8 Types of Car Lifts and Their Uses

When in the garage, be it at home or the workplace, you appreciate the presence of tools and equipment to help you in your duties. One of the pieces of equipment you can invest in for a worthy auto working environment is the car lift. The car lift specializes in the vertical rise of the car from the ground. There are several types of car lifts, and they come in handy when you want to make repairs or make some inspections under your vehicle.

Car lifts come in replacement of the amateur crawl beneath the vehicle to make the necessary tunings. Going under the car is quite hard, where there are visibility issues and a risk of knocking yourself. As such, this is an essential piece of equipment to invest in if you have an auto garage. As earlier hinted, there are several types of lifts in the market that you need to know of, to have the right match for your premises.

Different Types of Car Lift

Still focusing on the various types of car lifts, below are some that you may come across.

Four Post LiftFour Post Lift

The four-post lift is easily the most popular and versatile car lifts that you can come across. It is suitable for both light and heavy automobiles owing to its sturdy structure. However, they come with weight limits that may restrict some heavier automobiles for safety purposes.

Just as its name indicates, it is made of four posts at each corner, assuming a rectangular base shape. The pillars support a ramp-like structure that allows the car to get on the elevating platform.  One thing that stands out for the four-post lift is its stability, as earlier hinted. The entire structure is hardy, and even an amateur maintenance specialist can use it to elevate a car for repairs.

When you opt for the four-post lift, look at its specifications such as weight limit and also it’s base area. The wider the base area, the more versatile it is for use with various vehicles. Other features to pay attention to include the locking systems. It is a safety feature that allows you to set the attitude of elevation when lifting the vehicle. It curbs issues such as unwanted falls that can have dangerous results.

The four-post automotive lifts are good options for remote parking, aside from helping in repairs.

Two Post LiftsTwo Post Lifts

The two post automotive lifts are other car elevators you can come across in the market. They feature more prominently in the autosport scene though you can have them in your garage. One benefit of this type of lift is the vast area of exposure presented when lifted. As such, it allows for proper auto tuning when working from under.

Just like its name suggests, it is made up of two posts, which assume the shape of two pillars. Under the two posts, are arms jutting out in a triangular shape? The arms are the point of attachment for the vehicle’s base when you lift it.

The lift is suitable for use with smaller vehicles, minivans, and minitrucks.  The two post automotive elevators have two options, asymmetrical lifts, and symmetrical lifts. The asymmetrical lift brings the car to the center of the column allowing for interior access.  The arms are of different lengths and, at times, the configuration. The columns align to the car’s center of gravity with the result of equalizing the load.

The symmetrical lift, on the other hand, has arms of similar length, with the columns directly facing each other. They equalize the load on columns to maintain the vehicle’s center of gravity upon its uplift.

Scissor LiftsScissor Lifts

Scissors lifts are suitable options if you have a small space in your auto garage. It consists of two platforms superimposed over each other. Between them is a series of retractable levers that can extend in a zigzag manner to affect the lift. The action of the zigzagging bars lends it its name, the scissor lift.

The automotive scissor lifts come in many forms, with some being attached to the base of your garage. They are sturdier and can support a wide range of vehicle mass during elevation. The hydraulic car lift mechanism is also beneath your garage base and is, most of the time, electrically run.

Then there are the portable scissor lifts that are movable, and most have wheels for smooth movement. They have a hydraulic mechanism at their base to initiate the elevation when needed. They are mostly for use with smaller automobiles with low mass.

The accommodation platform also varies. You may come across some where the platform only accommodates the central part of the care between the wheels. Others accommodate the whole vehicle, including the wheels, with the platform having a rump-like design.

Portable LiftPortable Lift

The portable car lift is one of the best designs on the market. It is a suitable option if you are a remote worker, going to several workstations to perform your automobile tuning duties. It has a simplistic design consisting of a lifting panel and supporting extensions.

The hydraulic lift mechanism is likewise simple and is either electric or, most of the time, hand-operated with a pump-like device. The electric run hydraulic system can run when plugged into your car battery.

The accommodating platform varies according to the manufacturer and also the specifics of the vehicles you deal in. There are the long-wheelbase lifts suitable for long chasses and, similarly, short-wheelbase lifts for shorter chasses. There are also versatile types that are extensible and can be extended to fit different chassis lengths.

Still, on the platforms, you may come across a single platform or double-sided platforms.  The single platform is wide and accommodates the base of the car entirely. The sided ones, on the other hand, are set on both sides of the vehicle. When you initiate the pneumatic pump, the pressure exerts the lift on both sides to raise it.

In-Ground Auto LiftsIn Ground Auto Lifts

In-ground auto lifts are another great option when seeking to maximize your space. Their base and the hydraulic lift system are placed under the ground. When there is the need to use the lifts, the vehicle gets into position directly above the elevator.

A switch connected to the elevator turns it on and raises the vehicle to the required level. When not in use, the lifting podium is at ground level; hence it provides ample space. It is an excellent addition for mid to large-sized garages.

Like any car lifts, they vary according to weight limits. There are the in-ground vehicle lifts that support smaller cars, and there are the heavy-duty ones that work with larger automobiles such as trucks and buses. The elevation podium takes on many forms. The ones are consisting of double pillars with a horizontal rail connecting them to form the base of the podium. Others take on an X-shape, which widens the surface area to accommodate the vehicle.

Another standout factor about the in-ground auto lifts is that they are environmentally sound as they have a relatively smaller environmental footprint. Mostly this lift is used for car servicing and washing purposes.

Alignment Lifts

Wheel alignment is an essential procedure in your car maintenance. It ensures that all the wheels have the right angles to prevent cases of slanting when the vehicle is on the road. The alignment lifts are the proper automobile elevators to bank on when you want to perform this wheel maintenance practice.Alignment Lifts

The alignment lift is quite sophisticated and takes a design almost similar to the four-post lift. It features a ramp for the entry of the automobile onto the lifting space.

The alignment lifts assume a variety of designs. They also come in different weight limits to accommodate a wide range of vehicles, from small cars to larger automobiles such as trucks.  There are scissor alignment lifts, with the hydraulic systems powering scissor-like poles for raising or lowering the vehicle.

The open-front model is preferable by most and is the right choice if you want to focus on the hood of automobiles. When getting one, do not forget to pay attention to the maximum height that the lift can achieve, as they have varying degrees.

Mobile Column Lifts

When talking of efficiency when it comes to automotive lifts, then the mobile column lifts take the lead. This type of lift comprises four or six independent columns, each with adjustable wheel forks to fit different wheel sizes. Mobile Column Lifts

The columns have arms or rather points of attachment meant to fit into the wheels before initiating the lift. It is advisable to go for uniform columns to curb issues such as tripping.

They are robust lifts that usually find use in larger vehicles. You can tune the height of each respective column to fit the height requirement you want for proper access under the truck or bus.  There is a specific model of the mobile columns suitable for smaller chassis trucks, such as tractors or forklifts.

They are good at minimizing space inside your garage as they do not occupy much space and are for convenience equipment. In short, when not in use, you can store them away without taking much space.

Parking Lifts

Parking lifts are another versatile car elevating equipment that you can have in your garage or workshop. The parking lifts maximize space by utilizing a vertical parking pattern atop a platform. This formation is space-savvy as compared to the traditional horizontal allocation that can only accommodate several cars.Parking Lift

The parking lifts take on various configurations, with some accommodating two vehicles. Others go the big way and can take up to ten cars or more stacked above each other. For example, if it is the two-car parking lift, the first car goes into the raising platform and gets elevated. The second car will now take the space left at the base. The same process replicates itself for multiple vehicles where it is a park and raises technique.

Aside from an improvised parking bay, you can use it for under-the-car repairs and inspections. This elevating apparatus is suitable for your premises if you have a large car capacity. It is an adequate lift when dealing with smaller vehicles. Larger models can accommodate the lower decks. Learn more about the best 4 Post Car Lift on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question:  What is the name of the equipment that raises cars?

Answer: The equipment that raises cars from the ground is the car lift or car elevator in other circles. They are useful in the automobile tuning sector for under-car repairs and inspections.

Question: How many types of elevators are there?

Answer: There are several types of elevators in the market, such as the four post lifts, parking lifts, and portable lifts. You can pick the best in the pack according to your specifications, such as use and also space.

Question:  What is the best auto lift?

Answer: The definition of best is relative and depends on the intended situation. Some, such as the portable lifts, are excellent when it comes to remote working and efficiency when moving around. The in-ground auto lifts take the price when it comes to stability. For new users, you can opt for the four-post auto lift that is easy to use. In-ground and parking lifts are the best when it comes to being economical about space.

Question: How does a car lift work?

Answer: The car lift operates under the Pascal principle of exerting weight on a definite volume of liquid. In this case, the liquid is the hydraulic fluid that moves the levers to initiate upward movement. Most lifts consist of both electric and mechanical parts, with the electrical components regulating the extent of pull from the mechanical parts under the influence of force from the hydraulic fluid.

Question: What are the three most common types of lifts?

Answer:  The most common lifts in the auto-tuning scene include the four-post lift and the alignment auto lift. The in-ground lifts are also gaining immense popularity due to their space-intensive aspect.

Question:  Which is the best, the four-post lift or the two-post lift?

Answer:  The four-post lift is the best if you are new to using car elevators. However, if you want proper access to the bottom part of the vehicle, then the two-post lift is the best option.

Question: How do you take care of and maintain a car lift?

Answer:  To ensure that your elevation apparatus serves you for a long, you need to conduct regular maintenance practices. You can start by oiling the moving parts and also paint them to curb corrosion from rust. Some manufacturers may offer to look at your equipment after regular intervals.


If you are into the automobile industry, then you need to know about the necessary equipment to have for a good stint when running your auto garage.  Top among them is the auto car lift. It is essential equipment to have for the inspection and detailed repair of cars under your watch. Aside from the repair part, some also function awesomely when it comes to the space maximizing effect, as evident in parking lifts.

There are varieties to pick from dependent on factors such as your space and the cars you deal in, among other preferences. Get one of the lifts and bring the A-game to your operations in your auto garage.

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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.

One thought on “8 Types of Car Lifts and Their Uses

  1. Hello,

    Very good information.

    Thanks for the hard work.

    Best Regards

    Mohammed Essa

    Car Scan & Supplies

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