Most auto technicians and shop owners are already familiar with the ever popular two post lift and the common four post lift. We’ve also addressed these types of car lifts in previous articles, so we will not be discussing them here. Instead, we will concentrate on the other less familiar car lift choices.
Front and center and probably the next most popular choice for auto lifts would be the scissor lift. There are numerous different types of scissor hoist. There are mid rise and full rise scissor lifts. There is also a scissor alignment rack. Most scissor lifts do move the vehicle forward or backward slightly when you raise it, so leave a little extra room to provide for that movement.
The mid rise scissor lift raises the car to a height in the range of 48 inches to 53 inches. The reason the height can vary is because many mid rise lifts come with a 12 piece set of adapters that allow you to reach various car jacking frame points that might not be reachable for short adapters, or the flat lifting pads of a low rise pad lift, (we’ll talk about low rise pad lifts a bit later). The arms on the mid rise car lift are adjustable to meet almost any car on the market. An added benefit of the mid rise lift is that it is portable so you can roll it around the shop and store it out of the way if necessary. This hoist is one of the more popular of the alternative types on the market.
The full rise scissor lift is another popular car hoist that caters to the customer who wants all the benefits of a full rise two post, but who don’t have enough floor space for one. That’s the main benefit of going with the full rise scissor lift in a nut shell. You will still be able to access all of the automobile, just as you would on the two post lift, and you will also be able to stand up under it, however it can fit into some pretty tight spaces. Unlike the mid rise lift, this car lift must be mounted to the floor.
The next type of car lift is the low rise pad lift. These lifts are great for body work, brake jobs and tire rotations. They raise the car by the frame, so you’ll have complete access to the wheels. The lifts come with rubber lift blocks that can go on the surface of the lift pad which come in handy when the car’s frame points are difficult to get at with just the flat pad surface. These lifts only raise to a height of about 28 inches, so you won’t be standing up under this one. There are two different models. One is portable and one is not. So if you need to move it, get the portable option.
Another variation of the low rise pad lift is the pit lift. This lift is designed to straddle pits that are typically found in lube shops. So there is no structure in between the two pads as you would find on the low rise lifts. The benefit of these lifts would allow access to the underside of the auto, via the lube pit. The technician gets down in the pit, and can get at every part of the vehicle.
These lift choices are viable options for auto shop owners and home hobbyists alike. Other automotive lift options are available. We will address those options in future articles.