A professional car lift can drastically alter how you use your workspace and is vital because it simplifies challenging maintenance and storage problems. But how do you know if your shop has enough space that can accommodate the car lift you’re interested in?

The first thing to think about is typically the ceiling height for the car lift, but we’ll also look at what kind of space considerations you need to make. 

While lifts often make a small home garage floor appear larger, it’s possible to choose a lift that may constantly seem in your way as you move around the shop

In this guide, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about the ideal ceiling height for a car lift. You need to know how much space it is going to take up as you plan to open your auto repair shop. 

What Is The Desired Ceiling Height For Car Lifts?

Although most builders have already taken lift height factors into account for you if you have a garage or workplace designed exclusively for automotive repair, we are aware that many mechanics design their own workshops for their side jobs.

For your typical two-post lift, a minimum ceiling height clearance of 12 feet is needed. Several four-post storage lifts and anything made for larger trucks needs higher ceiling heights that create a big difference in your working experience with cars.

Several people buy or use Behm Design plans for their personal or hobby shops. To put this into perspective, a lot of their plans call for 12-foot-high framed walls, while others call for 8- to 10-foot-high framed buildings with extended upward foundation walls.

To be sure you can build a structure with framed bearing walls taller than 10 feet, check with your local authorities. You should also familiarize yourself with any local building codes that can affect how you design your area.

You should also know the size of your garage door while deciding car lift height requirements. Almost all these lifts take up quite some space so planning is necessary. 

What Is The Garage Ceiling Height Required To Fit A Car Lift?

You need a ceiling higher than 11 feet if you want to install a normal 2-post or 4-post lift in your existing residential garage.

The 2- or 4-post lifts that operate with a lower ceiling are available, although practically all of these low-rise car lifts are not ANSI certified. This indicates that neither their space abilities nor their safety has received any governmental endorsement.

If your garage or garage door is shorter than 11 feet, don’t let this deter you. A low-rise car lift, such as the Kwik-Lifts, is always an option (or various entry-level hydraulic lifts).

An automobile can only be raised 18 to 20 inches by using these lifts. Therefore, they function perfectly with an 8 to 10-foot high garage ceiling, which fulfills normal car lift height requirements for most home garages.

How Much Car Lift Is Necessary So That You Can Work Underneath The Car?

To work comfortably under your car lift, you should have between 24 to 30 inches of clearance from the floor to the bottom of the vehicle. This enough room would allow someone to creep under their car safely and with ease.

Also, there is adequate space to lift or lower a transmission, an axle, a gasoline tank, or any other significant item in a secure manner.

You should be aware that not all lifts that advertise a given degree of lift are equivalent. For instance, both the Kwik-Lift and the standard entry-level scissor lift offer a 20″ lift. A Kwik-Lift, however, gives you additional ground clearance because it raises a car by its tyres.

In contrast, an entry-level scissor lift typically supports an automobile using its specified jack points.

How Large Should Car Lifts Be??

It’s crucial to choose a car lift that won’t restrict your freedom and provide extra space to move freely within your garage, even though ceiling height is undoubtedly the first specification to line up with your workspace/ commercial garage.

Around 11 ft is the absolute minimum required height needed for a lift, but many mechanics forget to provide 3 or 4 feet of room on both sides to allow for simple access to any region of the car. 

What Should Be The Position Of Car Lifts?

It is advised to mount your lift on a wall without any rollout cabinets or drawers, as these can require significantly more clearance. These gaps can be filled with other organizational structures that make it easier for you to access your tools and accommodate the reach safely.

What Characteristics Should a Low-Rise Vehicle Lift Have?

Fundamentally, a garage with a ceiling height of 10 feet or less works excellently with a low-rise auto lift. However, not all low-height vehicle lifts are safe or useful to use.

For instance, many hydraulic lifts of the scissor style are too tall to fit beneath low ground clearance vehicles. Also, it’s not always safe to work below them.

There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of short-rise auto lift. You need a low-rise car lift that, at the very least, can:

  • Reliable and secure to use.
  • Provides enough lift for you to have ample space to operate underneath the car.
  • Can fit below a car with a low ground clearance
  • Capable of supporting vintage vehicles without specific jack points
  • Doesn’t require a lot of upkeep
  • Provides unlimited access to the car underneath

Is a Permit Required To Install A Car Lift?

Most of the time, if there is no construction work involved, you won’t need a permit to install a car lift in your own garage. To be safe, however, we advise checking with your neighborhood’s authorities. Installing car lifts in residential areas may be against the law in some places.

Car Lifts in Dealerships

Car lifts are essential tools in car dealerships, enhancing both the service departments and showroom displays. The ceiling height in the dealership’s service area is critical, as it must accommodate these lifts, enabling efficient maintenance work, from routine tasks to intricate repairs. Planning space for different types of lifts is essential for streamlining operations, and the safety standards, such as ANSI certification and local building codes, must be strictly adhered to.

Moreover, car lifts also augment the display in showrooms by showcasing the vehicle’s undercarriage, offering customers a unique perspective on the car’s design and engineering. Thus, planning for adequate ceiling height and space for lifts in the showroom is equally crucial. In essence, a well-thought-out approach to car lift installation significantly contributes to the overall efficiency and appeal of car dealerships.

In Conclusion:

Indeed, when planning to install a car lift, the considerations extend beyond merely the physical space. Factors such as your workspace’s ceiling height, floor space, car lift positioning, and type of lift that suits your requirements, all play significant roles. Moreover, safety certifications, maintenance needs, local building codes, and even financial aspects form integral parts of your decision-making process.

Whether it’s for your private garage or a professional auto repair shop, understanding these factors will guide you in choosing the ideal car lift that will not only fit into your workspace but also enhance your efficiency and ease in car maintenance or repair tasks.

If you’re a car dealership, integrating these considerations can lead to an improved customer experience, showcasing your cars in a unique way, and enabling efficient servicing of vehicles. Remember, the key to a successful car lift installation lies in careful planning and thoughtful design.

We hope that this guide has provided you with valuable insights and will assist you in making an informed decision. By meticulously considering these aspects, you’re one step closer to establishing a safer, more efficient, and more productive working environment. Your car lift can be a valuable investment that pays off in terms of convenience, space optimization, and operational efficiency.


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