What Is The Procedure To Lift A Vehicle On A Two-Post Lift?

It’s one thing to look under the hood and another thing to look under a car. Repairs down there are far sensitive and require precise hand-eye coordination. You could think of a floor jack that will rescue you from this mess, but think again, do you want yourself in that uncomfortable position.

Well, 2 post car lift is the most affordable vehicle elevator system that you too can reap the numerous benefits. Although, lifting it in the wrong way can do more harm than good. There is a simple instruction on the lift you can always follow but if you want the detailed procedure on lifting cars, the next bit is just for you.

One thing I would want to clear out first, compared to the four-post lift, two post lifting procedure is slightly different. You can understand why as there are only two posts to lift an entire car. You have to take into account the axle weight ratio, the center of gravity, lifting point, and so on.

Here are the procedures to lift a vehicle on a two-post lift:

  • Prepare your posts for parking
  • Safely park your car between the posts
  • Locate optimum lifting points on the vehicle
  • Lift vehicle to your desired height
  • Engage safety lock
  • Backtrack for lowering the vehicle
what is the procedure to lift a vehicle on a two post car lift

How To Lift A Vehicle On A Two-Post Lift

Step 1: Prepare your posts for parking

Your first step would be to prepare the post so you can safely park your vehicle. By preparing the post I mean move anything on the way. Lower the moving parts on the post to the last point as well as the swivel arms. Put the adjustable arm on the side so it doesn’t get in the way.

Step 2: Park your vehicle on the optimum spot

Slowly drive through and stop on the optimum spotting dish. The spotting dish helps you to feel you have reached the perfect stop for your particular vehicle. This might be different in various car types and models. 

You should go through extensive measurements of car length and post location to determine the optimum place for spotting the dish.  This way you don’t have to correct your car position on a regular basis. You could also put a mark or something to feel the bump.

Step 3: Locate optimum lifting points on the vehicle

Now that you parked your car successfully, now turn all the swivel arms under the car. Attach appropriate lifting pins on the arm. If you are not sure, read the car’s manual for which pin should you use for the two-post lifting operation.

There will also be a description of at which point of the chassis the lifting pin should be. Get that contact point right or you will lift unevenly which could topple the car over. There is also a lock-in of these pins, so make sure to take advantage of those as well.

Step 4: Lift vehicle to your desired height

On the navigation panel, there are buttons to raise and lower the arms. Once you are sure you haven’t exceeded the weight limit on both axles, also you nailed the center of gravity according to the manual, you are good to lift the car. Press the raise button and try to lift the car a little by little. 

Step 5: Engage safety lock

As you lift the car you may hear a subtle click or safety lock handle move back and forth. That’s your safety lock re-engaging as you move up. Once you have reached the level you want your car to be, keep an eye on the lock lever. There should be a safety lock position. 

To lock in place, simply lower a bit and let the safety lock re-engages on its own. Once you find it, your swivel arm will stop moving. Additionally, manually check the lock handle if it’s loose or moving.

As soon as you find everything is in place, now you can get on to your tuning, brake line changes, or regular maintenance. 

Step 6: Backtrack for lowering the vehicle

You have finished your maintenance work and now you want to lower your car. There is no point in storing a car on the two-post lift as the manufacturer doesn’t advise you to do that. You can’t even claim a warranty if something goes wrong.

So to lower the car, slightly raise the car to lose the lock tension from the safety lever. Then hold back the lever to release the lock. Now you can lower the car by pressing the descend button on the panel.

Frequently Asked Question

How to unload a 2 post car lift?

Like any heavy machinery, 2 post car lift also requires gentle handling when unloading. Some manufactures include unloading in their installation package. They employ forklifts to safely unload from the truck and bring it to your place. If that’s not the case, you could hire a forklift from your nearest rental service to do the job.

If you do the unloading job by yourself, know that you will be responsible for any damages you dealt to the machine. Also, it won’t be in your warranty coverage so you need to be very careful with the machine. Apart from that, it’s a fairly easy task.

How to anchor a 2 post car lift?

Once you bought a 2 post car lift and decided to install it by yourself, there are certain things you should be aware of. First and foremost Is to check your concrete floor. It needs to be a concrete floor a minimum of 7-9 inches thick. Higher the better. 

You will also need a concrete drill and some anchor bolts about 5 -7 inches. Drill a hole in the designated places in the post’s anchor hole. Hammer down the bolt to lock in place and fasten a nut for a solid anchor. You can also consult with the manufacturer on which anchor bolt should you use in particular of your situation.

How to adjust a two-post car lift? 

After a few months of use, your 2-post car lift may suffer from a loose cable issue which will affect the safety lock. That means you will notice that the locks on each level won’t reengage by themselves. The easy solution to this problem is to adjust the cable tension.

First, find the two cables inside the post. Try to clamp both cables with your hands. You will feel the cables are too loose they are touching each other. Hold the base of the cable with a 9/16” crescent wrench and tighten the underneath nut with a 15/16” ratchet wrench. 

After tightening the bolt you will have around half-inch of space between the two cables. Remember to do the same on the other post as well. Now you will have a consistent lock re-engagement at every level.

How to take down a two-post car lift?

Taking down a two-post car lift is as easy as unscrewing bolts. There is no extra hassle and no special equipment required like four-post or inground car lift. Just remove the overhead bar first. There should be bolts on top of each post and at the base of the post. 

Remember to remove the swivel arm before taking down the post. It will be much easier to move the post onto the truck.


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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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