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Learn About 4 Post Lifts (updated for 2023)


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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.

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-port lift purchase to avoid any costly mistakes. 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 need 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: Maintenance 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.

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 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.

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.

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