People buy portable car lifts for different reasons and certain portable car lifts are tailored for use for some reasons better than others so it is important to choose the one that is right for you.
Before Buying a Portable Car Lift Ask Yourself These Questions:
Firstly, what do you want from a portable car lift?
How often will you use it and how important is it to be truly portable for you?
Are you intending to use it for personal use or as part of a business?
Finally, what size vehicles do you want your portable car lift to lift?
Remember some large cars can be around 3 times the weight of a small compact car.
The Four Basic Types of Car Lift
Ramps are a trusted and easy way to lift your car. They have been proven very safe when used correctly and are very portable. Newer style ramps can also have a small jacking system built into the top of the ramp to jack the car higher still.
2. Scissor lifts.
These can come ready to use out of the box with minimal assembly needed. They require access to a power source which powers a pump or motor that uses a mechanism to lift the car up. There are many types available on the market that lift to different heights and have a max load capacity for different sizes of car. Obviously scissor lifts for heavier cars will be slightly less portable than smaller versions and this may be important for a DIYer.
3. Two Post Lifts.
These lifts, as they say use two posts or frames to lift and support the vehicle weight. They have more power than the scissor lifts and can lift vehicles higher. However they are bulkier than scissor lifts and are not as truly portable in the sense of the word as they require more time to be set up and dismantles.
4. Four Post Lifts.
These car lifts are the most robust, safest and largest lifts available. They can lift vehicles the highest and are most stable as the legs require bolting to the floor. Due to this it is questionable if this type of lift is truly portable, but they can still be moved given more time than the other types. Four post lifts can often weigh over 2,000 pounds which is another disadvantage when considering portability.
Things to Take Into Consideration when Buying Portable Car Lifts
Depending on what you need the car lift for you may need a lift to be carried around easily to different customers whereas some people will only need to use the lift at home to work on their own car. A truly portable car lift would include the ramp or scissor type.
All modern lifts will have certain safety features built in to stop slipping or collapse of the lift under the weight of a vehicle. Essential safety features to look out for are an auto lock mechanism when the lift is ascending and a lock bar mechanism for use when the lift is descending. Also some type of anchorage to ensure the lift stays rooted to the ground during use is important.
3. Weight capacity.
If you are working on a variety of vehicles you may decide to play it safe and go for a lift that can support up to 10,000 pounds. However if you are only going to work on your own car, then this can be taken into consideration and say a 6,000 pound lift may be suitable for you. You may want to consider too any plans you may have in trading your car for a larger model in the future.
When choosing a lift, safety is an important consideration. Modern car lifts have steel construction and anchors that ensure the lift stays firmly rooted to the ground without collapsing. Some types of lift are rated as safer than others. Four post and two post lifts are more sturdy than scissor lifts however for the most sturdy type lift, you may find isn’t portable at all so a compromise should be met between portable and sturdy.
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