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What are Automotive Lifts?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
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Automotive lifts are devices that make use of hydraulics to lift a vehicle off the ground. Just about every garage or auto repair center will have at least one hydraulic lift that is recessed into the floor of a service bay, and at least one portable car lift that can be utilized in another area of the facility. While the automotive lift is usually associated with auto repair facilities, there are a number of automotive lifts that are used in manufacturing environments and even around the home.

Along with the automotive lifts that are recessed and permanently in place at the local garage, there are other auto lifts that can be used in many different settings. Just about all these lifts can be classified as hydraulic lifts, regardless of size and configuration. Some are constructed for periodic use, while others are durable enough to be used on a daily basis.

The in-ground auto lift is the most commonly used of all automotive lifts. These often have the hydraulics below ground level, and include two ramps that allow the vehicle to be driven into place and locked. Once in place, the mechanism raises the vehicle to a height that allows the mechanic to comfortable reach sections of the automobile from the underside. Along with use in garages, these types of automotive lifts also are often found in smaller businesses that specialize in oil and filter changes.

Among the portable automobile lifts, the scissors lift is one of the most popular. Often, these car lifts also require for the vehicle to be positioned above the device by driving onto tire guides or ramps. When activated, the mechanism raises the vehicle directly upward using a configuration that resembles a pair of scissors being opened. This type of lift is generally small enough to be stored at home, and is ideal for use in quickly rotating tires or draining an oil pan.

Automotive lifts may be constructed in what is known as a two post or a four post configuration. Some work on simple hydraulics, while others use various combinations of electronic or mechanical devices to lift the vehicle. There are automotive lifts that are made for just about any size vehicle, from a motorcycle to a large transfer truck.

The standards for automotive lifts built in the United States are set by the Automotive Lift Institute. Formed in 1945, the Institute requires that any members meet a stringent set of safety and quality standards in order to receive certification and endorsement. There are also periodic inspections to ensure that members of the Institute are maintaining those standards on an ongoing basis.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WikiMotors, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon75017 — On Apr 05, 2010

who could describe the sales of automotive lift in North/south America market?

and what are the production capacities of the major producers?

By rubinsracing — On Jan 14, 2010

Nice article. I think that above ground lifts are now more common than in ground lifts. With various new environmental regulations popping up every day, in ground lifts are becoming obsolete.

The common person can no longer disassemble or assemble in ground lifts because they are not certified to handle hazardous materials being put in the ground. This is why most people are simply choosing the above ground lift which does not come under any environmental regulations. There are some great sources for these out there.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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