How High of A Ceiling for A Car Lift?

A car lift is undoubtedly a remarkable invention in the automotive industry that lets you lift your entire car for maintenance/repair. Not to mention how it allows you to utilize space for storing two cars in a single car slot. While that’s true, one of the most important things you should be aware of when it comes to installing a car lift is the ceiling height.

In general, a car lift does require a fair bit of height for installation and lifts the car to a certain height. You are looking at the range of 9-12 feet ceiling clearance for successful cat lift installation and operation. For vehicle storing, you may need more than just 9 feet depending on your vehicle type.

In the house garage, there is little to no chance of tampering with the ceiling height. So, it’s best to select a car lift that will be perfect for your condition in terms of height. It’s a good practice to measure the total height from ground to ceiling. For an extra bit of safety, you could also minus 0.5-1 feet from the total height.

The remaining height is the safe estimate for your perfect car lift. Search the market for a lift that meets your specific criteria. If extending ceiling height isn’t an issue for you, you can have almost any car lift you like whether it’s a 2-post or a fancy 4-post lift.

how high your ceiling should be for car lift

How tall is a 2 post car lift?

The height of 2 post lifts widely varies in the account of models and numerous brands. In more general terms, a 2-post car lift can be as tall as 8 feet to 15 feet. If your 2-post lift has an overhead bar, you can add a couple more inches to the total height.

For example, Bendpak has 9 feet 2-post lifts that are suitable for house garages. On the other hand, they also have a 2-post lift that goes up to 15 feet in height. Those are usually for large vehicles like trucks and vans. The rotary lift has some similar 2-post lift that resides between the 8-15 feet range. Be sure to check the specs for a clear understanding.

How high of ceiling for a 2 post car lift?

In most cases, when you are lifting only cars, you wouldn’t need a high ceiling clearance. There are great 2-post car lifts between 9-12 feet. So 9.5- 12.5 feet is a safe number for ceiling height. Just make sure to read the lift spec of your choice before making any decision on this matter.

As a pro tip, you must have at least 0.5-1 feet open space between the ceiling and top of the 2-post lift. You can go lower than that but the risk will be entirely on you in this action. In short, if your 2-post lift is 9 feet tall, you should have a 10 feet ceiling height for safe operation.

How tall is a 4 post car lift?

Being more powerful than a 2-post lift, it is a great selection for large vehicles like SUVs, Vans, etc. A typical 4-post lift is around 8 – 10 feet high that is more than enough for sedans and sports cars. But if you are planning to lift SUVs and vans, you may need a taller lift than 10 feet.

Although there are shorter automotive 4-post lifts available that are much smaller than that. Those are for maintenance and repair of large/heavy vehicles like trucks. These can get as low as 6 feet tall. You can’t store anything under it but you can access and make intricate repairs to the vehicle.

How high of ceiling for a 4 post car lift?

Like the 2-post lift, there are variants of 4-post lift that will need only 9-11 feet of ceiling clearance. But again, if you want to store another car under it, that’s a whole different story. Sports cars have a low profile but SUVs are a bit tall. So, consider this before going for a particular 4-post lift.

The majority of 4-post automotive lifts will fit in your house garage unless you are getting the variant meant for heavy vehicles. Those are for workshop environments with high ceiling clearance. While this is true, the one with the acceptable height range will serve well in the home garage situation as well.

Can you put a car lift in your garage?

Assuming your garage has a ceiling that is at least 9 feet high, you are good to put a car lift in there. Anything less than that and you will have a hard time finding a suitable automotive lift. However, there are a few exceptions but those are not for storing another car under the lift. 

Apart from the height, there are other things to consider before installing a car lift in your garage. Such as floor thickness, overall width, considering other equipment in the way, and so on. Once you get all that covered, you can operate a car lift in your garage without issue.

What do you need to know before installing a car lift?

Although, the installation details of a car lift will come with the lift as a guide. You can also contact the manufacturer for specifics that will fit your garage environment. That said, here is a brief description of things to consider before installing a car lift in your garage:

Concrete Floor: Most modern-day garages will have a solid concrete floor anyway but the important part is the thickness. In order to get a good grip on the floor, the concrete floor needs to be at least 5 inches thick.

All the anchor bolts that come with the lift are about 5 inches long hence the minimum 5-inch thickness. In addition to that, the extra thickness will aid in lifting 5000-6000 pounds vehicles easily without crack or deformation.

Ceiling Height: Another important part of installing a car lift is minding the ceiling height. This goes without saying, if you are going to lift a car and store another one below; you need a significant amount of ceiling height. For 2 sedan cars, you can get away with 9-10 feet.

That can be much lower for a low-profile sports car. Alternatively, SUVs require more height somewhere around 12-14 feet. But that’s all changes when you will be using the lift for only repair and maintenance. 9-10 inches of ceiling height is all you need for this kind of operation.

Post Width: The overall width of two posts plays a huge part in fitting the lift in your garage nicely. Generally, wider posts allow you to squeeze cars and open doors more easily. But keep in mind that it also affects the installation procedure.

Lack of proper space to set up wider posts or miscalculating the measurement can render your post lift useless. Before making any purchasing decision you should measure the disposable space by yourself to find a perfect post lift that will fit.

Others: This is just a list of things you should watch out for so it doesn’t interfere with the lifting process. Such a thing could be your garage door and the retracting system on the ceiling.

Anything hanging from the ceiling like the environment control system, exposed/hanging wires are also fall-in in this category. Make sure to put aside these things from the path of the lift movement.

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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