|Installing a lift in your garage will enable
you to get more storage out of your space.
Snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, lawnmowers,
and small tractors can all be placed above
ground level and out of the way when not
in use. Large lifts will even allow you to
stack one car on top of another. Garage lifts
are also handy for vehicle service work such
as oil changes, tire and brake work, exhaust
repair, and suspension work.
f you are thinking of buying
a garage lift,
consider the following:
- Measure the size of your garage before deciding
which lift to buy. Most lifts do not fit
in garages less than 22 feet deep, and the
ceiling should be at least 11 feet high.
Make sure garage door openers, door tracks
and doors do not obstruct the space you want
to use. The cement floor of the garage must
also be more than 4 inches thick to support
the weight of the lift and its load.
- Lifts for home garages come in two general
categories. Frame-engaging lifts have arms
that reach under the vehicle to lift it near
the perimeter of the frame. Wheel-engaging
lifts support the vehicle at the tires. These
have an open space between the two decks
supporting the tires to allow access to the
- Scissors or hinge type lifts are frame-engaging
models that lie flat on the floor when not
in use. An electric, hydraulic-electric,
or pneumatic system raises the lift once
the vehicle has been driven on to it. These
lifts are less expensive than other types.
They are compact and do not need to be bolted
to the floor. They usually only lift to a
height of 36 to 48 inches.
- Two-post surface lifts are frame-engaging
types that support the weight of the vehicle
with metal arms attached to two fixed posts
at the side of the vehicle. Generally they
are either “symmetrical” lifts that support
the vehicle in the middle or “asymmetrical”
that offset the posts forward so car doors
can be opened. These lifts can support heavier
loads and elevate them as high as seven feet.
They use relatively little floor space, but
they must be bolted to the garage floor.
They are harder to use than drive-on lift
- Four-post lifts are wheel-engaging drive-on
types with four fixed posts that support
two runways. They usually lift by means of
a hydraulic piston pulling on heavy cables.
Because these lifts are so stable, they are
the best type for overhead car storage, but
they take up the most space.
- In-ground lifts are the most expensive type.
They use cylinders that rise from the garage
floor, so they take up the least amount of
floor space. They practically disappear when
not in use, but the necessary lift machinery
must be located in a nine foot deep pit dug
into the floor. Since they are built into
the garage, they usually cannot be moved
to a new location. They also cannot be used
to stack cars.
Many lifts can be installed yourself if you
have the right tools and the ability to move
around some very heavy pieces (sometimes
a forklift is required). Otherwise, check
with the dealer for a recommendation on installers
and approximate installation costs in your