Planning on installing a car lift in your repair shop or garage? Here’s everything you need to consider, from cost to safety regulations!
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Why car lifts matter
Running an auto repair business means dealing with multiple services on a large number of vehicles. Having a garage that’s equipped to handle traffic means more revenue for your auto repair shop. That’s where car lifts come in!
This incredible invention has revolutionized the way auto repair teams perform vehicle maintenance and repair. However, whether you’re installing one for the first time or a returning buyer, selecting the right auto lift can prove challenging. This is especially true when you consider the different configurations and available pricing.
Let’s explore the different kinds of car lifts available in the market, their advantages and what features to look out for before you make your purchase.
Advantages of installing a car lift
There’s no two ways about it, car lifts make your life easier at the auto repair shop. Here’s how:
1. Easy car care
With the kind of extensive work often needed on vehicles, from engine to brake work, having access to the entire body of the car is crucial. Car lifts help auto repair shop workers conveniently perform vehicle repairs and maintenance.
2. Space saving
Car lifts allow you to not only work on vehicles, but also help you save space! When it comes to your auto repair garage, being able to accommodate more vehicles is a game changer!
What to look out for
As is true with any big purchase, research goes a long way. But with the amount of information out there, we decided to make it easy for you! Here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing a car lift for your auto repair shop:
1) Is your garage up to par?
First things first, whether you’re planning on purchasing a two-post or four-post car lift, you need to first see if your garage can accommodate the lift. A two-post car lift tends to be about nine feet in height. If your garage ceiling is high enough, you’re in the clear! You will also need to make sure the voltage required by the car lift to run is easily accessible.
2) Is the manufacturing company reliable?
Without knowing if you can count on the brand you’re planning to purchase from, you can face hurdles in the future. Before focusing on the cost, you need to first ask yourself how reliable the manufacturing company is and if the products are of the highest quality. The highest benchmark for international quality is an ISO9001 certified product. Look for that designation in your car lift research.
3) Is it safe to install?
Before you install any car lift you buy, you first need to ensure all safety measures are adhered to. For auto repair shop owners, this will save you from putting your customers or employees in danger, which could lead to a lawsuit. Before purchasing your car lift, make sure you look out for:
- Safety enhancement features
- Proper training and installation
- ETL/ALI certification
- Safety testing from manufacturer
4) Is there easy access to technical support?
If you’re running a business, you know time is money! If you’re left waiting on technical support to help you with a broken/malfunctioning car lift, you’re losing customers. This is why it’s extremely important to have access to the manufacturer’s tech support team for speedy repairs.
5) Are parts readily available?
This is another important thing to consider before purchasing your car lift. You don’t want to endlessly wait for parts to repair your car lift. Using generic parts isn’t the solution, as it can only add to the problem. Look for details on the parts replacements process for any car lift before you make a purchase.
6) Do they offer a warranty?
A good warranty should cover you for about three years. This coverage is important, as some sub-par products can show their true colors in a matter of months. Since repairs are covered in your warranty, make sure to read the fine print so you know what to expect. Car lift companies that are tried and tested include Dannmar, Bendpak, and Maxjax.
We covered some initial shopping considerations for car lifts. You are ready to move forward. So what will it cost you to put a car lift in your garage?
Types of car lifts and their costs
The costs for your shop’s car lifts can vary from $1,500 to $15,000 depending on the brand, weight capacity, type and construction. The standard car lift types that you’ll find in an auto repair business and their costs include:
1. Scissor car lifts
The most standard of the car lift types is the scissor car lift. Due to the fact that they lie flat when not in use, scissor car lifts are a huge space saver. The drawback is that while they allow brake work and some under-engine jobs, they don’t allow you to freely work underneath a vehicle. Built for heavier vehicles like trucks and buses, they can cost upwards of $10,000.
2. Two-post car lifts
Most popular in auto repair shops, two-post car lifts are becoming increasingly popular among DIYers as well. With two posts featuring a connecting brace for the vehicle, this car lift allows you complete access to repairs needed in the undercarriage.
Although they are also great in terms of taking up less space so you have open access to your garage or auto repair shop, two-post lifts are a permanent option. The posts need to be bolted down and require periodic maintenance and care.
With a lifting capacity of 10,000 pounds, the cost can range from $1,500 to $3,500, while a car lift with a 14,000-pound lifting capacity can cost around $3,000 to $5,000.
3. Four-post car lifts
Four-Post car lifts are exactly as they sound. With four solid posts, they allow you to drive a vehicle over a set of tracks to be lifted and worked on.
Perfect for lifting heavy vehicles like trucks to create more space, as well as easy to use, four-post car lifts are becoming the go-to choice for home garages. The only drawback is the inability to do brake or tire work, as the vehicle sits on the tracks.
A four-post car lift with a 10,000-pound capacity can cost around $2,000 to $4,500. A heavier lift with a 12,000-pound capacity can cost approximately $5,000.
4. In-ground car lift
In-ground lifts fold completely into the ground and are by far the biggest space savers. But with great technology comes a great cost. These car lifts, according to their weight capacity, can cost up to $10,000.
Remember, you’re not just buying a car lift, you’re paying for the installation too. Make sure you know the costs before your purchase. Two-post lifts are relatively cheap to install, costing around $300 to $500, while four-post lifts can cost you around $700 to $1,000 to install. Scissor lifts are the most expensive to install at $1,000 to $1,500.
Car lifts require a big but important buying decision to run a more efficient, profitable auto repair shop. We hope our list of things to consider helps you make an informed decision.