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Hydraulic Lift in garage question

I’m having a new house built and am interested in installing a hydraulic lift in the garage. I was wondering if anyone out there has one and if so, does it require a certain thickness of concrete for the flooring or anything else out of the ordinary (outside of 220V electric).

I would not get too excited about that idea before you find out how much it is going to cost. There are several different kinds and each has advantages and disadvantages. What are you considering and do you have any idea of the cost yet?

The concrete and base will need to have a PSI rating sufficient to handle the load. As you can imagine, a 2 post lift will place more stress per square inch than a 4 poster. So the first thing you need to determine is which one you want/can afford and then take the weight of the lift and vehicle and divide that by the number of posts. Divide that by the square inch size of the lift pad and you get a pounds per square inch load. Check with your building inspector on what they require for margin and that is the spec you need to give the builder. The base will determine what rating and thickness of concrete slab you’ll need.

That being said, most floors are 4" 3500 PSI concrete. More than enough to handle a 4 poster with a car.

Edit: almost forgot you asked about other considerations- think headroom. You want to be able to walk under the car/truck on the lift? The ceiling needs to be high enough.

Also, do you want to be on the lift with the main door open? May need a roll up door in that case.

I know one guy who put in a 4 poster because it had enough clearance to park a second car under the one on the lift.

I use a BENDPAK portable midrise lift, and the 4" thick concrete floor has no problem in supporting both the vehicle and the lift. I chose this lift because it’s portable, so it can be moved out of the way when not in use. And if I ever move, the lift comes with me.


You would be better off installing one of these in the home.
Details on concrete, etc. should be available from the lift maker.

No hydraulic leaks or grime, much cheaper, and best of all; the entire undercarriage is exposed. No having to work around a hydraulic lift center column or extension legs fanning out from the center.

And with tongue in cheek here, a standard 8 foot ceiling won’t work!

The one I’ve picked out is less than $1700. It has all the standard safety features. The biggest disadvantage to these “homeowner” type lifts, is the weight capacity and lift time. With this model, it has a capacity of 8500lbs and a lift time of about a minute. These specs wouldn’t cut it in most shops.

One day here in Tucson a tech put a Suburban up on a newly installed electric lift (pro-installed,at a Dealer,done to code) and the anchors pulled out of the concrete,the investigation cited the concrete mix.

That headroom thing is a issue,in the 80’s with the BMW hoods opening backwards there were ceiling marks at every lift station,every Tech put one in the ceiling,I have to laugh today.

The environmental issues (testing to see if lift oil is getting into the soil) has motivate all the Dealers to go electric.

I’d rather get a 4 post lift because of some of the reasons stated above (exposure to the complete under carriage, less per square foot). However, I’m wondering how easy it is to pull both front wheels off if I was working on the front end ?? It seems the 2 post would be easier for that.

why not put in a central pit?

A friend of mine has one and loves his. But the building project was designed and overseen by a well known architectural engineering firm. And the garage around it is the size of a barn. He has an engine rebuild section, a body section…you get the idea.

Remember if you install a lift you’ll need a bigger garage.

How do you remove the wheels and do a brake job with a central pit?

The bigger garage (height-wise) isn’t a problem. A central pit involves excavating, permits, etc. A four post lift requires no special footing or permit. Plus, you can’t store an extra car with the central pit.

Some building codes don’t allow a pit in a garage. Not only because someone could fall into the pit, but gas fumes can accumlate in a pit if there’s a gas leak. And if you go under a vehicle with a cigarette in your mouth with those gas fumes…KABOOM!


Make sure your installer gets a permit to keep city hall informed. Your neighbors will call and complain. Your property tax may go up and someone will say that you need a business permit. Please don’t pay much attention to what I just wrote.

Make sure you figure out what lift you want before pouring the garage floor.

You want a quality install of concrete in the garage floor and some reinforcing may be required/recommended around the bearing area of the lift posts especially if two post only. A two post system can introduce torque (moment) in your garage floor since a vehicle will not be perfectly balanced. There is little reinforcement in concrete for garage floors typically. Concrete is incredibly strong for compression. However in tension has limited strength(maybe 150psi unreinforced) so you need some sort of reinforcement.

They may suggest placing a footing where you plan on locating a post or possibly make a thicker (pad) area that allows for reinforcement to be placed in. The thickness of concrete is typically driven by the ability to meet concrete design codes for standard clearance and not always for strength, especially in this application.

I believe that the thickness of the concrete isn’t much of an issue with the 4 post lift because as mentioned above, the 4 post lifts do not exert an inordinate amount of pressure per square foot. Some of them even come with casters so they can be moved (completely portable). However, I’ll be running my plans by the contractor who will be pouring the garage slab and see if he suggests anything. Thanks.