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Car Lifts ( recommendations )

Old 05-18-2019, 08:29 PM
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Default Car Lifts ( recommendations )

As some of you may know, I'm working on a property purchase in which I may obtain a sizable garage. I would like to put a car lift in it. I have seen some for around $12-$1500 new, regrettably Chinese made and alledgedly takes odd sized bolts to mount.

I don't at the moment have anything particular in mind except to be able to lift a car or pickup truck high enough to work on. I do not know what other options are available to me,
such as used ones, American made ones, or alternatives. I have seen scissor type jacks and other variations, but the price differences seem negligible !

Hopefully some of you have tried a thing or two and knows what works, and what to avoid !

Thanks John
Old 05-19-2019, 04:53 PM
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I'll start off by saying I've never bought one, but have researched extensively as I will buy one in our new place. I've also used a lot of different types.

So with the disclaimer out of the way - the best place to start is by figuring out what type you want as there is a ton of variety. Basically, I'd lump them into 3 categories:

-Low rise lifts. Gets the bottom of the tire about 18" to a few feet off the ground. Typically puts all of the mechanism (except perhaps the pump) under the car.
Upside: certainly the cheapest. Bendpak has them just under $2k, Quickjack starts not much over a grand. Some are flat enough to drive onto with very low cars. Many dont require modifying your floor which is good if you've got post tension slabs or something you can't drill. Can be 'portable' (definitely a pain to move, but not terrible), certainly the easiest by far.
Downside: Biggest issue here is often the amount of junk underneath making it a pain to get to stuff. That's where I like the Quickjack since the cylinders are off to the sides. Second downside is really just the height - you're not going to be standing up under one of these.

-2 post lift. These are full height lifts that let you drive in and the swing arms underneath to pick up the chassis. Bendpak has these for just over $3k.
Upsides - great for low cars as there is nothing underneath. Also that's another benefit in general - there is literally nothing under the car other than the 4 arms so you can get to everything. Can lift car high enough to walk under.
Downsides - requires some common sense. These are the lifts you see horror stories on of shops dropping people's cars from not lifting correctly. A bit slower to begin lifting as a result - the other 2 you drive on and go, this requires a few minutes of arm positioning / potential adapters, etc. As this goes over the car, you also need a good bit of ceiling height.

-4 post lift. The most expensive type - drive on and lift, very easy. Bendpak starts about $5k
-Upside - super easy to use. Lots of accessories for alignment, rack attached lifts (to get wheels off), etc. Generally the standard for big shops. No top brace so you dont have to worry about height. Can easily 'stack' 2 cars in a parking spot.
-Downside - not as open underneath as a 2 post. Cost. Size / width as they take up a good bit of footprint.

Personally, I wouldn't touch a knockoff foreign lift - I'd only go brand name. If the car falls and crushes you because you saved $500 buying a knockoff model, was it really worth it? Good luck to your family going after some no name brand.

As you can tell above, I'm partial to Quickjack for low lifts and Bendpak for big ones. Lots and lots of shops use Bendpak.
Old 05-19-2019, 07:51 PM
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My father has a 4 post lift. I am pretty sure it is American made (I believe it was actually made somewhere here in Ohio). I have used it many times for numerous jobs. Drive on, raise up and do what is needed. We got a couple junk yard scissor jacks, welded a bigger base on them and use them when we need to take a wheel off.

I know someone else with a 2 post lift. He loves it when he wants to change wheels on his car (which he does often).

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