Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Sam asks: I’ve been thinking about buying a lift to install in my garage because I’m tired of working on my back. Do you have any experience with home lifts? Pros and cons?
My reply: I have wanted a home lift myself, for many years! Last time I checked, a light duty/portable unit (one that can handle about two tons and doesn’t require permanent installation) cost about $2k, less installation.
I also have a mechanic friend who would sell me a heavier duty shop-type variant, but it’s pretty bulky, which is an issue for my garage and may be for yours as well (in terms of the physical space it takes up).
There are several type/designs available such as four post and scissor – you’ll want the type/design that best suits your intent – focusing on storage of cars or working on cars.
The obvious pro to owning a home lift is not having to crawl around underneath a car; this gets old as you get older. It may even be unfeasible, if you have bad knees or other such issues. With the car raised up, it is much easier to do even basic service such as oil and filter changes, greasing suspension points, etc. – and much less hassle to do a clutch job or pull a tranny (not Bruce) out of the thing.
There is the pro – for some of these units – of being able to stack cars. One on the lift, above – another parked, underneath. This can double your garage’s capacity to house vehicles, important for collectors especially as it means not having to park one outside. It also frees up space that would otherwise be taken up by two cars parked side-by-side in a two-car garage. This can become work space or space to store other things indoors.
The cons include – obviously – the cost and (depending on the model) the possibility of having to commit to a permanent installation. This could be a problem when the time comes to sell your house as it will be a liability for most potential buyers – although some potential buyers (car people) would be ecstatic about it.
I intend to do it – in part because I would get a lot of use out of it and also because I intend to stay where I am for decades to come. If the next occupant doesn’t like it, it won’t be my problem – as I probably won’t be around to worry about it!
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