Vehicle Lifts Information

Vehicle lifts are used to lift and support vehicles for service or storage. They may be hydraulic, electric, or manually-actuated. Most devices require an operator to push a button. Hydraulic lifts are driven by an external hydraulic cylinder or hydraulic motor. Electric lifts have an electric motor and may use a screw or screw/scissor combination. Manually-actuated lifts are driven by hand crank or screw drive, or by foot pumping or ratcheting. In addition to actuation method, capacity and lifting height are important specifications to consider when selecting vehicle lifts. Capacity is the maximum force or load supported by the device. Lifting height is measured in feet.

Types of Vehicle Lifts

There are many different types of vehicle lifts. Examples include two-post lifts, four-post runway lifts, and car stackers. This product area does not, however, include lifts that attach to the exterior of a vehicle for lifting a device such as a wheelchair. Two-post lifts are automotive lifts and truck lifts that are allow personnel to open all of a vehicle’s doors while accessing the undercarriage. Four-post lifts also provide complete under-vehicle access without side obstructions. Often, these heavy-duty vehicle lifts are used with recreational vehicles (RVs), school buses, twin-axle tractors, or utility vehicles. As their name implies, car stackers are designed for use with automobiles.


Vehicle lifts include runway lifts, mobile column lifts, scissors and scissor lifts, parallelogram lifts, and in-ground lifts, Runway lifts have two or four posts and a platform that can be raised or lowered. Mobile column lifts have multiple posts or columns that can operate individually, together, or as separate pairs. Scissors and scissor lifts are platforms that use a scissor-like mechanism to raise and lower the vehicle. Typically, this type of vehicle lift moves only in the vertical plane. Parallelogram lifts are, as their name implies, shaped like a parallelogram. These vehicle lifts come in a variety of track lengths and are suitable for heavy-duty lifting requirements. In-ground lifts are low-volume lifts with a single, high-pressure piston.


Jacks, bus lifts, and motorcycle lifts are types of vehicle lifts that are available in light-duty, heavy-duty, portable, and mobile models. These lifts also differ in design by where and how they support a vehicle in the air. Some lift by the vehicle frame. Others lift the vehicle by the tires. For each type of vehicle, a specialty lift is available.