How Does A 4 Post Car Lift Work?

Having a 4 post car lift allows you to double up the parking space in your garage. No doubt, it is a smart solution for your vehicle storage problems. 

Wondering how a 4 post car lift works? A 4 post car lift system elevates one vehicle already parked in the garage. It is done using a hydraulic system. When you push the power lever up, the pump sends pressurized fluid through its valves to the cylinder. The cylinder then powers the cables, and crossrails to lift the entire carload. 

The load is distributed evenly to each post. When the lock ladders and cables are adjusted at each column, the safety locks and runways are leveled. 

When you pull down the lever the pump releases its lowering valves allowing those fluids to rejoin the reservoir tank. As a result, the lift gets lowered.

How does a 4 post car lift work

What Is A 4 Post Car Lift?

As the name suggests, a 4 post car lift has 4 posts to assist in the car lifting process. Because a car is lifted using a hydraulic system, it is also known as drive-on lift. 4 post lifts come with different weight capacities. 

Each system includes a power unit, hydraulic hoses, and a cylinder. The power unit is made up of an electric motor, a pump, and a reservoir tank.


Typically, each post is connected with lifting cables. Each cable has a locking mechanism to ensure maximum safety. In most recent (certified) models, you’ll also find a secondary lock system for additional safety in slack cable conditions.

This innovative car lifting mechanism helps utilize your garage vertical space. As a result, you can easily park another car underneath the first one. 

Are 4 Post Lifts Safe?

If you deal with heavy-weight vehicles and are looking for a stable storage system, 4 post lifts will be much safer. It comes with a safety lock feature so that you can have peace of mind with the system. 

The hydraulic flow restrictor adds another layer of safety. On top of that, the chocks in the front and the rear wheel prevents your vehicle from unexpected rolling off. 

However, make sure that the manufacturer strictly complies with the safety standards. Go through some of the top 4 post car lift reviews on the web. This will help narrow down your search for the best products. You should also conduct regular maintenance checkup as part of safety measures. 

Are 4 Post Lifts Any Good?

A 4 post lift will free up more parking space in your garage without going through major renovation work. It will also help a DIY handyman to perform occasional maintenance under his car. So, to avoid frequent visits to a service station 4 post lifts would be extremely useful.  

Moreover, these lifts are capable of providing more support to a wide range of vehicles due to their greater weight capacity and strength. Professional auto repair specialists will surely benefit from such a lifting device in their shop.

Do 4 Post Lifts Need To Be Bolted Down?

It depends on personal preference. No doubt, if you bolt down a 4-post lift, it will be much safer and secure. 

However, most 4-post lifts, especially the ‘free-standing‘ models (certified) are designed to be able to lift vehicles without being bolted down. If it’s a 2-post lift, it must be bolted down on the concrete anyway. 

In a 4-post lift system, the weight of the vehicles is distributed into wider areas. However, if you are living in an earthquake-prone area, bolting down the 4-post lift will be necessary. 

Also, make sure that the entire floor area is properly leveled when you leave the post lift unbolted. It will save your day from any unexpected incidents.  

How Wide Is A 4 Post Car Lift?

When you need to install a 4-post lift, you should have a clear idea of its complete measurements. In most cases, the width of a 4-post car lift is 103 inches, whereas its length is 173 inches. However, it can be varied slightly based on the manufacturer’s specifications. 

How Tall Is A 4 Post Car Lift?

The height of a 4 post car lift is varied depending on some factors. However, here is simple math for you. Suppose, you need to park two cars. In that case, add up the height of both cars at first. 

For example, the summation is 110 inches. Now, add 8 more inches to get your desired answer. These extra inches will allow you to do necessary adjustments related to runways and safety locks. 

So, in our example, the required height of the 4-post lift is 118 inches, which equals to 9 feet 10 inches. 

How Heavy Is A 4 Post Car Lift?

4-post car lifts are quite heavy. The weight of a typical 4-post car lift can be anything between 1800-2000 lbs. That is why you must hire a professional installer who knows well how to check the thickness of your concrete floor before installing a 4-post lift. 

Can You Move A 4 Post Lift With A Car On It?

You will need to buy 4 post lifts with caster kits in the first place; however, the wheels might actually go sideways rather than to your desired angle. 

The heavy weight of the 4 posts with the car on it also means it would be quite impossible especially when you are trying to do it alone. Eventually you will have to remove your car from the 4 post lift if you want to move it to your intended location. 

Can You Work On A Car With A 4 Post Lift?

It is not impossible to work on a car with a 4 post lift. You can do several things like removing engines, or any brake. Suspension work can also be done easily with a 4 post lift. In that case, you may need to use a sliding jack to get the job done. However, some tasks can’t be done with a 4 post in a convenient way.

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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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