Are Car Scissor Lifts Safe?

Scissor lifts are very different from all the large post lifts and industrial in-ground lifts. They seem too small for lifting cars. Naturally, that begs the question, Are car scissor lifts safe? Will it break under pressure? Can it distribute the weight properly? These are some very common concerns and we have the perfect answer for you.

Indeed the scissor lifts are considerably small in terms of size but that doesn’t mean it lacks safety. Any well-built scissors lift consists of a powerful hydraulic system and electrical equipment to lift the rated weight. Along with that, the pneumatic or magnetic safety lock adds extra protection in an accidental release.

That’s not all, scissor lift manufacturers are innovating tirelessly to improve the entire system through user feedback. As a result, now we see all those features that let you know if your motor is overheating, low fluid alert, pressure calibrating, and so on. Each of these makes the machine more reliable and efficient for lifting tasks.

However, these features alone cannot guarantee safety if you can’t follow simple guidelines put together by the manufacturer. Sometimes you can find instructions on the machine itself or come as a portable scissor lift guide.

Make sure to read the guide before operating the machine. It will give you more insights into the machine and safer operating parameters that will increase the lifespan of the lift.

are scissor car lifts safe

What is a car scissor lift?

In the world of automotive, a scissor lift is a tool that can lift your car with the power of hydraulics. It looks like a scissor hence the name car scissor lift. Unlike a post lift or in-ground lift, it has a much smaller footprint and requires minimal effort to install in your garage.

What’s more amazing about a scissor lift is, despite being smaller, it can effectively lift most cars. Sometimes you can even see lifts that are capable of lifting heavy vehicles like SUVs, Vans, and trucks. In terms of lifting height, they rise to a standing height.

How does a car scissor lift work?

Most car scissor lift works pushing hydraulic fluid into the cylinder, which then extends the entire structure. If you look closely there should be two parts to the lift. One part contains a control unit along with a pump and fluid reservoir. The other one is the lifting structure.

Once you press the button to lift, the motor turns on and pushes fluid to the hydraulic chamber. As the chamber fills with the fluid, it pushes out the rod inside the chamber. With the rod coming out, it forces the entire structure to lift. When you press the down button, the process happens in reverse.

Are scissor lifts portable?

Right off the bat, the scissor lift is quite small in terms of footprint. If you have seen the post lift or other kind of automotive lift, it’s much smaller. In addition to that, the lift comes with caster wheels so you can move it around the workshop easily.

Scissor lift comes in many sizes but one good thing manufacturer doesn’t forget to include wheels. That way no matter how big it is you will be able to shift the position of the lift in a matter of a minute. Even the separate control unit it comes with has wheels for effortless maneuver.

Are scissor lifts hydraulic?

In short, yes! The majority of the scissor lift utilizes hydraulic power to raise the platform. Some other types of scissor lifts use air, electric power, and diesel to lift the platform. A diesel scissor lift is the loudest one and is capable of lifting heavy-duty vehicles. The Electric Scissor lift is quiet and convenient.

Being hydraulic it has great working efficiency and is affordable to most people. Depending on the model you could lift a traditional car, SUV, and sometimes even a truck. All of these scissor lifts follow a similar process when it comes to lifting but are competent in different working environments.

Are car scissor lifts any good?

In terms of usability, scissors lifts are very easy to lift cars with just the press of a button. You check underneath, make changes, run schedule maintenance, and so on. The best part about scissors lift is it doesn’t require any installation rather plug and play style equipment.

One drawback you have to keep in mind is that it doesn’t work like the post lift. If you intend to store two cars on top of another, you can’t do that with a scissor lift. It’s a great machine for repair work along with the versatility to lift some low-profile cars effortlessly.

Car Scissor Lift – Pros and Cons

There are many ways you can lift your car with different types of tools. But that’s not necessarily mean each of them will provide the same advantage on the work. Some are a bit better than others. Similarly, a scissor lift has its own sets of pros and cons which will give you an edge in work.

Car Scissor Lift Pros

  • Magnetic safety lock
  • Practical small design
  • Portability with wheels
  • No installation requires
  • Proper weight distribution
  • Separate hydraulic pump system
  • Doesn’t require high ceiling clearance
  • Easy to use control and navigation system

Car Scissor Lift Cons

  • For heavy lifting, you need a specific scissor lift.
  • Can’t lift extremely low-profile cars.

What is a full rise car scissor lift?

As I said earlier car scissor lift comes in a few variations. Full rise is one of them that you usually see in workshops doing bodywork. The most distinguishing feature of a full-rise scissor lift is it allows you to work standing up. In addition to that, these lifts support lite to mid heavy vehicles to work on.

Keep in mind that rising to a standing height might require a significant amount of ceiling clearance. So it may not be suitable for a house garage with a low height. Apart from that, you get every bit of benefits of minimal footprint, convenience over post lift, and so on.

What is a medium rise car scissor lift?

The smaller version of a full rise scissor lift comes as a medium car scissor lift. Technically it rises to more or less 3.5 feet from the ground. This is mostly ideal for bodywork and up-close inspection. Like any scissor lift, it also comes with a frame engaging platform, magnetic lock, wheels, etc.

From the overall structure, this is perfect for a low ceiling garage. Plus a medium-rise car scissor lift is much smaller than a full-size one. That means less clutter and more convenience to work when it comes to a dedicated service bay. 

What is a low rise car scissor lift?

This is the smallest type of scissor lift for a car that can lift around 2.5 feet from the surface. Despite being small the lift is quite powerful and able to lift most car types without any issue. The low-rise scissor lift is most useful in quick tire change and a variety of bodywork.

For a small workshop or DIY garage, the low-rise scissor lift comes very handy. Whenever you need to lift a car just place the machine under the car, after finishing your work put it away to the side. The lightweight construction helps to move it around in your garage effortlessly.

Frederick James is an expert mechanic with years of experience under his belt. He excels in diagnosing, troubleshooting, repairing, and modifying everything related to automobiles including but not limited to cars and pickup trucks. Read more...

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