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A guide to Vehicle Lifts


When you're looking to buy a vehicle lift, it's not unusual to feel a little daunted by the process. With so many vehicle lifts to choose from, choosing a lift with the right specifications, features, and uses for your intended purpose might seem tricky. That's why Straightset have put together a handy guide to vehicle lifts you're likely to encounter. Whatever you're looking for in a vehicle lift, we'll make sure you're well informed before you make that important purchase.

2-Post Lifts

2-Post Lifts are one of the most commonly used vehicle lifts available. Most suitable for general servicing work, 2-Post Lifts are frequently used as standard in motor dealership workshops, fast-fit depots, tyre shops, and car body shops.

When thinking of choosing a 2-Post Lift, it's important to note that this type of lift is available in two different types; electric and hydraulic.

Electric 2-Post Lifts: as it sounds, are electrically powered and driven by a screw, generally activated by the push of a button or switch.

Hydraulic 2-Post Lifts: used hydraulic fluid to lift the car from the ground, similar to a car braking system.

As well as choosing between electric and hydraulic, you also have an option of a base free 2-Post Lift, and a based 2-Post Lift. Base free 2-Post Lifts have a clear floor area between the two posts, with electrical and synchronisation cabling running between. Based 2-Post lifts have a drive over base, with a concealed chain drive, meaning there is no clear floor area. Both lift types allow for good access underneath and around the raised vehicle, with the capacity for wheel removal for brake access, meaning they're ideal for general servicing work.

With any lift, it's important to consider the types of vehicles that will be lifted. 2-Post Lifts suit vehicles between 3 and 6 tonnes, and there are a range of lifts and accessories available to accommodate for different vehicle models and body styles.

Example Lifts
Slift M2.30 (3 Tonne)
Slift CO2.40 (4 Tonne)

4-Post Lifts

4-Post Lifts have a different make up and build when compared to 2-Post Lifts. For a start, they're composed of 4 grounded posts, rather than 2. However, as with 2-Post lifts, they're commonly used in workshops and car body shops.

Available surface mounted or sunk into a workshop floor, 4-Post Lifts can be applied to suit the specific needs of different workshops. The lifts are hydraulically operated, with two platforms raising the vehicle. 4-Post lifts are used most frequently during MOT/ATL inspections, as they're installed with DVSA approved hydraulic play detectors. Another common use is for wheel alignment, as 4-Post Lifts are fitted with rear slide plates and front recesses for turn tables.

There are many types of 4-Post Lift, able to accommodate vehicles between a 3.5 tonne and 20 tonne size. This means they have equal application for private vehicles as they do commercial vehicles. Most vehicles can use a 4-Post Lift, providing they are not too long to fit on the platforms. This makes them a good all round lift to use for MOT testing.

Example Lifts
OMA 524JC (Class 4)
OMA 526B (4 Tonne - Suitable for wheel alignment)

In-Ground Lifts

Rather than being standalone as with 2-Post and 4-Post vehicle lifts, In-Ground Lifts are built into the floor of the location of use. This makes them ideal for motor dealership workshops and vehicle manufacturers, where they're likely to receive heavy use.

In-Ground Lifts offer the advantage of space, as when not in use they can be lowered into the ground to provide a low profile and clear floor area. This means your In-Ground Lift won't be in the way when not being used. In-Ground Lifts fit into a narrower width bay than 2 Post or 4 Post lifts, and can lift vehicles of various weights and sizes.

The variety of lifting heads and platforms available for In-Ground Lifts means that they're suitable for a range of applications, being used for servicing, wheel alignment, MOT and ATL testing. When raised, this lift provides good space underneath and around the vehicle, allowing for easy access to major areas.

Example Lifts
Slift DV35 3.5 (3.5 Tonne)
Slift DV3519KX30 (3 Tonne)

Scissor Lifts

Rather than using posts, the Scissor Lift uses a hydraulically powered scissor located underneath the platform as a lifting mechanism. As these types of lift have no posts and a concealed lifting mechanism, they can be installed into a narrower bay than 2 or 4-Post lifts. This means they take up less room, giving more floor space.

Suitable for wheel alignment and MOT/ATL, scissor lifts are again commonly used in workshops, dealerships and bodyshops. Powered by hydraulic rams, Scissor Lifts are capable of lifting a wide range of private and commercial vehicles, and are available in varying weight and size specifications.

As well as being used for commercial application, Scissor Lifts are also often used by classic car enthusiasts, as their relatively compact size and ease of use makes them suitable for home and DIY use.

Example Lifts
OMA533B

We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to know about vehicle lifts. If you think you'd like more information, feel free to call us on 01909 480 055, and we'll be happy to help you out.