Types of car lifts include four-post lifts, two-post hydraulic lifts, in-ground lifts and scissor lifts. In home workshops or compact garages, common models include low-rise lifts and portable lifts.
Car lifts are large, expensive pieces of equipment usually found in commercial garages. Four-post lifts use heavy-duty steel frames to create a stable work surface. A mechanic lowers the tracks to the bottom position, drives the vehicle onto the tracks, and locks it in place. The built-in hydraulic cylinder operates the cable system, which lifts the vehicle up to allow access to the bottom.
A two-post lift holds less weight than its four-post counterpart, but it also comes with a lower price tag. To use a two-post lift, the mechanic centers the vehicle over the lifting frame. When the hydraulic system is activated, the frame exerts upward pressure on the undercarriage of the vehicle and lifts it up.
Scissor lifts feature angled bottom supports that fold into the frame when the lift is in a low position. These lifts are easy to use and allow ample space to maneuver around the base and perimeter of the car.
Portable lifts and low-rise lifts take up a small amount of space in a garage. Lighter and easier to move than full-size models, the lifts are ideal for occasional use.