Buying a Car Hoist

A car hoist is used to lift a car in the air for inspection and maintenance. A
hoist, or lift, is an invaluable asset for this sort of procedure, and in this
article we will consider the use of this device, particularly concerns over
its safety and what to look out for when buying one.

What is a car hoist?

A car hoist is distinguished from a simple jack by it lifting the entire car
off the ground in one motion. Jacks and axle stands can be used to similar
effect, but only for a low lift, and this method is not as safe as a well
maintained lift. Most car hoists use an electric and hydraulic system,
consisting of an electric motor attached to an internal hydraulic "gearing"
system.  Electric hoists are clean and simple devices. There are different
kinds of hoist available, the most obvious difference being two-post and
four-post systems. A two-post car hoist takes up much less space than a
four-post system.  The latter tends to take up as much or more space than the
car, where a two-post system is remarkably small and compact. It is however
common for the bigger four-post systems to be rated for a higher maximum

Safety considerations:

One of the most basic requirements of any car lift is that it cope with the
full weight of whatever vehicle that one wants hoisted. Overloading the lift is
extremely unsafe, as failure of any of its parts could bring the entire weight
of the vehicle down on top of a person working underneath it.  Fortunately, car
hoists are usually rated considerably below their real-world weight limit, so
that one need not factor in a safety margin.  But it is important that one
respect the manufacturer's quoted limitations and not try to hoist a vehicle
that exceeds them.

Safety and maintenance:

Any hydraulic system needs a small amount of upkeep or at least attention to
keep it in full working order. It is always worth checking the controls and the
platform itself for sturdiness and predictability every so often. The hydraulic
hoses are especially important to watch, as any damage to the hoses could cause
a leak, which would severely impair the performance of the lift, likely causing
it to crash down unexpectedly.

Buying a car hoist:

When buying a car hoist one need consider the factors discussed here. First,
think about whether you need to lift the entire car in the air, or whether a
simple jack might suffice. For people who perform little maintenance on their
own cars, a full car hoist is probably too much. Once this is decided, look at
the space you have available - will a full-size four-post system fit? A
two-post system might be a better choice, so long as you pay very close
attention to the lift limit. Some two-post hoists are rated for up to 9,000lb,
which is adequate for the vast majority of cars.


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