How to Choose a Car Lift for Your Residential Garage

A car lift can be a good investment for any residential garage if you do your own car repairs or work on cars as a hobby. They can increase safety, as there is typically less chance of a car falling on you when it's on an actual lift versus just being jacked up, and they give you room to work and see the underside of the car more readily. Not all homeowners realize that they can have an actual car lift installed in their residential garage, but these are usually easier to set up and may even be more affordable than you realize, given the many varieties of lifts on the market. Note a few tips for choosing the right type for your residential garage.

Rise height

The rise height of a lift will need to be considered, so don't forget to consider the height of your vehicle and the clearance you need to work underneath, as well as your garage height. If you have an SUV, jeep, truck or other vehicle that's taller than the average car, you will only be able to lift it so far; investing in a taller lift may be pointless if the garage ceiling won't allow the lift to fully extend.

On the other hand, you may not want a shorter lift if it doesn't give you enough clearance to easily work under the car, given your own height. It can be good to take actual measurements of your garage's interior height (including a measurement with the garage door open as this will block some clearance on the garage ceiling) and the height of your vehicle. This will tell you the needed rise height for a lift.

Lift material

Some lifts have legs made of steel on the outside but plastic sliders inside; this is often done to cut down on the cost of including all-steel parts. That plastic may not hold up under the weight of your vehicle and the constant wear and tear of lifting, and it may need replacing sooner rather than later. Note the material used for your lift and invest in all-steel parts for greater strength and durability if possible.

Welds versus bends

The plates of a car lift can be bent over the shaft that lifts the car, but this bending isn't as strong as an actual weld. Your car's weight can cause the plate to sag in the middle when it's simply been bent over the lifting shaft, so invest in a lift that has plates actually welded to the shaft for added durability and strength.