best for you and your needs, take time to learn what's available. This will ensure that you get the perfect type of hoist for the job. While we carry several different manufacturers, our BendPak Car Lifts are among the finest, and with their huge selection, they're sure to have one suitable for whatever job you'll be facing. But we carry a large selection of manufacturers, from good, better, and best. At ASE Deals, we offer a wide variety of automotive lifts to meet even the most challenging repair needs.
A Look At The Many Car Lifts Available
The type of repairs you'll be making and the kind of vehicles you work on will ultimately determine which of the available lifts you'll need. However, you'll also want to consider where you'll be using this equipment, how much space you'll have, and how frequently you'll be using the lift.
Here are a few of the different car, truck lifts and motorcycle lifts available:
• Two Post Lifts - From premium manufacturers like BendPak, Challenger, ATLAS, Forward, Dannmar, Ideal, LaunchTech USA, Tuxedo and more. Choose from clear floor and floor plate models up to 18,000 lbs capacity.
• Four Post Car Lifts and truck lifts -- Also known as drive on lifts. BendPak Car Lifts has a number of hydraulic car and truck lifts available. These use a pump to compress and force a hydraulic fluid through cylinders, which gives the lift power and added safety.
• Car Parking Lifts - suitable for storing one automobile over another. There are many different styles available• In-Ground or Pit Automotive Lifts -- Generally hydraulic or electric/hydraulic powered, these lifts can either be flush mounted into the floor or sit on it's surface to provide you with a time and space saving option. They also handle a large amount of weight and give you the convenience of driving on and off the lift.
• Portable Automotive Lifts and scissor lifts -- If you travel to auto or trade shows, you'll find these portable versions easy to move, set up, and hassle-free. They're also great for shops that want to keep bays free from clutter when needed. They're also popular with the home / hobbyist crowd.
• Specialty Lifts Motorcycle lifts and others -- Generally found in the smaller models such as motorcycle lifts and utility vehicle lifts, these motorcycle / ATV lifts use basic air pressure from an air compressor to raise and lower the platform.
Evaluate Features Of Car Lifts, Automotive Lifts, Truck Lifts & Motorcycle Lifts
Each type of automotive lift comes in a number of different configurations and with a number of features. And, it's these features that make all the difference between BendPak Car Lifts and its competitors. Match the features of these automotive lifts to your needs, and you'll discover just how easy repairs and maintenance can be.
Here are several types of car hoists to consider:
• Two Post Lifts -- This type of lift is the most popular style of lift for a busy auto shop, because it allows you the greatest access to all of the vehicle for service purposes.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a two post model that best suits your needs.
First, do you want a clear floor model, or a floorplate model?
All two post lifts feature equalizer cables and hydraulic lines that run across from one column to the other. These lines must run in one of two locations - either at the top of each column, through a conduit, (clear floor style) or, on the floor, under a plate (floor plate style).
Clear floor models will stand taller than the floor plate models. So you'll want to measure to make sure you have adequate ceiling height for one. if you have a low ceiling, you will likely need to choose a floor plate model. That's the main reason why floor plate models exist - so you can fit one under a low ceiling. All things being equal, most folks would prefer a clear floor model, because they don't want to deal with rolling a transmission jack, oil drain or tool box over a floor plate. The floor plate typically stand about an inch and a half above the floor, and are ramped up on either side to make it easier to roll things over them.
Many of the better clearfloor models have a direct-drive design, which relies on the hydraulic cylinders for lift action rather than chains and cables that wear out frequently. This saves you money and time on repairs while improving safety. XPR models have larger equalizer cable pulleys, superior arm restraints, and a sturdier design to ensure everything lasts longer and stays safer.
Chain drive models utilize a large chain in conjunction with a hydraulic cylinder to do the lifting. Most floor plate models will utilize a chain drive system, because their columns are not tall enough to allow the full 12 foot stroke a cylinder would need on a direct drive model.
Symmetric vs asymmetric -
Symmetric models center the vehicle's weight between two opposing posts and are ideal for rear end heavy vehicles. Asymmetrical models set the automobile further back on the lift. This orientation give you greater ability to open the doors wider when entering or exiting the vehicle. Most garage owners prefer asymmetric style lifts for typical passenger cars, while symmetric models are preferred for larger trucks and vans.
Most typical passenger cars will actually balancer out better asymmetric, and most longer trucks and vans balance out better symmetric. Many manufacturers now make models that offer the best of both worlds - you can position a vehicle either way on the lift. This provides you with complete versatility with only one lift. So you don't need to purchase multiple lifts to get any and every job done. Different manufacturers use different terms for this dual capability. For instance, Challenger uses the term "versymmetric", while IDEAL uses the term "bisymmetric", and BendPak uses the term "true-metric". But they all mean the same thing - that you can position the vehicle either way, to help keep the center of gravity of the auto as close to the columns as possible.
Features to look for -
Many other factors help differentiate a quality two post lift from an average lift. Premium models will offer exceptional features like triple telescoping front arms which make it possible to work on wider vehicles by allowing you to reach the jacking points easily. Three stage arms will allow you to extend, and retract the arms just a little bit further, which provides you greater capabilities in handling any type of vehicle that comes through your shop doors.
Other features, like screw pads, that allow you to adjust the pad height by just screwing up or down. While some models only provide different height stackable height adapters.
Superior models will offer a single point safety release, as opposed to a two point safety release system, where you would need to walk over to the other column to disengage the safeties.
There are many accessories available for a two post lift. Some manufacturers will include some, or all of these accessories, while others will sell them separately, as options. These include frame cradle pads, truck adapters or extensions, column extensions, turf adapter equipment kits, and more.
• Four Post Lifts -- These commercial quality auto and truck lifts will make any commercial auto shop, hobbyist or DIYer happy. They are suitable for both servicing cars and trucks in a busy auto shop as well as for storing one car over another in a home garage. Four post lifts are quicker and easier to drive on and off, and are safer than a two post lift as well.
Factors to consider when choosing a 4 post lift -
Storage or service?
Are you using this lift to service vehicles or for storing one car over another? In a busy auto shop, the most common capacity lift you'll find is 14,000 lbs. This capacity allows you to service a wide variety of automobiles, including light trucks, vans, passenger cars, and smaller cars. We carry models all the way up to 40,000 lb. capacity for heavy trucks if needed. If you specialize in sports cars, you may want to consider a lighter duty lift, like a 9,000 lb capacity model. These will be better suited for smaller sports cars, which typically have a lower profile, and allow you to drive up onto the runways without bottoming out the underside of the car due to the low ground clearance.
Four post lifts are by far the most popular option for the home crowd Home hobbyists, car collectors, and car buffs typically will get a four post lift for their home garage that they use for both servicing their personal autos, as well as for car storage / parking. These range from 7,000 lb. capacity up to 9,000 pounds. If you're using the lift to store one vehicle over another, odds are you've got a collection of classic cars or sports cars and not enough floor space in your home garage to store them. This is a common problem with our customers. You can always rent a space at a local car storage facility. Or you could add on to your existing garage. But the most economical solution is to purchase a 4 post lift.
But how do I do brake and wheel work with a 4 post lift?
This is the most common question for people who consider a 4 post rack for servicing autos. The one drawback to a 4 post lift for servicing cars is that your wheels are resting on the runways, and you can't get the wheels off the runways. To free-wheel a car on a 4 post lift, you will need to get an accessory called a rolling bridge jack, sliding bridge jack, or jack plate. The commercial grade 4 post car lifts feature a channel on the inside edge of each runway that will accommodate various accessories, The commercial grade rolling jacks roll up and down the length of the runways on that channel, and utilize air from your shop air compressor to raise and lower the vehicle one axle at a time so you can access the wheels for brake and tire work. The home hobby lifts will usually offer a more affordable alternative to the full, commercial grade air powered rolling bridge jack. There are several options, including a hydraulic rolling jack, hydraulic sliding jack, and finally, the more affordable option, which is just a jack plate. This is just a plate of steel that spans across from one runway to the other, and you would place it in the area of the frame jacking points of your vehicle, and then place your own bottle jacks or scissor jacks on it to correspond with the frame jacking points on your car.
Cable drive or chain drive? -
In the past, most four post hoists used to be chain drive, but more recent years have seen a huge transition over to cable drive for several reasons. Most importantly, it is a safer design, with the hydraulic cylinder being tucked up underneath the runway, rather than running across the top of the front column to the top of the opposite rear column on the chain drive models. This cylinder placement on a chain drive lift can be particularly impractical if you leave the vehicle door open when raising the lift. In the past, one of the main reasons someone may prefer a chain drive lift over a cable drive lift is that the cables wear out quicker, and need to be replaced sooner. However most premium manufacturers now offer larger diameter cable pulleys on their cable drive lifts, which greatly increases cable life expectancy. As a result, very few manufacturers offer chain drive models any longer.
Features to look for -
The commercial four post lifts will typically offer runways that can be adjusted closer together or further apart, depending on the automobile that you are raising up on it. In most cases, the 7,000 , 8,000 and 9K models for the home hobby customers have fixed runways that cannot be adjusted. Most premium 4 post lift models will offer a superior laddered safety system, that automatically engages every 4 inches or so. You'll find the ladder safety system is particularly convenient if you're working on an uneven floor, since you can level out the locking position in each column if necessary.
The home / hobby four post models are also capable of being free-standing. They actually don't need to be bolted to the concrete. Many home customers find this feature particularly convenient.
We mentioned the rolling jacks, sliding jacks, and jack plates previously. These would be the most popular accessory. Other options include extra long approach ramps for low profile sports cars, oil drains that roll up and down the length of the runways, , and for the home / hobby lifts, drip trays to protect the car being parked underneath. They even offer a caster / wheel kit for the home / hobby models, so that they can be rolled around your garage from one bay to the other, or even outside the garage if the lift will fit through your doors.
• Scissor Lifts -- In most cases, the main benefit of a scissor lift is it doesn't occupy as much floor space as a two post or 4 post lift. Although they are not intended for long-term storage, many scissor lifts give you plenty of space to work underneath regardless of the type of vehicles or repair. Some models give you a maximum lift of more than 69" and are suitable for most low profile vehicles. There are several options in this category ranging from low rise to mid rise, and even full rise models. Plus, some are portable as well.
Factors to consider when choosing a scissor car lift -
Full rise, Mid rise, or Low rise?
How high do you want to be able to raise the vehicle? Do you want to be able to stand up underneath it? If so, you'll need a full rise model. These typically raise to a height of 70 inches or so. Most full rise models offer an open center, which allows you complete access to the underside of the automobile. So you can perform any and all work that you would do with a two post lift, without taking up the same amount of floor area in your work bay.
Mid rise scissor lifts are the most popular by far. These models typically raise to about 48 inches or so. There are many varieties, including many that are portable. Roll it around from one bay to the other. Where ever you need it. And they don't take up much space. You can just park a car over it when it's not in use, so you won't even know it's there. Some models will offer an open center, so you can access the full underside of the car, while the portable models will not. These lifts are very popular with body shops, brake shops, as well as home car buffs.
There are several low rise models to choose from, and many are also portable. These handy lifts typically offer a lifting height of about 28 inches or so.
Factors to look for -
Besides lifting height, the most important factor in your decision making process should be - portable or mounted?
Portability is a very popular and handy feature, but when a lift is portable, it eliminates the capability of being an open center lift. So you won't be able to access the entire underside of the car. So no transmission work, no catalytic converters, etc....
Some scissor car lifts offer an SUV adapter kit, which allows you to get at frame jacking points on certain vehicles that might be difficult to access.
Alignment Lifts - These can be a sub-set of 4 post lifts and scissor lifts. Offering 4 wheel alignment service could be a very rewarding investment for your auto shop. Featuring radius turn-plates on the front, and full floating slip plates in the rear, these lifts have what you need integrated into the rack's runways to perform accurate and professional wheel alignments. If you want to become a serious garage, and add a very lucrative revenue stream, offering alignments can certainly add to your bottom line.
Factors to consider when choosing an alignment lift -
Scissor alignment rack, or four post alignment lift?
Each has it's own benefits. The scissor alignment rack will take up less space in your garage, and also will not have any cross-members getting in your way when you are going back and forth between the runways. This is a productivity enhancement, and is very desirable. but it comes at a cost. Scissor alignment lifts are typically significantly more expensive than the comparable 4 post alignment rack. Four post alignment lifts are typically much less expensive than their scissor lift counterparts, and there are many more models to choose from at different lengths, width, and lifting capacity.
Factors to look for -
Many manufacturers also offer a standard closed - front 4 post alignment lift, as well as an open front model. Again, the open front models are typically significantly more expensive than the closed front models. Many of the finer quality models will offer different pockets for the turn plate placement, depending on the length of the vehicle being serviced.
Cost - As stated earlier, alignment service can add a great new revenue stream for your business, but it requires a hefty up-front investment. This equipment is expensive. Don't forget, we do offer financing.
Some manufacturers offer package deals that include everything you need, including the front turnplates, rear slip plates, rolling jacks and air line kit. Others sell everything separately. Some may include the rear slip plate, but not the front turnplates. So be certain to check each model to confirm what is included, and what is optional.
• Specialty Car Lifts -- There are also a number of Specialty automotive lifts, car lifts, and truck lifts available for special vehicles and jobs that don't fit into any specific category:
Many different types to choose from. From pit lifts for lube shops, to unique and innovative portable two post lifts, and single post portable service lifts, to huge mobile column truck lifts that raise in sets two, for or six up to over 100,000 pounds!
Portable low-rise lift styles are ideal in a small shop since you can set them up and store them away quickly and easily. These electric/hydraulic car lifts can usually handle up to 6,000 lbs with ease but some offer capacity up to 10,000 lbs. and their dropped cross bar gives you added clearance and space to work. There's no more trying to fit tools in between the vehicle and the lift, and no more banging your hands on the lift!
Pit Lifts - With their quick hydraulic / electric 6,000 lb to 10,000 lb. lifting capacity, low profile, and open center design, pit car lifts from Bend Pak Lifts are ideal for quick lube shops. You'll find that they are extremely affordable despite their superior quality and ease of use. Simply drive on, get the job done, drive off, and move on to the next job.
Single post automotive service lift - This lift is truly unique, and worth a look for any busy shop. It's like a cross between a forklift, and a pallet jack. At 6,000 lbs. capacity, it's perfect for servicing disables vehicles out in the lot, or move it from one bay to the next. This model is extremely popular!
Heavy-Duty Mobile Column Truck Lifts -- No job is too big! This style can lift 72,000 lbs. (set of four) in under a minute thanks to its superior strength and quality. This style also features additional stabilization features, security, and locking systems. Available in sets of two, four and six. They are also available in 12V DC or 220V AC options.
Parking or Storage lifts - BendPak Car Lifts offer numerous styles for vehicle storage as well. These parking lift styles are stable, durable, and most importantly, secure. While the 4 post parking lift is the most popular for storing one automobile over another, there are several other varieties available. If you need automotive lifts that will take the weight and stand up to the prolonged strain.
There are many different choices, including extreme height models, and multiple car models.
Here are some parking / storage lift choices:
Two Post Automotive Lifts -- Made with a wider platform and available in standard or extended rise. These two-post storage lifts from BendPak will work almost anywhere there is a solid concrete floor. The dual synchronization keeps it the deck level and auto safety locks keep it in place. It's maintenance-free composite carriage bearings and self-lubricating chain rollers mean that looking after these heavy-duty lifts is a breeze.
Single Post Automotive Parking Lifts -- Mounted, single-arm platform lifts are ideal for cars, trucks, boats, recreational vehicles, and almost anything else you can park on it. They're available in standard and
extended rise with removable center panels ensure you get the most out of the space you have available.
Flip-up ramps create secure wheel chocks, and there are several addition safety features as well. The wider,
low profile deck and heavy-duty construction will keep even the widest vehicles safe.
Four Post Parking lifts - Bar far, these are the most popular option for storing one car over another, for several reasons. They are the most versatile, they come in many different varieties, and they are the most affordable.
• Motorcycle Lifts and ATV and UTV lifts -- Available in several different styles, you'll find these motorcycle lifts in a variety of electric / hydraulics, air, and manual power driven models. These motorcycle lifts are extremely portable and easy to store. Choose from a platform or open jack styles.
What is ALI Certification?
ALI (The Automotive Lift Institute) is the only recognized authority in North America when it comes to lift safety and quality. Most lifts are not ALI certified. So it means a lot when a lift is ALI Certified. When a car lift is ALI certified, you know that it was thoroughly tested by an independent lab to confirm it meets or exceeds specific standards. They not only test the lifts well beyond their rated capacity, but they also require specific safety features as well as confirming that the manufacturing process is detailed, safe and they meet quality control guidelines. You can confirm if a lift is ALI certified on our web site on any product page. We will have the proud ALI Certified logo displayed in the upper right side on the product page.
Buy with confidence!
BendPak Lifts along with all our other manufacturers numerous automotive lifts, car lifts, truck lifts, and motorcycle lifts have resulted in thousands of satisfied customers during our 25 years in business.
View our customer testimonials for Two Post Car Lifts and Four Posts automotive lifts to find out what they had to say and see pictures of our lifts in action.
And please call us with any questions at 800-229-6218 or 860-626-9633. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Our expert staff will set you up with the model that's right for you. Unlike many other distributors, we're not just order-takers, we're seasoned professionals who know what questions to ask to fit you with the right model for your application.
And don't forget, we sell, service, and install nationwide.