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Before choosing which type of car Lift is best for you and your needs, take time to learn what's available. This will ensure that you get the perfect type of hoist for the job. While we carry several different manufacturers, our Challenger Lifts  are among the finest, and with their huge selection, they're sure to have one suitable for whatever job you'll be facing. 

A Look At The Many Car Lifts Available

The type of repairs you'll be making and the kind of vehicles you work on will ultimately determine which of the available lifts you'll need. However, you'll also want to consider where you'll be using this equipment, how much space you'll have, and how frequently you'll be using the lift.

Here are a few of the different car, truck lifts and motorcycle lifts available:

• ​Two Post Lifts - Challenger, Rotary, Bendpak, Forward, Ideal, LaunchTech USA, Tuxedo and more. Choose from clear floor and floor plate models up to 18,000 lbs capacity.

 • Four Post Car Lifts and truck lifts -- Also known as drive on lifts.  Challenger  Lifts has a number of hydraulic car and truck lifts available. These use a pump to compress and force a hydraulic fluid through cylinders, which gives the lift power and added safety.

• Car Parking Lifts - suitable for storing one automobile over another. There are many different styles available• In-Ground or Pit Automotive Lifts -- Generally hydraulic or electric/hydraulic powered, these lifts can either be flush mounted into the floor or sit on its surface to provide you with a time and space saving option. They also handle a large amount of weight and give you the convenience of driving on and off the lift.

• Portable Automotive Lifts and scissor lifts -- If you travel to auto or trade shows, you'll find these portable versions easy to move, set up, and hassle-free. They're also great for shops that want to keep bays free from clutter when needed. They're also popular with the home / hobbyist crowd.

• Specialty Lifts Motorcycle lifts and others -- Generally found in the smaller models such as motorcycle lifts and utility vehicle lifts, these motorcycle / ATV lifts use basic air pressure from an air compressor to raise and lower the platform.

Evaluate Features Of Car Lifts, Automotive Lifts, Truck Lifts & Motorcycle Lifts

Each type of automotive lift comes in a number of different configurations and with a number of features. And, it's these features that make all the difference between BendPak Car Lifts and its competitors. Match the features of these automotive lifts to your needs, and you'll discover just how easy repairs and maintenance can be.

Here are several types of ​car hoists to consider:

• Two Post Lifts -- This type of lift is the most popular style of lift for a busy auto shop, because it allows you the greatest access to all of the vehicle for service purposes. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing a two post model that best suits your needs.

First, do you want a clear floor model, or a floor plate model?
All two post lifts feature equalizer cables and hydraulic lines that run across from one column to the other. These lines must run in one of two locations - either at the top of each column, through a conduit, (clear floor style) or, on the floor, under a plate (floor plate style).

Clear floor models will stand taller than the floor plate models. So you'll want to measure to make sure you have adequate ceiling height for one. If you have a low ceiling, you will likely need to choose a floor plate model. That's the main reason why floor plate models exist - so you can fit one under a low ceiling. All things being equal, most folks would prefer a clear floor model, because they don't want to deal with rolling a transmission jack, oil drain or tool box over a floor plate. The floor plate typically stand about an inch and a half above the floor, and are ramped up on either side to make it easier to roll things over them.

Many of the better clear floor models have a direct-drive design, which relies on the hydraulic cylinders for lift action rather than chains and cables that wear out frequently. This saves you money and time on repairs while improving safety.
Chain drive models utilize a large chain in conjunction with a hydraulic cylinder to do the lifting. Most floor plate models will utilize a chain drive system, because their columns are not tall enough to allow the full 12 foot stroke a cylinder would need on a direct drive model..

Symmetric vs asymmetric - Symmetric models center the vehicle's weight between two opposing posts and are ideal for rear end heavy vehicles. Asymmetrical models set the automobile further back on the lift. This orientation gives you greater ability to open the doors wider when entering or exiting the vehicle. Most garage owners prefer asymmetric style lifts for typical passenger cars, while symmetric models are preferred for larger trucks and vans.

Most typical passenger cars will actually balancer out better asymmetric, and most longer trucks and vans balance out better symmetric. Many manufacturers now make models that offer the best of both worlds - you can position a vehicle either way on the lift. This provides you with complete versatility with only one lift. So you don't need to purchase multiple lifts to get any and every job done. Different manufacturers use different terms for this dual capability. For instance, Challenger uses the term "versymmetric", while IDEAL uses the term "bisymmetric", and BendPak uses the term "true-metric". But they all mean the same thing - that you can position the vehicle either way, to help keep the center of gravity of the auto as close to the columns as possible.

Features to look for - 
Many other factors help differentiate a quality two post lift from an average lift. Premium models will offer exceptional features like triple telescoping front arms which make it possible to work on wider vehicles by allowing you to reach the jacking points easily. Three stage arms will allow you to extend, and retract the arms just a little bit further, which provides you greater capabilities in handling any type of vehicle that comes through your shop doors. 
Other features, like screw pads, that allow you to adjust the pad height by just screwing up or down. While some models only provide different height stackable height adapters.
Superior models will offer a single point safety release, as opposed to a two point safety release system, where you would need to walk over to the other column to disengage the safeties.

Accessories -

There are many accessories available for a two post lift. Some manufacturers will include some, or all of these accessories, while others will sell them separately, as options. These include frame cradle pads, truck adapters or extensions, column extensions, turf adapter equipment kits, and more.


• Four Post Lifts -- These commercial quality auto and truck lifts will make any commercial auto shop, hobbyist or DIYer happy. They are suitable for both servicing cars and trucks in a busy auto shop as well as for storing one car over another in a home garage. Four post lifts are quicker and easier to drive on and off, and are safer than a two post lift as well

Factors to consider when choosing a 4 post lift -

Storage or service?

Are you using this lift to service vehicles or for storing one car over another? In a busy auto shop, the most common capacity lift you'll find is 14,000 lbs. This capacity allows you to service a wide variety of automobiles, including light trucks, vans, passenger cars, and smaller cars. ​We carry models all the way up to 40,000 lb. capacity for heavy trucks if needed. If you specialize in sports cars, you may want to consider a lighter duty lift, like a 9,000 lb capacity model. These will be better suited for smaller sports cars, which typically have a lower profile, and allow you to drive up onto the runways without bottoming out the underside of the car due to the low ground clearance.

Four post lifts are by far the most popular option for the home crowd. Home hobbyists, car collectors, and car buffs typically will get a four post lift for their home garage that they use for both servicing their personal autos, as well as for car storage / parking.  These range from 7,000 lb. capacity up to 9,000 pounds. If you're using the lift to store one vehicle over another, odds are you've got a collection of classic cars or sports cars and not enough floor space in your home garage to store them. This is a common problem with our customers. You can always rent a space at a local car storage facility. Or you could add on to your existing garage. But the most economical solution is to purchase a 4 post lift.

But how do I do brake and wheel work with a 4 post lift?

This is the most common question for people who consider a 4 post rack for servicing autos. The one drawback to a 4 post lift for servicing cars is that your wheels are resting on the runways, and you can't get the wheels off the runways. To free-wheel a car on a 4 post lift, you will need to get an accessory called a rolling bridge jack, sliding bridge jack, or jack plate. The commercial grade 4 post car lifts feature a channel on the inside edge of each runway that will accommodate various accessories, The commercial grade rolling jacks roll up and down the length of the runways on that channel, and utilize air from your shop air compressor to raise and lower the vehicle one axle at a time so you can access the wheels for brake and tire work. The home hobby lifts will usually offer a more affordable alternative to the full, commercial grade air powered rolling bridge jack. There are several options, including a hydraulic rolling jack, hydraulic sliding jack, and finally, the more affordable option, which is just a jack plate. This is just a plate of steel that spans across from one runway to the other, and you would place it in the area of the frame jacking points of your vehicle, and then place your own bottle jacks or scissor jacks on it to correspond with the frame jacking points on your car. 

Cable drive or chain drive? - 

In the past, most four post hoists used to be chain drive, but more recent years have seen a huge transition over to cable drive for several reasons. Most importantly, it is a safer design, with the hydraulic cylinder being tucked up underneath the runway, rather than running across the top of the front column to the top of the opposite rear column on the chain drive models. This cylinder placement on a chain drive lift can be particularly impractical if you leave the vehicle door open when raising the lift. In the past, one of the main reasons someone may prefer a chain drive lift over a cable drive lift is that the cables wear out quicker, and need to be replaced sooner. However most premium manufacturers now offer larger diameter cable pulleys on their cable drive lifts, which greatly increases cable life expectancy. As a result, very few manufacturers offer chain drive models any longer.

Features to look for - 

The commercial four post lifts will typically offer runways that can be adjusted closer together or further apart, depending on the automobile that you are raising up on it. In most cases, the 7,000 , 8,000 and 9K models for the home hobby customers have fixed runways that cannot be adjusted. Most premium 4 post lift models will offer a superior laddered safety system that automatically engages every 4 inches or so. You'll find the ladder safety system is particularly convenient if you're working on an uneven floor, since you can level out the locking position in each column if necessary.
The home / hobby four post models are also capable of being free-standing. They actually don't need to be bolted to the concrete. Many home customers find this feature particularly convenient.

 Accessories - 

We mentioned the rolling jacks, sliding jacks, and jack plates previously. These would be the most popular accessories. Other options include extra long approach ramps for low profile sports cars, oil drains that roll up and down the length of the runways, , and for the home / hobby lifts,  drip trays to protect the car being parked underneath. They even offer a caster / wheel kit for the home / hobby models, so that they can be rolled around your garage from one bay to the other, or even outside the garage if the lift will fit through your doors.

• Scissor Lifts --  In most cases, the main benefit of a scissor lift is it doesn't occupy as much floor space as a two post or 4 post lift. Although they are not intended for long-term storage, many scissor lifts give you plenty of space to work underneath regardless of the type of vehicle or repair. Some models give you a maximum lift of more than 69" and are suitable for most low profile vehicles. There are several options in this category ranging from low rise to mid rise, and even full rise models. Plus, some are portable as well.

 Factors to consider when choosing a scissor car lift -

Full rise, Mid rise, or Low rise? 

How high do you want to be able to raise the vehicle? Do you want to be able to stand up underneath it? If so, you'll need a full rise model. These typically rise to a height of 70 inches or so. Most full rise models offer an open center, which allows you complete access to the underside of the automobile. So you can perform any and all work that you would do with a two post lift, without taking up the same amount of floor area in your work bay.

Mid rise scissor lifts are the most popular by far. These models typically raise to about 48 inches or so. There are many varieties, including many that are portable. Roll it around from one bay to the other. Wherever you need it. And they don't take up much space. You can just park a car over it when it's not in use, so you won't even know it's there. Some models will offer an open center, so you can access the full underside of the car, while the portable models will not. These lifts are very popular with body shops, brake shops, as well as home car buffs.

 There are several low rise models to choose from, and many are also portable. These handy lifts typically offer a lifting height of about 28 inches or so. 

Factors to look for -

Besides lifting height, the most important factor in your decision making process should be - portable or mounted?
Portability is a very popular and handy feature, but when a lift is portable, it eliminates the capability of being an open center lift. So you won't be able to access the entire underside of the car. So no transmission work, no catalytic converters, etc....

Accessories -

Some scissor car lifts offer an SUV adapter kit, which allows you to get at frame jacking points on certain vehicles that might be difficult to access.


 Alignment Lifts - These can be a sub-set of 4 post lifts and scissor lifts. Offering 4 wheel alignment service could be a very rewarding investment for your auto shop. Featuring radius turn-plates on the front, and full floating slip plates in the rear, these lifts have what you need integrated into the rack's runways to perform accurate and professional wheel alignments. If you want to become a serious garage, and add a very lucrative revenue stream, offering alignments can certainly add to your bottom line.

Factors to consider when choosing an alignment lift - 

 Scissor alignment rack, or four post alignment lift? 

Each has its own benefits. The scissor alignment rack will take up less space in your garage, and also will not have any cross-members getting in your way when you are going back and forth between the runways. This is a productivity enhancement, and is very desirable. but it comes at a cost. Scissor alignment lifts are typically significantly more expensive than the comparable 4 post alignment rack. Four post alignment lifts are typically much less expensive than their scissor lift counterparts, and there are many more models to choose from at different lengths, width, and lifting capacity.

 Factors to look for  -

Many manufacturers also offer a standard closed - front 4 post alignment lift, as well as an open front model. Again, the open front models are typically significantly more expensive than the closed front models. Many of the finer quality models will offer different pockets for the turn plate placement, depending on the length of the vehicle being serviced.
Cost - As stated earlier, alignment service can add a great new revenue stream for your business, but it requires a hefty up-front investment. This equipment is expensive. Don't forget, we do offer financing.

Accessories -

Some manufacturers offer package deals that include everything you need, including the front turnplates, rear slip plates, rolling jacks and air line kit. Others sell everything separately. Some may include the rear slip plate, but not the front turnplates. So be certain to check each model to confirm what is included, and what is optional.


• Specialty Car Lifts -- There are also a number of Specialty automotive lifts, car lifts, and truck lifts available for special vehicles and jobs that don't fit into any specific category:
Many different types to choose from. From pit lifts for lube shops, to unique and innovative portable two post lifts, and single post portable service lifts, to huge mobile column truck lifts that raise in sets two, four or six up to over 100,000 pounds!

Choices - 

Portable low-rise lift styles are ideal in a small shop since you can set them up and store them away quickly and easily. These electric/hydraulic car lifts can usually  handle up to 6,000 lbs with ease but some offer capacity up to 10,000 lbs. and their dropped cross bar gives you added clearance and space to work. There's no more trying to fit tools in between the vehicle and the lift, and no more banging your hands on the lift!

Pit Lifts - With their quick hydraulic / electric 6,000 lb to 10,000 lb. lifting capacity, low profile, and open center design, pit car lifts You will find that they are extremely affordable despite their superior quality and ease of use. Simply drive on, get the job done, drive off, and move on to the next job. 

 Single post automotive service lift - This lift is truly unique, and worth a look for any busy shop. It's like a cross between a forklift, and a pallet jack. At 6,000 lbs. capacity, it's perfect for servicing disabled vehicles out in the lot, or moving it from one bay to the next. This model is extremely popular!

Heavy-Duty Mobile Column Truck Lifts -- No job is too big! This style can lift 72,000 lbs. (set of four) in under a minute thanks to its superior strength and quality. This style also features additional stabilization features, security, and locking systems. Available in sets of two, four and six. They are also available in 12V DC or 220V AC options.

Parking or Storage lifts - BendPak Car Lifts offer numerous styles for vehicle storage as well. These parking lift styles are stable, durable, and most importantly, secure.  While the 4 post parking lift is the most popular for storing one automobile over another, there are several other varieties available. If you need automotive lifts that will take the weight and stand up to the prolonged strain.
There are many different choices, including extreme height models, and multiple car models.

Here are some parking / storage lift choices:

Two Post Automotive Lifts -- Made with a wider platform and available in standard or extended rise. These two-post storage lifts from Challenger Lifts will work almost anywhere there is a solid concrete floor. The dual synchronization keeps it at the deck level and auto safety locks keep it in place. Its maintenance-free composite carriage bearings and self-lubricating chain rollers mean that looking after these heavy-duty lifts is a breeze.

Single Post Automotive Parking Lifts --  Mounted, single-arm platform lifts are ideal for cars, trucks, boats, recreational vehicles, and almost anything else you can park on it. They're available in standard and 
extended rise with removable center panels ensuring you get the most out of the space you have available. 
Flip-up ramps create secure wheel chocks, and there are several additional safety features as well. The wider, 
low profile deck and heavy-duty construction will keep even the widest vehicles safe.

Four Post Parking lifts - Bar far, these are the most popular option for storing one car over another, for several reasons. They are the most versatile, they come in many different varieties, and they are the most affordable


• Motorcycle Lifts and ATV and UTV lifts -- Available in several different styles, you'll find these motorcycle lifts in a variety of electric / hydraulics, air, and manual power driven models. These motorcycle lifts are extremely portable and easy to store. Choose from a platform or open jack styles.


What is ALI Certification?

 ALI (The Automotive Lift Institute) is the only recognized authority in North America when it comes to lift safety and quality. Most lifts are not ALI certified. So it means a lot when a lift is ALI Certified. When a  car lift is ALI certified, you know that it was thoroughly tested by an independent lab to confirm it meets or exceeds specific standards. They not only test the lifts well beyond their rated capacity, but they also require specific safety features as well as confirming that the manufacturing process is detailed, safe and they meet quality control guidelines. You can confirm if a lift is ALI certified on our web site on any product page. We will have the proud ALI Certified logo displayed in the upper right side on the product page.

How to Decide Between a 2 Post vs. 4 Post Lift

It’s crucial to have the right automotive lift in your garage to get the job done right. Choosing the best lift for your requirements will help you improve your business’s profitability in many ways, such as:

  • Maximize floor space in your shop.
  • Boost work productivity and efficiency.
  • Improve shop security.

Follow these vehicle lift buying considerations to determine whether a two-post or four-post lift is better for your shop.

Your Budget

Generally speaking, a four-post lift costs more than a two-post one. Shops that regularly work with heavy vehicles may find a four-post option to be worth the price. If most of your customers have light sedans, trucks or SUVs, a two-post lift might be more cost-effective.

The exact price of a lift varies depending on a range of factors such as:

  • Lift make and model
  • Features and add-ons
  • Lifting capacity
  • Lift size
  • Shipping and installation fees

You should look for a lift that can support heavier vehicles than the ones you typically work on. This added capacity will help prepare you for jobs that go beyond your usual workload.

Additionally, make sure you look at lifts intended for commercial rather than home use. These lifts generally cost more than basic models, but they have higher lifting capacities and more advanced features that can help boost productivity and safety in your shop.

Installation Requirements

Here are the most important considerations to make when it comes to lift installation:

  • Floor space: Four-post lifts often take up more floor space than two-post, making them less suitable for small shops and garages. 
  • Ceiling height: Two-post lifts support a vehicle by its frame rather than holding the load on top of a flat platform. As a result, they can raise the vehicle higher even under a low ceiling. 
  • Electrical upgrades: Automotive lifts typically use either 110 or 220 volt motors, so it’s important to ensure your shop has the electrical infrastructure to support the lift you want.
  • Floor stability: Two-post lifts must be bolted to the ground for stability, so you’ll need to have your shop floor assessed before you can install one. Four-post options can also be anchored, but most are stable enough to work well without additional support.

If you have any questions about whether you can safely install a specific lift in your garage, ask the dealer you plan to purchase from.

Ease of Operation

Most four-post automotive lifts are easier to use than two-post ones, which require the operator to get out and carefully align the lift arms to the right points on the vehicle. In contrast, you can simply drive the car onto a four-post lift and raise it without any extra hassle.

At the same time, two-post automotive lifts provide much easier access to a vehicle’s wheels and undercarriage — since the lift holds the vehicle by its frame, you can simply slide underneath. For a four-post lift, the wheels rest on top, so you need to use a separate sliding jack to lift it off the platform enough to reach the undercarriage. Since a four-post model limits undercarriage access, it’s typically more suitable for vehicle storage in garages rather than auto repair shops.

Four-post lifts are usually more versatile than their two-post counterparts. With the right attachments, you can support motorcycles, snowblowers, riding mowers or any other motorized vehicle that comes into your shop.

Workplace Safety

It’s an understatement to say that job safety is an enormous concern for auto shop mechanics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace fatalities for mechanics and service technicians have increased significantly over the years. And that’s only counting the incidents that were reported.

Because two-post lifts require extra caution when aligning the vehicle, they come with a higher degree of risk than four-post lifts. Failing to properly balance the vehicle could cause it to fall. With more points to support the load, a four-post lift evenly distributes the vehicle’s weight, providing greater stability and reducing the risk of accidents.

Whether you choose a two-post or four-post lift, there are other ways you can protect your team while on the job. Look for lifts with safety-enhancing features like:

  • Hydraulic flow restrictors: A restrictor valve reduces the flow of hydraulic fluid, which provides extra power to the lift by increasing the pressure in the fluid.
  • Wheel chocks: Sturdy front and rear wheel chocks prevent the vehicle from rolling off the platform in either direction.
  • Safety locks: These devices automatically lock the lift structure in place while the lift is in operation, which prevents the lift from suddenly dropping if a suspension component fails.

Other Tips for Buying Automotive Lifts

Regardless of the type of lift you purchase, look for one that meets the following criteria:

  • Comes from a reliable manufacturer.
  • Adheres to relevant safety standards.
  • Has received certification from the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI).

Additionally, it’s best to bring in a qualified lift installation expert to set up your new lift for you. These machines are heavy and complex, and improper installation can result in dangerous malfunctions.

Book an appointment with an ALI-certified lift professional as soon as you finalize the purchase to ensure everything goes smoothly. Ideally, you should be able to schedule this service through the distributor that sold the lift to you.

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