Everything You Should Know Before Installing a Car Lift in Your Garage

Garage Doors
Additions and Remodels
By Alex Mikayelyan November 23, 2021

Many homeowners love working on their cars. Whether it is standard maintenance, upgrades, tuning, or customization— working on cars is a popular hobby. Unfortunately, outside of a little tuning and maybe changing the tires you can’t always do as much as you’d like. This is because you probably do not have all the tools and equipment a professional mechanic would have.

The residential car garage lift is your answer. Car lifts are the perfect addition to your garage as they allow you to do more in-depth maintenance work without having to take it to the mechanic. No more having to fumble around with a clumsy car jack, not when your auto lift is capable of lifting up your vehicle with no effort on your end.

Benefits

Having a Garage Car Lift Comes With Many Benefits

Having a Garage Car Lift Comes With Many Benefits

Having a car lift in your garage may seem like a big addition at first since most of us are used to seeing car lifts exclusively inside a mechanic’s. However, when you consider several of the benefits that come with owning a garage lift you will see that it is worth installing one for your own private use.

  1. Easier vehicle maintenance is one of the biggest benefits of a residential car lift. If you know your way around the inner workings of your vehicle a lift is a great addition to your garage as it allows you to fix up your car without taking it to the mechanic.
  2. A hydraulic car lift is also a great alternative to the standard hand-operated car jack. As useful as a car jack is when you are on the go, it is mostly used for changing tires or doing some very basic maintenance. For the more in-depth car service tasks, you will need a vehicle lift that allows you to get easy access to the car’s chassis.
  3. If you have two cars but do not have enough space in your garage to accommodate the two vehicles then stacker parking is what you need. You can store one of your vehicles on the lift, raise it, and have the second one parked underneath to maximize the use of garage space.
  4. While your vehicle is far safer in your garage than it would be parked outside, it is still at risk of being damaged or stolen. Experienced carjackers know their way around a garage lock, especially if it lacks modern automated security systems. The best way to deter a thief is to make your car as difficult to steal as possible, and a garage lift will give your vehicle some added protection. 
  5. The extra storage that a car storage lift provides is not exclusive to vehicles. You can also store other things, such as a lawnmower, snowblower, or other large equipment. Using the lift controls simply lower the stored items any time you need them and then lift them up when you need to store them again.

Types

You will find that there are several kinds of car lifts for you to choose from. This mostly depends on the type of car you own, as well as how much space you have in your garage.

4 Post Lift

4 Post Lifts Are the Most Common in Residential Garages

4 Post Lifts Are the Most Common in Residential Garages

The most common type of car lifts you will find in residential garages and mechanic shops is the four-post lift. As the name implies the platform which lifts up the car sits on four posts. This gives the car lift system enough power to lift up some heavier vehicles, though the weight is usually capped at around 4,000lb per post. The one disadvantage to a four-post lift is that they do take up more space than other types because of their legs.

2 Post Lift

2 Post Lifts Are a Great Addition if Your Car Is Not the Heaviest

2 Post Lifts Are a Great Addition if Your Car Is Not the Heaviest

A more ergonomic alternative to the four-post lift is the two-post lift. It works quite similarly to the previous lift type but with the bonus of taking up less space as it only has two posts. This means you have more freedom to store things under and around the posts including another vehicle if the lift goes high enough. This does mean that there is a lower weight cap on the posts as there are fewer of them, with each post able to handle around 2,500lb. But if you are not going to lift anything heavier than that you should have nothing to worry about.

Single Post Lift

Single Post Garage Lifts Are Great for Tight Spaces

Single Post Garage Lifts Are Great for Tight Spaces

For those homeowners looking for something that saves as much space as possible, there is the single post lift. The single post lift allows you to store even more items around and under the lift itself. It is a great option for narrower garages that cannot afford to dedicate extra space for more than one post.

Parking Lift

While you may not be able to do much maintenance or tuning with this car lift, the parking lift is perfect for those homeowners who are simply looking to increase the space in their garage. A parking lift makes it easier to park the car on top of the platform as it is one solid piece instead of having two separate smaller platforms for the wheels. Additionally, this gives the platform more support when the car is lifted up.

What to Consider

Before installing a garage car lift you should consider the following factors. These will determine if your garage is ready to accommodate a car lift and if not what changes you will need to make.

Garage Height

Make Sure You Have Enough Height for the Garage Car Lift You’re Getting

Make Sure You Have Enough Height for the Garage Car Lift You’re Getting

Car lifts need enough overhead room to properly go up. If the ceiling of your garage is too low there may not be enough room for the lift to rise. The minimal clearance between the ceiling and the highest point on your car lift should be at least 12 feet. This means that if you raise the lift as high as it can go, there must be some extra room left over for the car. If you are using a parking lift this height is also very important as parking lifts tend to go up even higher than the standard maintenance ones as they need to open up enough room under them as well.

Walls and Floor

The Car Lift Should Be a Little Far From Walls and the Door

The Car Lift Should Be a Little Far From Walls and the Door

You should also have enough clearance from the walls and garage door to avoid any scratches and dents. Most car lifts are recommended to be installed at least three feet away from the walls. This ensures that your car lift has enough floor space in the garage to move up and down. So if the measurements you have taken indicate that the car lift is going to be too close to the garage walls, you’ll need to hire a contractor and see how you can increase the space or possibly extend the garage itself.

Since the car lift is going to be installed into the ground you need to also take into account how durable your garage flooring is. Concrete slabs are one of the most commonly utilized flooring options for garages as they are quite durable, weatherproof, and easy to maintain. Aside from that, they are also quite heavy which means they are perfect for handling the heavy load of a car lift. Garage lift system manufacturers require four inches of reinforced concrete slabs to be installed in the garage for the car lift to remain stable and properly anchored into the ground.

Cost

Car Lift Prices Come In All Price Ranges

Car Lift Prices Come In All Price Ranges

As with any addition, you need to know how much it is going to cost. Car lifts are generally priced according to how much weight they can hold. For example, a two or four-post car lift with a maximum capacity of 10,000lb will cost anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000. A single post or in-ground installation is going to be somewhat more expensive, around $10,000, and parking lifts or auto stackers can go up to $20,000 and more depending on how much weight you will be stacking.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan