Other than the obvious of fixing your car for cheaper, what are the advantages of having a lift in your garage?

I’m working on a project and want to better understand the type of folks who would be interested in having their own personal car lift.

Sharing of any advice or personal experiences would truly be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

my neighbor got it done.
and too think his roofline was same as house on right.
hmm, wont work well with my 8’ ceiling height.

There’s a type of lift that lets you put another car under the top car, adding to your garage space if you have the height.


What kind of project ? If it is for some kind of research paper I don’t see how unverifiable comments can be of much help. Who ever you turn it into could just say that you wrote them all yourself . Or If I respond with this ( I have one and I use it to make extra money doing oil changes when I am not restoring Hupmobiles ).

Tell your insurance company that you have this type of equipment at home and that you perform routine maintenance on vehicule. If a vehicule catches fire and cause extensive damage to your house you may not see any insurance money any day soon.To me, its a very bad idea to have a car lift in your home.

I’ve been working on cars for a very long time. Street cars and race cars. Never had a lift. I’ve only had one house whose garage had a ceiling height that could accommodate a lift. I rarely missed having one.

I have two buddies that have lifts. One has a 4 post drive-on and the other a 2 post side lift. Both are living in homes they will be wheeled out of with a sheet over their heads. I mention that only because selling a home with a lift will scare off a majority of buyers. Moving the lift requires a new home that can accept it so install one in your “forever” home.

I’ve worked under both lifts. The drive on, in my opinion. is useless. There is just too much junk in the way and removing wheels is a pain. The side lift is far, far, better. I borrowed it to do a bit of work that required transmission removal. He didn’t have a trans jack so rather than risk dropping the trans 5 feet to the floor, I pulled it on my back with the car very low and lifted the car after the trans was out.

The 4 posts are definitely a compromise from a work standpoint, but from an add-more-parking standpoint they’re far superior to the 2 posts.

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Assuming you’re working on your own car and not someone else’s car for money, I don’t agree with this.

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That’s false. What idiot insurance agent told you that. They can NOT deny coverage. Nor will they deny you coverage.

Yeah. The most they’d do is go after the lift manufacturer to recover their payout if it could be shown that a design flaw in the lift caused the fire. You’d still get covered.

There are an awful lot of things in everyone’s house, starting with candles on the dinner table and including the gas-fired clothes dryer, water heater, and stove that are far more likely to start a fire than a car lift, and no policy mandates that we rid our houses of them either.

My Porsche 911 owning neighbor has a sort of scissors lift that appears to be hydraulically powered. It lifts his car maybe 2 to 3 feet, all 4 wheels. I think he’s motivated to use a lift like that b/c of the car’s engine location. From the amount of time he spends there, he seems to enjoy working on it in his own garage, plus he must save quite a few $$$ doing it himself. So it makes sense for him to make the job easier and faster by using a specialized lift. I’d guess that lift of his probably cost $1000-$1500, but don’t know for sure. It wouldn’t take that much diy’er work on a 911 to pay it off I imagine. After that, other than the garage space it takes, it’s all gravy.

Best Porsche lift I’ve seen belongs to Jack Olson of the 12-Gauge Garage:

That kind of lift would only work with a rear-engine car, but it’s really slick for the Porsche.


My next door neighbor has built the garage mahal. It has a 4 post lift w/sliding center jacks that provide the best of both worlds IMO. The 4 poster has a belly pan to prevent the top car from dripping anything onto the lower car when it’s being used that way. The sliding center jacks will lift the car/truck off the drive on rails so the suspension/wheels can be removed and worked on. These things are not all that expensive compared to the overall cost of everything else. I think his was in the $6k range all in.

Two years after building this extra 3-4 car garage he is selling the home and if I could lift the garage and move it over to my property, I would. However, the extra cost of this mansion type garage appeals to a smaller subset of the population and he’s having a hard time selling because of that…

Buy his house, then rent the house out to cover the mortgage on your new garage. :wink:


If he’s expecting to get $1 back on the extra he spent, he’s dreaming. Sounds like a swimming pool - expensive to put in, worth $0 when you go to sell.

No one in their right mind would expect to get back the investment in anything other than kitchen and bathroom upgrades or extra bedrooms and even then, subject to the level of upgrade. Over improving is a sure way to loose money. His asking price includes a fraction of the investment in the garage. The bigger issue is most people wouldn’t even use it beyond the expansive third floor living area. People like garage spaces but not garage workspaces. Also not a starter home to begin with- ideally a family with a few kids. Also has small apple orchard on the property that requires care and upkeep. One of the reasons I bought the home next door and not one up the road that had 50 apple trees. No way I’m taking that on. Takes a while to find the right buyer…

Another neighbor of mine has built huge ramps next to their garage. He made them with concrete blocks. He has a big truck and drives it right up the ramps when he needs to work underneath. These aren’t measly ramps. They are 15-20 feet long & lift the vehicle 4-5 feet above ground level. When he’s standing in the pit the greasy side of the vehicle is slightly above the top of his head, so it looks like a pretty convenient work space. Has anyone here heard of somebody building a pit indoors? Right in their garage ? Could be covered w/steel plate for a smooth floor when not being used. That seems like it might be a pretty good poor man’s lift.

Concrete blocks are very unsafe. They can collapse at any time and are not meant to be used this way.

Pits are also very unsafe due to heavy gases settling in the pit and potentially asphyxiating anyone in the pit. Digging a hole, laying drainage pipes/sump system, lining pit, air exchange system, cover strong enough to support car if it happens to drive over it…not cheap.

These aren’t just hollow concrete blocks stacked up 4 feet tall. Yes indeed, that would be very unsafe. Each ramp is 4-5 blocks wide and the blocks are filled with concrete and mortared together. I expect there is rebar supporting them too, given the way the rest of his place looks, like a heavy-duty construction zone. I think he is a road construction company owner. I’m sure he’s aware the city of San Jose would take a very dim view of any unreinforced masonry construction in earthquake country.

Maybe you could get by with bigger wheels and a lift kit!

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