How to Install and Level Two-Post Car Lift

VD November 11 2021

For the auto mechanic, a two-post car lift is the ultimate component of the workshop. But more and more non-professional car mechanics are getting a car lift in order to be able to work as much as possible on the car themselves.

Of course, a newly purchased lift comes with detailed assembly instructions that allow you to set up the lift step by step. Nevertheless, this topic should be dealt with at this point. Perhaps one or the other has been thinking about putting a lift in the workshop for a long time and can use this description to decide for themselves whether the step to their own lift is worthwhile or whether it can be implemented at home at all.

Simply said, two-post car lifts are high-quality product lines that have to be set up on the workshop floor. The manufacturer provides detailed instructions with each lift for this purpose. So you should not expect any problems here. However, it is worthwhile to consider whether a previously acquired car lift can also be used at home after all?

The advantage of car lifts is obvious:

They allow you to work comfortably on the underside of the vehicle without having to crawl around under it or lift it up by hand. Thus, considerable time and strain are saved when performing oil changes or exchanging brake pads - just as one example. Besides, especially in shadier areas, an additional inspection of important components such as brakes is possible because one does not have to lie in the dirt when they are examined.

However, this is not always possible or within reach. Especially in private households, there may be no room for a large two-post lift that can accommodate most cars. It is also questionable whether one wants to invest in an expensive workshop device in the home garage in the first place. For this reason, it can come in handy to know how to install and level a car lift at home without any problems - regardless of its origin. Of course, you should consider beforehand whether it makes sense at all to buy a car lift if you have no more than 10 square meters of floor space available because otherwise, your vehicle will literally hang around uselessly on the hook. Then again, shelf cranes with a lifting height of more than two meters are also not very practical.

Depending on the quality of the car lift, it is possible to adjust various components such as support feet, hydraulic cylinders, and jacks themselves in such a way that the installation at home works out without problems. If this is not enough and you cannot really make headway, there are some manufacturers who provide their customers with customer service even when buying used devices. This can be advantageous in terms of maintenance and if defective or wrong parts were delivered by mistake.

The whole point about car lifts: While professional car mechanics work mostly with four-post car lifts, two-post ones often come into play in private households because they take up less space and usually provide all important functions required for everyday maintenance and repair work.

Things to keep in mind while you are installing the two-post car lift

  1. Use the right clothing and safety gear, and we'll never have to say it again. Safety is essential, therefore don't relax!
  2. Always enlist the assistance of another person when lifting heavier things to avoid straining your back.
  3. Use the appropriate equipment described in this article and, if applicable, the lift manual that will be delivered with it.

What to consider before you install the two-post car Lift

Setting the foundation for the two-post car lift

Both for private use in the home garage and in the professional car workshop, a certain foundation should provide the basis for the lifting platform. If savings are already made here, there is a risk that the two pillars of the platform will later no longer run synchronously, and thus damage to the lift can occur.

We recommend a minimum area of ​​the foundation of approx. 4 x 2 meters. The depth should be at least 20 cm. The alternative would be to pour a separate foundation for each column. This should correspond to the dimensions of one cubic meter. In this way, you can be sure that everything will continue to function smoothly in the long term.

You may remember from the instructions for the purchase of your car lift that you should also pay attention to an easily accessible power supply. This is because the two-post car lift will not run on batteries and must be connected at all times.

While a smaller socket in the home garage may already work, it makes sense to think about a larger 16-ampere connection box here if you can provide one. In this way, you do not have to worry whether or not your vehicle currently needs more than three amps - such as during cold starting or when heated brakes are activated. Also, an increased amperage opens up new possibilities later on such as working with electric tools or other machines while working under cars at the same time.

As a result, the car lift can also be used for this purpose and one does not have to bother with clamping screws and so on.

Which concrete should be used for the installation of two-post car lifts?

When choosing the concrete for the foundation, there is also a requirement that should be complied with. We recommend concrete quality C20 / 25 according to the new regulation for use as a lifting platform foundation. In this way, you also guarantee a secure stand for many years.

The concrete must be at least 40 cm longer than the car lift. If you have chosen a particularly large model, it makes sense to build up several layers of concrete under each column to save money - especially if you cannot transport too much material with you anyway because the floor area underneath the vehicle is also very important for working with cars. This can save you time and trouble in this case.

Uneven ground: The support feet are usually adjusted ​​by means of adjustable cones which come either separately or already included in the delivery. These allow relatively deep adjustments before level adjustment takes place through precise leveling out by means of hydraulic jacks.

How much space the two-post car lift needs?

In addition to the foundation, the rest of the existing space should of course also be checked and prepared in advance. This raises the question of the space that should be available for the lift. It is advisable to keep a distance of a good 70 cm on all sides of a vehicle. So if we assume a vehicle length of around 4 meters, the room length should be around 5.5 meters. 

The same applies to the room width, which should be around 3.5 meters for a vehicle width of 2 meters. The room height is calculated according to the maximum lifting height and the vehicle height. Logically, a transporter needs more space than a sports car.

Items you will need to install a two-post car lift:

  • Two 10’ to 12’ step ladders;
  • ISO 32 Light Hydraulic Oil (approx. 12 quarts);
  • Tape Measure;
  • Hammer Drill with ¾ in. Drill Bit (Core Drill Rebar Cutter recommended);
  • 4’ Level;
  • Sockets and Open Wrench set, ½ in. thru 1-1/2 in. (1-1/8 in. for ¾ in. Anchors);
  • Vise grips;
  • 8mm Socket Head Wrench;
  • Torque wrench;
  • Teflon Tape.

How to install a two-post car lift?

Step 1. Install Metal Frame

it's important to align and tighten all of the bolts in order for a proper installation. You should also make sure that their range of motion is correct, then finish by torquing them according to spec.


Step 2. Install the Functional Hardware

Hooking up the cables, locks, and safety systems can all happen while you're still on the ground. This ensures that each lifting carriage is kept at an equal height so no parts rise unevenly as well- being mounted with bolts/nuts & locknuts should be run through the pulley system according to directions tensioned lightly for stability.

There are many different pieces that come together to make a hydraulic car lift, but the most important part is how these various components interact with one another. The weight of your vehicle will be transferred from pins and levers on either side through springs into thin cables running across top plates before being distributed evenly between posts for maximum safety during use as well as enhanced durability overall because there's no strain put onto component parts when they're not under pressure!


Auto-lift hydraulic systems are easy to install and require only one high-pressure line and no return for optimal safety. Pressure from the cylinder lifts up your car while its weight provides the force that compresses pistons inside of valves giving you passage! Attach hoses at the base next to the pump then mount the reservoir with plumbing tighten all joints together before connecting the outlet into the tank until fully closed off.



Step 3. Raise the Lift

The lift is mostly assembled and ready to go up. Since we don't want any mistakes, mark the floor for placement using a plumb bob (with string), measuring tape with a ruler, or yardstick depending on how big of space you have available in order not to lose valuable ground underneath your equipment.

If you want to get this done quickly and without any mistakes, invite at least six strong friends over. Together with coordination as our key success factor, we can raise the lift into position while being careful not to let its weight push us over onto the side opposite where it will remain standing once upright by ourselves! Use a mallet (or another blunt object) to tap those columns exactly where they need to go so there are no problems later down below when construction begins.

Make a ¾-inch hole in the mounting plate and then use your masonry bit to drill all of these holes through it. This will prevent alignment issues, and keep you safe from getting powdery concrete anywhere near where there's already been work done - who knows what could happen if that stuff got spilled into an open wound? Keep those gloves on while doing this so as not to touch any exposed surfaces below!

The most common type of pull-out anchor for automobile lifts is three-quarter-inch wedge anchors—concrete will fail before it can be pulled out. Insert a nut on the anchor next to the end and pound the bolt down to the mounting plate. If the anchor is busted, simply drive it into the ground and set an undamaged one on top. Torque all the nuts to spec. Check the columns for plumb—they should be at 90 degrees vertical in all directions; if they aren't, level with the included shims. Unbolt the anchors, add a few shims, torque the anchors, and measure again.

Step 4. Wrap It Up and Get To Work

When you're finished with the installation process, your lift will be physically complete and ready for use. First thing's first: hire an electrician to install power near enough so that 220-volt outlets are accessible in case anything needs fixing or replacing on-site! Have a friend help by positioning the base while dropping pins into appropriate holes; then tighten retaining clips until mounting pads seat against it properly - there should not be any play at all (that would mean something was wrong). 


Fill every cylinder with oil. When the hydraulic system is filled with fluid, it's important to cycle through each cylinder by pressing down on them. This ensures that there are no air bubbles or residue left behind which could cause choppy lifting action and make your job difficult when trying to lift heavy objects!

Make sure your safety mechanisms are working properly and that all nuts, bolts or hydraulic leaks have been fixed. Park the lift arms on the ground with tension cables as instructed by the installation manual then go through each individual part for this process so nothing gets overlooked.

Make sure the lift is functioning properly by testing it with your least-loved car. Put air pressure on until you reach a point where one lock engages and release, then watch as this causes an even settling of vehicles below; if not adjusting any control cables will do wonders! After checking out these settings shake everything around including both columns to ensure stability before taking them up higher where problems await.


Leveling the two-post car lift


In order to guarantee the synchronous running of the lift in the long term, it is not enough to simply set up the platform and screw it on. There are a few things that should be taken into account in this step as well. Erecting the lift is best done with two people.

The following is the proper leveling method:

  • Loosen the anchor bolts on both columns.
  • Push the LEFT column INWARD slightly to LOWER the LEFT pads half the difference.
  • Push the RIGHT column OUTWARD slightly to ELEVATE the RIGHT pads half the difference.
  • Using a level, attach the shims as needed until the pads are flat with one another.
  • Confirm that the columns are PARALLEL.

First of all, check whether the floor is really one hundred percent level. You should also remove minor impurities so that all pillars can really stand straight on the floor without creating a slope or inclination. 

As soon as the pillars are completely level on the ground, you can mark where the holes for the anchoring should be made. Mark the drilling points as precisely as possible. You should be very careful when drilling yourself. 

Diamond drills are often a good choice here, as they work reliably through the concrete without bending quickly. As soon as the drill is bent even slightly, it begins to "flutter" and makes the drill hole too large. 

This would make the anchoring unstable and should be avoided if possible. Only then should you initiate the next step in setting up the lifting platform - anchoring the columns to the floor.

During the installation, it cannot hurt to check all components of the lift at regular intervals and to carry out maintenance work such as changing the hydraulic oil or lubricating joints. Ultimately, tinkering with the car is really fun.