Are Car Lifts in Your Future?
For most classic car enthusiasts the age-old question, “Where am I going to store this car?” comes into play more often than not. You rent storage space close by or evict the family car from the garage. Neither is a great solution. Have you had it with traveling to your classic car’s storage facility? Are those glaring looks from your slightly annoyed spouse getting to you? Then maybe car lifts are in your future.
Car lifts are not just for the rich and famous. They are the perfect solution for the enthusiast who wants to spend more time working on their car. Residential car lifts can hold up to 9,000 lbs and come in two basic types – two-post and four-post. Prices range anywhere from $2,500 to $3,800 depending on optional accessories.
Repair Help or Storage Solution?
Determining why you need a car lift is your first step. If repair work is what you need help with then a two-post lift is what you need. It grabs the vehicle on the underside of the chassis and raises it up, leaving the wheels free and clear. These lifts give better access underneath your car, although they will not help you with a storage problem.
“Stackables” Solve the Storage Dilemma
The four-post lift is a “drive on” lift. It stacks one car on top of the other in your garage. While you can get underneath the top car for basic maintenance like oil changes, you will need a jack to lift the wheels up off the ramp for more involved repairs. Accessories will make the four-post lift do double duty for storage and repairs.
Get the Measuring Tape Out
Once you decide what type of lift you’d like, determine if your garage can accommodate a lift. With measuring tape in hand, measure the height of the garage. The minimum height needed for a lift storing two typical vintage American cars like a Mustang or a Camaro is 10 feet. That will give you enough clearance above the bottom car and keep the top car from scraping the ceiling.
Well, That Won’t Fit
Next, measure the depth of the garage or the floor length. Most enthusiasts neglect to take into consideration that the lift has to be longer than the car it is storing for stability. A standard four-post lift is nearly 20 feet long or (in classic car terms) longer than a ‘59 Pontiac Bonneville. Work benches and other equipment will eat into your total measurements and may be a deciding factor in whether a car lift will fit your garage.
Don’t Assume, Measure Accurately
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when determining if you have the space in your garage for a four-post car lift:
When measuring the height of the ceiling, don’t forget the garage door motor. It hangs from the ceiling and may get in the way of the operation of the lift.
The tracks on the standard roll up garage door may get in the way of the posts. A typical four-post lift is over nine feet wide.
Will the top car have enough clearance for the garage door to retract? Don’t assume, measure accurately. If in doubt, consult the lift dealer.
Most garage floors are sloped for drainage. If yours is sloped more than 1/8-inch per foot, then you will need to bolt the posts to your garage floor.
Your garage floor must be no less than four inches thick in order to support the weight of the car lift, which is around 2,000 lbs.
When shopping around for a car lift you will be inundated with facts and rhetoric. Focus on safety and the warranty you get from the dealer. The most secure latch available is called the slack cable safety lock. It automatically locks the lifting cable in case the cable goes slack. This lock will enable the lift to hold in place on the last locking pawl (the spring metal “tabs” that click into place as the lift rises). Remember, safety first!
Leave it to Professionals
Even as handy as you are with tools, you may consider allowing professionals install your car lift. Because of its sheer weight, plus making sure everything is secure and level, do your back a favor and pay for it to be installed. They can install your lift faster and troubleshoot it on the spot.
Big Changes, Better Garages
Car lifts make sense for the classic car enthusiast who does their own work and needs additional storage. The price of a car lift is less than what most owners spend on garage rental in one year. Think of it – no more running back and forth simply to work on your Corvette. No more dirty looks from the family. Lift yourselves up, classic car buffs. It may mean big changes for your garage, and it’s all good.
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
You have the perfect car and now the perfect garage. All you are missing is the perfect coverage for your classic ride. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.