Your new ride is shiny, sleek, and brand new. It drives smoothly like butter. Now you are contemplating installing a car lift to protect and keep your car in tiptop condition and have more space for the other cars. But the project seems intimidating and expensive.
You can stop right there. Or you can be creative and resourceful and do it yourself -- with the help of some friends. At the end of the day, a car lift is not a frivolous addition but more of a storage addition albeit on a grander scale. It’s an investment but at the same time a more cost-effective option than rebuilding and expanding your garage.
Another thing to consider is the climate since it dictates what car could be used in a certain period. If renting car storage is of the question, having a car lift is essential. Immobile vehicles can be placed on the car lift to maximize the space and still keep them within your sight. It will pay for itself especially if you live in a state that goes through different seasons.
Also, if you’re the type who likes to tinker with your cars instead of going to repair shops for maintenance, having a car lift is a practical choice. It can be tough to work on your cars’ underside if you have limited space, poor visibility, and have to use a rolling mechanic’s creeper. To add, you need extra caution if you work with jacks.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself before you install your car lift:
- Do I have enough space for my cars?
- If you own many cars, this is an important question. The answer to this question can encourage you to start researching how to install a car lift.
- How much space do I need?
- Even if you have a small space, you don’t have to worry about this because most car lifts are customizable. Just make sure that you properly measure the dimensions of your garage space and door.
- What is the carrying capacity of a car lift?
- First of all, you have to do an inventory of your cars. Do you have small vehicles? Sports cars? Sedans? Trucks? This may vary from brand to brand but, for example, from Garage Living, the 8,000 lbs. standard car lift supports sedans, small vehicles, and sports cars. The 8,000 lbs. long car lift also supports mid-size SUVs and pickup trucks while the 9,000 lbs. a standard car lift is the perfect choice for large SUVs and pickup trucks. Make sure to research the capacity of each manufacturer.
- Is it safe?
- It is -- if installed correctly with the right accessories. Car lifts must be secured with heavy-duty locking pins on each post. Make sure to get the right equipment to keep the car lift in place.
How do I get started?
If you are tight on budget, you can still have that car lift that you want. You can choose from three kinds of car lifts:
- Scissor car lift -- This is the cheapest option and most effective for those with narrow spaces. The problem is that you can’t park underneath it and it has limited lifting capacities and height adjustment. You can check out this productfor reference.
- Two-post car lift -- The vehicles are supported by two arms attached to opposite posts. With this, you can access the vehicle’s underside and do easy work on changing tires and brakes. Do note that most home garage two post car lifts do not have space for another vehicle underneath.
- Four-post car lift -- It has multipurpose features that allow you to work on your car and park another vehicle safely. It’s the real space and money saver among the options.
How to install the car lift
- Unboxing the mainframe -- This requires heavy lifting so you have to be ready to hoist the metal frame inside your garage. You can verify if the shipper can send a ruck-mounted crane or forklift to do the unloading. And while you’re at it, keep your furniture dollies at hand so you can roll the crate into the garage.
- Read the instructions carefully -- This is a potentially dangerous machine if not installed properly. So take your time to read the manual and understand the work needed for a successful installation.
- Assemble the mainframe -- Once you’re ready, get the work started by putting the different parts of the frame together. Make sure that the components are aligned and the bolts are tightened. Once you’re satisfied, torque all the bolts.
- Keep the functional hardware intact -- After which, you need to work on installing the basic fittings and components such as the:
- balancing cables
- safety locks
- hydraulic systems
- mechanical locking mechanisms
This varies with what brand you purchase, but these parts must be connected for maximum performance.
- Raise the frame -- When everything has been assembled, it’s time for the frame to go up. Mark its position on the floor. This can be heavyweight so might as well ask for help from strong friends. By strong, we mean they can hoist a thousand-pound frame and keep it on the ground.
But once it’s up, the work is no way finished. You still have to drill and hammer it in place and check if all bolts and nuts have been torqued.
Take the wheel
- Install power to the pump -- In the finishing touches, you can hire a qualified electrician to let the power flow to the pump and install a plug at the column so that 220-volt power.
- Double-check for snags - Now that the car lift is physically complete, you can proceed to test it with one of your cars. Bring it off the ground and stop with the first lock and then release hydraulic pressure. If everything goes well, the car should settle evenly. Otherwise, you have to do more work on the control cables. Check the columns’ stability by shaking the car back and forth. If there are unusual movements, you can do rework until the wobble disappears.
Your garage serves as the house of your cars -- your prized possessions. With a little creativity and patience, you can have a car lift that will keep your garage organized throughout the year.