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Whether you are installing your first auto lift or tenth, it is important to consider if your auto shop has adequate space to remain compliant with how much room an auto lift takes.

To best ensure your auto repair technicians have adequate room to perform their work while staying safe, you will need to assess the clearance height, floor space, placement, and access to the vehicle on your new lift, in addition to the equipment surrounding the work station. In the content below, we explore how much auto lift space is necessary to adhere to safety protocols and maintain optimal functionality within an auto shop.


It may seem intimidating at first to make sure your auto shop has enough room before installing a lift. However, there are three main components to consider before determining if your desired auto lift can fit. Below, we explore the necessary clearance height, floor space, and placement requirements prior to buying a new auto lift.

Clearance Height

Before buying a lift for your auto shop, consider the height of your workspace. Does your shop have low ceilings? It is important to remember that the higher your shop’s ceiling is, the wider selection of auto lifts you can choose from.

For best practices, we suggest allowing for auto repair technicians to easily walk under the raised vehicle on the lift without bending or hunching over. Therefore, as a consensus, allot for approximately six feet for space underneath, five to six feet for vehicle height and one foot of clearance. Therefore, to best ensure a safe lift installation, your shop’s ceiling height must measure at a minimum of 11 or 12 feet, with clearance for overhead hazards such as lights, garage doors, ventilation installations, and fire alarms.

Generally, to understand how much clearance height you need for your auto lift, calculate the overall working height of your lift when servicing a vehicle, whether that may be an SUV, pickup truck, bus, or motorcycle. For an overhead-style lift, with a cross beam for passing the cables and hydraulics, you must provide an additional foot or two of clearance height. However, if you have a baseplate or free-standing lift, the top of your vehicle on the lift will dictate how high you can go.

Floor Space

Although ceiling height may not be a cause for concern in your auto shop, assess the remaining floor space available for the installation of a new auto lift. You may purchase the greatest lift for your auto shop only to find out it is physically impossible to feasibly install it in your cramped floor space.

Therefore, measure as many times as necessary to guarantee that a lift will not only fit but also provide the necessary room to adequately service vehicles. If you are unsure about the minimum space requirement for your new auto lift, consider contacting a local and reliable installer.

It is essential to carefully examine the specific concrete requirements for any lift you plan to install, whether it is a 2 post lift or another type of lift. Failing to do so may result in severe safety hazards, damage to the equipment, or even structural damage to the building. Therefore, make sure to research the concrete specifications provided by the lift manufacturer and ensure that your concrete meets or exceeds these requirements before proceeding with the installation.

Consider the Technicians

As a rule of thumb, determine how much space you can dedicate to a fixed auto lift while in service and out of service as specific lift types will have stationary posts that take up floor space. If your garage includes workbenches or storage cabinets, you need to account for this space as well. Therefore, always leave at least two feet for walking and working space.

When considering floor space, you need to remember who will be circulating the workstations. It is important to consider how some technicians may need to move around one another to access a different area. Furthermore, both you and your crew will work more efficiently and safely if you plan by providing ample floor space for everyone to move about.

Consider the Vehicles You Will Be Lifting

While thinking about the auto lift itself along with surrounding equipment and your auto technicians, it is important to remember how much space is required for the vehicles that will soon be serviced on your new lift.

Surrounding your auto lift, the space you need depends on two factors:

  • The length of the vehicles you will be lifting
  • The type of lift arms your lift has – symmetrical or asymmetrical

With symmetrical lifts, try to allot a minimum of 12 feet from your lift posts to the back wall. If you are looking to purchase an asymmetrical lift, leave room for at least 9 feet between the lift posts and the nearest wall.

If you have more floor space available in your auto shop, think about how you can efficiently use that space. Do you plan to install more auto lifts over time? At the very least, leave enough floor space to provide adequate room for a work bench or storage cabinet against the end wall.

Placement and Access

Oftentimes, most garage spaces place auto lifts so that they align with either the entry door or the servicing bay. However, when you have a larger space to work with, you can install the lift in a corner or at an angle, depending on what offers the most efficient use of floor space and clearance height.

Fortunately, there is no golden rule depicting how one should place their auto lifts. However, we generally suggest that you create at least two feet of space between your posts, hoisted vehicles, and the side walls. With anything less, you will struggle to move around your vehicle while hoisted on the lift. Additionally, you will not have adequate room to easily remove wheels, axles, or utilize a long pry bar to remove tight bolts.


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