How To Use A Car Lift ? Important Tips and Tricks

As a mechanic in the automotive repair, maintenance, and tuning sector, you are as good as the pieces of equipment in your possession. Among the equipment you can invest in with a guarantee to make operations in your premises more comfortable is the car lift. You need to know how to use a car lift if you are to make worthy of your stint in your workplace.

The car lift is the implement that you use to raise vehicles to a certain altitude. The purpose of the lift is usually to provide a wide area for accessibility in the repair and tuning of the car. It beats shortcomings such as visibility and the risk of knocking over, which is common in auto-engineering.

The lift might also be used for parking purposes where the elevation creates more room for the accommodation of other vehicles. This use is extensive for premises that have a high vehicle capacity.

There are several types of car lifts in the market, coming with a wide variety of features to meet various needs. They include the four-post lift, two-post lift, and portable automotive lift, among many others.

How To Use A Car Lift: Step By Step Guide

When you get equipment for your garage, you need to know how to operate it for it to meet its purposes. The same applies to the automotive elevator. Once you get it and have it installed, you need to know how to operate it, focusing on safety measures as a slight hitch can spell perilous results.

As a proficient mechanic, the following are the steps on how to use the car elevator.

How To Use A Car Lift

Step 1

Slowly drive the car to the lifting platform and shift the transmission to neutral. Lock all doors and ensure there is nobody inside the vehicle before the lift. Look out for overhead installations that may come in the way of the elevation, such as antennas and car overhead racks. If your premises have a lower height reach, which may interfere with the installations, you may consider temporarily uninstalling them before the elevation.

Step 2

For the second step, you need to secure the wheels or the elevator’s arms to the respective points of attachment. Here you need to focus on the type of car lift you have. The two post-car lift lifting points depend on whether the elevator is symmetrical or asymmetrical.

Fasten the arms to the base of the car and confirm to ensure it’s stable. The two-post lift can be tricky to operate, and you need to ensure the vehicle is at the proper center of balance.

What Is The Procedure To Lift A Vehicle On A Four Post Lift?

Using the four-post lift is easy as you set the car on the rainy platform and ensure the chocks are in place for the vehicle not to slip during the elevation. Start raising the lift slowly as a confirmation of the functioning of the chocks and wheel pads.

How To Use A Car Lift

Step 3

Initiate the lift once you are sure that it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the car. Once raised to the required elevation level, look around to be sure that it is placed right. You can now conduct your tuning on the car, or if for parking purposes, leave it until you need it.

Once the car is above the auto lift, ensure there is no impact or shakes subjected to it as it may lead the car to topple. However, toppling is a rare eventuality if you invest in a robust car lift. Always countercheck with the chocks or locking mechanism for the stability of the vehicle atop the elevator.

Step 4

The final stage focuses on how to lower the car lift to the ground once done with it. Before lowering the vehicle, ensure there is nothing underneath the platform. Lower it gradually until it reaches the ground.

You can now unlock the locks and chocks, and the vehicle is free to move.

Safety Measures To Adhere To When Using The Car Lift

When using the car lift, you need to know that you are dealing with a load that has a lot of weight.  In the event of any miscalculation, the result may be hazardous. The main danger in this situation is the car falling, which can cause serious injuries or damage to property. The following are some key points to look at to keep accidents at bay when using the car elevator.

Get A Suitable Elevator

The first safety measure lies in the acquisition of the car elevator. As earlier indicated, there are several types of car elevators in the market. As such, you need to have a clear idea of what elevator you want based on the cars you deal in at your garage and also your preference. Also, check on the weight limit of the lift.

Have An Eye For Its Maintenance

Do not forget the maintenance part, as it ensures the car lift is always in its best working integrity. You need to check on it to ascertain that it is working well and that there are no damages to it. You can check if it is damaged by checking for any drips or traces of liquid on the hydraulic chamber.

A worthy move is to acquire the lift from manufacturers that offer free checks up on the elevator, even if it is once a year. At least you have the surety of professional handling of the garage equipment.

Have The Proper Personnel To Run It

One important thing on how to use a car lift jack is to have the right personnel man it. If it is in the garage, ensure whoever operates it has the right experience to provide amateurish shortcomings. Such shortcomings may spell hazards. Some lifts, such as the two-post lift, need some experience as they can be quite hard to handle.


How do you put a car on a lift?

When putting a car on the car lift, slowly drive up the ramp, put it under the neutral transmission, and turn off the ignition. Ensure there is no one inside the car and lock all doors. Once done, secure the wheels firmly by locking the chocks and lifting the vehicle.

What is the procedure to lift a car on a two-post lift?

The two-post lift is one of the best when looking at a more extensive access area for the car you are working on. To use it, you drive the vehicle between the two posts, making sure that the arms are retracted or out of the way. You then need to locate the lift points of the car. The lift points are the areas of attachments that ensure you have the proper center of gravity for balance when you raise the vehicle.

Once you secure the arms to the lift point, you can now initiate the elevation, making it gradual as it achieves the intended height.

How does a vehicle lift work?

The vehicle lifts are mostly hydraulic and borrow from Pascal’s principle of pressure. The actuator piston is where you exert the pressure on the hydraulic fluid, and it transmits the force to the lift causing the platform to rise. There is also an intricate connection between electronics and mechanical parts for the whole system to work smoothly.

How much space do you need for a car lift?

The space requirements depend on the type of car lift that you prefer. The standard car lift requires five to six feet to accommodate the vehicle’s height of six feet under the fixture. Roughly twelve feet of ceiling height is ideal for the automotive lift.

How do you bleed air from an automotive lift?

Bleeding air from the hydraulic chambers releases any trapped reserve air. Most lifts have bleeding screws. To bleed air, raise the lift roughly twelve inches above the ground and open the bleeder screw on either cylinder of the elevator. Tighten the screw when you diminish air, and instead, liquid comes out. Follow up by raising and lowering the lift for air circulation in the cylinders.

Which is the safest car lift?

The idea of safety depends on your level of experience and expertise in working with different automobile elevators. For new users, the four-post lift is the safest as it is quite easy to use and is also stable.


Automotive lifts are essential pieces of equipment that you can have in your auto garage to cement your place as a top mechanic. They have several purposes, key among them providing a full access area for mechanical tuning of the car, more so when working underneath.

There are several types of lifts in the market s, as earlier hinted, and you can get the one meeting your preferences. Once you have it on your premises, you need to know how to operate it, focusing on safety measures for a smooth stint using it.

Ensure regular maintenance for it to be in great shape and reduce the chances of unexpected breakdowns that can be dangerous.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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