4 Post Lifts
As well as the practicality of being able to stand on the ground under a car as opposed to climbing down into an inspection pit to do so, a 4 post lift gives full access to all sides of the vehicle, front, rear and the underside of the vehicle or engine with the ability to have whatever area of the car being worked on at a suitable working height.
The safety of the 4 post lift should not be overlooked either, as opposed to any other type of vehicle lift, as the wheels and tyres sit firmly on the platforms, and do not overhang the edges of any part of the lift, with safety locks engaged correctly there is less risk of a vehicle being tipped or falling from this kind of garage lift and thus more safety for you and your mechanics.
What is a 4 post lift?
A 4-post lift is a type of automotive lift that consists of four posts that are positioned at the corners of the vehicle, with hydraulic jacks or other lifting mechanisms that are used to raise the vehicle. The vehicle is then supported by the lift, allowing mechanics to easily access the underside of the vehicle for maintenance or repair.
What is a 4 post car lift?
A 4-post car lift is a four post lift that is designed specifically for cars, however more often than not, especially in the setting of a garage or workshop, any 4 post lift can be used for multiple types and sizes of vehicle. Often 4-post lifts advertised for cars can also be used for vans and light commercial vehicle lifting also, however, you need to check the lifting capacity of the car lift before using it for any type or size of vehicle for which you are unsure. Call to discuss with your 4 post lift supplier or manufacturer to remove any doubt or risk before using a car lift to lift anything other than cars.
What is a 4 post ramp?
The terms 4 post lift and 4 post ramp are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing, however, the 4-post ramp is a type of automotive lift that is indeed similar to a 4-post lift, but instead of being raised off the ground, the vehicle is driven up onto a ramp that is supported by four posts. The ramp is typically sloped, allowing the vehicle to be driven up onto it, and then the ramp is raised using hydraulic jacks or other lifting mechanisms. This type of lift is often used for vehicles that are too low to fit onto a traditional 4-post lift, or for vehicles that need to be lifted higher off the ground. Some 4-post ramps also have additional features, such as caster wheels or locking mechanisms, to make it easier to move the vehicle around while it is on the ramp.
What is a 4 post lift good for?
Any time you need to work around or particularly under a vehicle a 4 post lift can help to make the job both easier and quicker without having to slide under a car that is raised on ramps, jacks or axle stands.
Some common uses for a 4-post lift include working on the exhaust system, changing the oil, changing tyres, checking and replacing brake pads and rotors, and performing general inspections of the vehicle’s undercarriage.
Bear in mind that any time you are working on the car wheels, tyres, suspension or any other work that would involve removing one or more of the wheels, you will need a jacking beam to lift that side of the vehicle from the vehicle lift platform. You can read more on our jacking beams page of the website
Another use for 4 post lifts is for wheel alignment, as 4 post lifts usually have the option to add alignment turn plates or specialist platforms for wheel alignment with recessed turn plates, that allow the steering wheel to be moved and the alignment of the wheels be adjusted while the car is still stationary on the 4 post vehicle lift.
4-post lifts are also sometimes used to store vehicles when they are not in use, as they can support the weight of the vehicle without taking up a lot of space, with room underneath to potentially store another vehicle. Whilst many home users buy 4 post lifts for this purpose, we would strongly recommend ensuring that locks are properly engaged whenever the lift is raised, and we do not recommend parking another vehicle under a 4 post lift as we cover later in this article.
How much ceiling height do you need for a 4 post lift?
To install a standard 4 post car lift you need a ceiling height of at least 11 feet (or 3400mm) to allow for the maximum height of the lift and a car that is parked on the platforms of the lift.
However, do check with your supplier for the particular lift dimensions and based on the types of vehicles you plan to be lifting before committing to your 4 post lift purchase and to avoid any costly mistakes.
How heavy is a 4 post lift?
The weight of a 4 post lift will vary depending on the size of the lift, both height and width, the types of vehicle it is made to support, the overall construction of both the posts and the platforms, and whether it has turn plates fitted or not.
At Concept Garage Equipment by way of example we have 4 post lifts that weigh under 1000kg, whilst others are over 1300kg – so if you are at all concerned as to whether the area you plan to install the 4-post car or vehicle lift will be suitable, please call us first and we will be happy to assess your garage layout, setup, ground construction and concrete thickness before advising on which lifts will be most suitable for your garage or MOT Bay.
Can I put a 4 post lift in my garage?
If you own a commercial building, garage or MOT Bay, then unless it’s particularly small, you can almost certainly have a 4 post lift installed. There are size and height restrictions, and your floor concrete must be sound, level and of suitable thickness to support the weight of the four post lift.
For a residential garage it is often possible to accommodate a 4 post lift provided that there is enough space and the necessary infrastructure to support it
Before installing a 4-post lift in any garage, it is important to carefully measure the space to ensure that the lift will fit, and to consider any potential obstacles or obstructions that might affect its placement. You will also need to ensure that your garage has a strong and level floor that can support the weight of the lift and any vehicles that are placed on it. Additionally, you will need to have a power source nearby to operate the lift, and you may need to make other modifications to your garage, such as reinforcing the ceiling or installing additional lighting, to accommodate the lift. It is highly recommended that you consult with a professional installer to ensure that your 4-post lift is installed correctly and safely.
Can I install a 4-post car lift in my home garage?
Yes, it is possible to install a 4-post car lift in your home garage, but there are a few things you need to consider first:
- Garage Size: 4-post lifts require a certain amount of space, so you need to make sure that your garage is big enough.
- Ceiling Height: 4-post lifts also require a certain amount of ceiling height. The minimum recommended ceiling height for a 4-post lift is 11 feet (or 3400mm).
- Floor strength: 4-post lifts are heavy, so you need to make sure that your garage floor is strong enough to support the weight of the lift and the vehicles that you plan to lift.
If your home garage meets all of these requirements, then you can install a 4-post lift. However, it is important to note that this is a complex job that should be done by a qualified professional.
What are the Classes of 4 Post Lifts?
The main classes of 4 post lifts on sale in the UK are:
- Class 4: These lifts are designed for testing and servicing most cars, light vans, ambulances, taxis and motor caravans.
- Class 7: These lifts are larger with a higher lifting capacity for servicing all class 4 vehicles as well as commercial vehicles, such as larger vans, trucks and lorries, over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg.
- ATL (Authorised Tester Lift): These lifts are specifically designed for MOT testing and meet the requirements of the UK MOT testing scheme.
The best class of 4-post lift for your garage will depend on the type of vehicles that you plan to test and service. If you are only going to be testing and servicing cars and light vans, then a Class 4 lift will be sufficient. However, if you plan to test and service heavier vehicles, then you will need a Class 7 lift.
If you are setting up a garage MOT testing station, then you will need a lift suitable for MOT testing. ATL lifts are equipped with a number of features that make them ideal for MOT testing, such as wide platforms and jacking beams.
How thick should concrete be for a 4 post lift?
The minimal concrete depth that we recommend for a 4 post lift installation is between 150mm (6 inches) and 250mm (10 inches).
The thickness of the concrete floor in your garage will depend on the weight of the 4-post lift and the vehicles that will be placed on it, as well as any other factors, such as the type of soil or subgrade beneath the concrete.
Lift manufacturers and several lift installation engineers use the absolute minimum recommended depth of 100mm or 4 inches of concrete, but due to the excessive weight and forces imparted by a 4-post lift at the floor bolts and base, we would always recommend deeper concrete than this.
A four-post car lift is usually mounted onto an existing concrete surface, though this must be tested and confirmed as both level, and of a suitable depth prior to beginning the lift installation.
On occasions where the depth of concrete is found to be too thin, not structurally sound, or uneven, the existing floor may need to be dug out and relaid with deeper and correctly levelled concrete to meet the minimum requirements.
Your 4 post lift supplier or engineer will be able to test the concrete and advise if the depth and concrete are suitable for the lift you are planning to install. Speak to Concept Garage Equipment as we can help with this prior to any purchase or lift installation taking place.
How often must 4 post car lifts be thoroughly examined?
All four post car lifts must be thoroughly examined by a competent person before they are first used (as per HSE803/69). This could be by the installing garage equipment company for example.
And also a thorough examination of the 4 post car lift is also required following ‘exceptional circumstances’, for example, if a lift is damaged following improper use, failing parts that needed to be repaired or replaced, following a lift failure or fall, and following long periods of use.
Please note, the thorough examination of a four post car lift is not a replacement for the regular routine maintenance of the lift which must be completed regardless of usage or failure of the vehicle lift.
Lift maintenance is required under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and applies to all work equipment including 4 post car lifts, and this states:
5.—(1) Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
(2) Every employer shall ensure that where any machinery has a maintenance log, the log is kept up to date.
Do you have to anchor a 4 post lift?
We recommend that a 4-post lift in a commercial garage, workshop or MOT testing station must be bolted to the ground. There is some debate for home car storage lifts as to whether anchoring to the ground is necessary, so it does depend in that case on your circumstances, the lift type, the weight and types of vehicles you intend to be lifting and the conditions in your garage.
Some 4-post lifts are designed to be free-standing with larger feet at the end of the lift posts and thus do not require anchoring, while the majority of 4 post lifts sold in the UK need to be anchored to the floor to provide additional stability. It is generally recommended to consult with a professional installer or the lift manufacturer to determine whether or not your specific 4-post lift needs to be anchored.
Is a 4 post lift better than a two post lift?
These two types of car lifts each have distinct advantages and disadvantages. A 4 post car lift is typically more stable than a two post lift, meaning that it can support heavier vehicles and equipment.
Additionally, the 4 post lift allows for somewhat more accessible storage beneath the car, and also allows for easier car door opening when the lift is lowered, as there are no posts in the way, which there can be, particularly on the symmetrical two post car lift
When it comes to automotive maintenance, the most important decision for any garage or MOT Bay is choosing the right lift for the job. The 4-post lift has been a popular choice for garages and MOT Bays for many years due to its ease of use and versatility. It can handle a wide range of tasks, from wheel alignment to engine and exhaust work. Compared to the two-post lift, a 4-post lift has greater stability and additional support for heavier vehicles.
Furthermore, if you have an MOT Bay then a 4 post ATL MOT lift would be necessary for you to meet UK MOT requirements.
What are the disadvantages of a 4 post lift?
4 post lifts are a great way to have a robust and safe vehicle lift in your garage, but they do have some disadvantages. Here are a few things to consider before installing a 4-post lift:
- Height and width requirements: 4 post lifts are taller and wider than 2 post lifts. This means that you will need to have a garage with high ceilings and a wide enough bay to accommodate the lift.
- Cost: Generally 4 post lifts are more expensive than 2 post lifts or scissor lifts with similar lifting capacity.
- Wheel and tyre work: It can be more difficult to work on wheels and tyres with a 4-post lift. This is because the vehicle is supported by its wheels, so you will need to use a jacking beam to lift the wheels off the ground.
- Not suitable for all types of vehicles: Unless specifically designed with such features, standard 4-post lifts are not suitable for all types of vehicles, such as low-clearance vehicles or vehicles with a long wheelbase. You will need the correct class of vehicle lift for the vehicles you plan to work on.
- Can be noisy: Some 4-post lifts can be noisy when raising and lowering vehicles, as they use a combination of electricity and compressed air to operate the hydraulics.
- Requires regular maintenance: 4 post lifts require regular servicing and maintenance to ensure that they are safe and operating properly.
If you are considering installing a 4-post lift in your garage or MOT Bay, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully to make sure that it is the right choice for your needs.
What is the smallest 4-post car lift?
Each vehicle lift manufacturer has a range of 4 post lifts in several sizes, and although size is important in terms of the size of the garage you intend to install it in as well as cost, these are certainly not the only factors, you must also consider:
- Type, size, height and weight of the vehicles you intend to be lifting
- Height of the ceiling in your garage or MOT Bay
- The ground or concrete where you intend to install the lift
- Access around and below the lifted vehicle that is both required by law, and what may be required by you or your garage mechanics
For a proper assessment of your needs and to be presented with the perfect garage lifting solution for your needs and budget please call Concept Garage Equipment today.
Is it OK to store a car on a four post lift?
Storing a car on a four post lift is possible, however, it is important to note that it is not as secure as storing it on the ground. Depending on the size and weight of the car, some four post lifts may not be able to support the weight of the vehicle on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. It is important to check with the manufacturer and ensure that the four post lift can support the car for an extended period of time. Additionally, when storing a car on a four post lift, it is important to use wheel chocks to ensure that the vehicle does not roll off of the lift.
The 4 post lifts that are sold on the Concept Garage Equipment website are primarily designed to lift cars – not store them. If you choose to store a car on a four post lift, the lift must be securely bolted down and all safety mechanisms of the lift should be in good working order, both the lifting mechanism and locks should be tested and inspected regularly for any signs of failure.
It is also important to make sure the lift is level and properly balanced when storing a car, as an unevenly distributed weight can cause structural damage or further instability.
How far apart should 4 post lifts be?
The recommended minimum distance between four post car lifts is at least two feet or 600mm of space between the base of the lift posts to any other lift or any other piece of garage equipment or obstruction. When taking this measurement, you must include the overhang of any vehicle on the lift as being part of the size of the lift and hence any other lift would need to be 600mm from whatever the outermost points of the lift or lifted vehicles are.
Firstly, for practical purposes, this ensures suitable clearance between lifts that are side by side or installed sequentially in a garage, and that there is ample space to move around between any vehicles that are on the lifts at the same time as working on these.
More importantly for Health & Safety reasons, 600mm is the minimum clearance that the fire brigade would need to move between vehicles on a lift with full breathing apparatus if the vehicle on the lift happened to be on fire. This stipulation was made a result of a risk assessment carried out by the UK fire brigade and must be strictly adhered to, as any insurance claim would be at risk if you have not done so.
Are 4 post lifts safer than 2 post lifts?
Even though these 2 types of car lifts can be rated to support the same weight of vehicle, a 4 post car lift is typically more rigidly supported than a two-post lift due to it having 4 posts tethered to the ground vs. two posts, meaning that it can potentially support heavier vehicles with more stability.
Also, the fact that a vehicle on a 4 post lift is driven onto 2 lift platforms, and therefore sits squarely on all 4 wheels, so assuming the brakes are on and/or chocks are in place to prevent rolling, the likelihood of the vehicle tipping due to unbalance on the 4 post lift is much lower than that on a 2 post lift.
Whereas, the balance of the vehicle on a 2-post lift is very much down to the individual using the lift to ensure that the arms of the lift are placed at the correct points on the car or van.
What are the benefits of a 4-Post Lift for MOT Testing Stations?
A 4-post lift is a must-have piece of equipment for any garage MOT testing station in the UK. It offers a number of benefits over other types of lifts, including:
- Safety: 4-post lifts are extremely stable and secure, making them ideal for lifting and supporting vehicles during MOT testing.
- Accessibility: 4-post lifts provide easy access to all areas of the vehicle’s underside, making it easier for MOT testers to inspect all required components.
- Versatility: 4-post lifts can be used for a variety of other tasks in addition to MOT testing, such as vehicle servicing, car maintenance, and bodyshop repairs.
What’s the recommended Type of 4-Post Lift for an MOT Bay?
The best type of 4-post lift for a garage MOT testing station is a two-person ATL (Authorised Tester Lift). ATL lifts are designed to meet the specific requirements of the UK MOT testing scheme and are equipped with a number of features that make them ideal for this purpose, such as:
Wide platforms: ATL lifts have wide platforms that can accommodate a wide range of vehicles, including vans and SUVs.
Jacking beams: ATL lifts come with jacking beams that allow testers to raise the wheels of the vehicle above the platforms, providing even better access to the underside of the vehicle.
The different classes of MOT tests define which sort of MOT lift you will need in your garage, either a Class 4 MOT lift if you only work on cars or vans. But if you work on larger vehicles including heavy goods vehicles then you will need a Class 7 4-post MOT lift.
Advantages of a 4-Post Lift Over an Inspection Pit
4-post lifts offer a number of advantages over inspection pits, including:
- Safety: 4-post lifts are generally safer than inspection pits, as they eliminate the risk of falls and other accidents.
- Space: A pit removes a large amount of useable floor space, which in the case of a 4-post lift could be part of your working area beneath the car.
- Moveability: Once an inspection pit is dug, it is a large undertaking to re-fill and dig another pit, whereas a 4-post lift can be unbolted and moved in a matter of hours.
- Efficiency: 4-post lifts allow testers to work more efficiently, as they can easily move around the vehicle without having to climb in and out of a pit.
How do you move a 4 post car lift?
Moving a 4 post car lift can be a complex and time-consuming process which requires planning and knowledge not only of where the lift is coming from but more planning the transportation and ensuring that the new location is of a suitable size, the floor is level and of the correct depth concrete and that power and compressed air connections are available and within reach of where the lift will live in its new home.
If you are inexperienced or do not have the correct training or equipment to move a 4 post lift, we highly recommend you speak to an expert in 4 post lifting equipment. Companies such as Concept Garage Equipment have many years of experience in this area and trained engineers on hand to make the process seamless for you, reducing risk, and ensuring correct setup and operation of the equipment once it has been re-installed.
What are common problems with a 4 post car lift?
If a four-post car lift is properly installed and meticulously maintained there should be no significant problems and the lift should give you excellent service for years to come, however, if it’s problematic here are a few things to check.
- The 4 post lift won’t raise or lower: check the oil levels, electrical connections, air hoses, air pressure and cables. Check that the locks are engaging and disengaging properly.
- Lift operating slower than usual: check hydraulic fluid levels, and check for air or contaminants in the fluid or any otherwise lubricated parts. Check air pressure and check for any air or fluid leaks.
- Car stuck on a raised 4 post lift: Do not stand under the lift, but check what you can without endangering yourself or anybody else, including the electric supply, the hydraulic fluid levels and the air hoses and pressures as well as checking the cables especially if the lift will not raise before being lowered.
We highly recommend if you experience any of the above issues that you contact your lift manufacturer or supplier at the earliest opportunity to have the issue resolved by a professional engineer and remove any risk to yourself, colleagues or vehicles.
What to do if a lift breaks down?
If you experience a catastrophic failure of your four post car lift, and the issue is not something obvious that can be easily resolved with no risk to you or your garage mechanics or vehicles within the workshop, then please contact your lift manufacturer or supplier at the earliest opportunity to have the issue resolved by a professional engineer.
We have engineers available to help with all aspects of garage lift repairs and can deal with all makes and models of 4 post lifts.
What needs to be inspected regularly on a four post car lift?
It is important to note that all 4-post lifts must be installed and maintained by a qualified engineer.
Checks on your 4 post lift should be done at least monthly but often should be done daily depending on the amount of use the lift is getting in your garage and these should include the following checks:
- Check for leaks in the air system, and for any reduced air pressure leading to slow operation of the lift
- Check for hydraulic fluid leaks and ensure the level is being maintained and topped up with the correct specified lubricant
- Check that all moving parts are properly lubricated and are not seized
- Ensure steel ropes are not corroded and are correctly adjusted
- Check that all floor anchor bolts are correctly tightened
- Check that electrical connections are working with no exposed wires
- Test the lift locking mechanism and that all locks are engaging correctly
- Check for obstacles, blockages or foreign material near or within any of the moving parts that hinder the correct operation of the 4 post lift
Regular inspection and lift maintenance is required under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and applies to all work equipment including car 4 post lifts.
Help with your four post lift
If you are considering or even in the process of purchasing or setting up a 4 post car lift, or indeed any other type of vehicle lift, either as a stand-alone piece of garage equipment or as part of an MOT Bay build and need some information, helpful free advice or additional garage or MOT equipment give Concept Garage Equipment a call, we would love to help you get your garage equipment set up and paying for itself as soon as possible.
We can offer you advice over the phone at 0113 469 0572, we sell 4 post lifts online and over the phone, including delivery, installation and staff training in the correct use of the two post car lift or any other garage equipment up to a full MOT Bay.
Call us today on 0113 469 0572 or use the website contact form today, we are here to help.