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4 Post Lift Guide

4-post car lifts are not particularly complex pieces of equipment. Having said that, there are certain things to look for which can have a substantial impact on the quality of the 4 post lift, and ultimately the downtime, repair costs, and your piece of mind.

Firstly, for a commercial shop, safety is a major consideration when it comes to a four post car lift. 

ALI ETL CertificationThe Gold ALI / ETL certification label is the only North American recognized standard for automotive lifts. Known as ANSI/ALI ALCTV (Current Edition) and ANSI/UL 201, it governs the design and construction of automotive lifts. The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) offers a rigorous testing and certification program for lifts. The program uses an independent third-party testing laboratory called Intertek (ETL).

Car lift safety lockTheir main purpose is to ensure that the highest industry safety and performance standards are built into each lift carrying the Gold label. All components and the tensile strength of the steel used are tested. Lifts are subjected to thorough safety tests such as a 1.5 rated load test and deformation tests.

An important test is the cable cut test. All ALI/ETL certified lifts must have a ‘Backup slack cable’ safety system. Refer to the image to the right.

This redundant secondary lock system instantly kicks in if a cable failure occurs. This will prevent serious injury.

If the lift passes the tests and the factory (which is subject to periodic inspections) meets the standards, then the lift may carry the gold ALI Certified/ETL label. Each lift model must receive its own ALI/ETL certification. 

Uncertified lifts are not subject to any outside testing or standards. Buyer Beware.

So, if you buy a 4 post lift with the Gold label, you’ll know it’s safe and built to last a long time. It’s that simple. An ALI / ETL Certified lift will cost you a few dollars more to buy because it costs more to build...but in the long run, your cost of ownership will be less . We encourage you to spend some time on the Automotive Lift Institute website - autolift.org. It shows all the ALI/ETL certified lifts by manufacturer and the FAQ section is informative. We strongly encourage you to purchase a lift with the Gold label.

So, choose an ALI/ETL lift. But, these are not all created equal. Below we go through some features we really like on the BendPak 4-posts, and we encourage you to compare to any other brand your are interested in.

Sheeves.jpgDual-hub cable sheaves are used by the top brands. However, size matters. On their 14,000 lb models, BendPak uses huge 10-1/2” diameter cable sheaves (12" on heavyweights) within the runway and cross tubes, combined with massive 2-1/4” diameter sheave pin (4" on heavyweights). Compare this to other brands - 9-1/4'-9-1/2" diameter sheaves are pretty standard and the sheave pins tend to be much smaller than BendPak's. The extra diameter improves cable wear and critical component lifespan, meaning you’ll spend less money in service related expenses down the road.

Heavy-duty aircraft cableHeavy-duty aircraft cable

BendPak's 14,000 lb capacity models have ½” diameter 6 x 25 stainless-steel lifting cables that have a breaking strength of over 14,000 pounds each. This aircraft-quality cable was specifically designed for lifting applications and provides a great balance between abrasion resistance and fatigue. Most top brands will have similar 1/2" cable.

Built-in lubricationBuilt-in lubrication

On BendPak lifts, grease fittings are located on every sheave and sheave axle to help keep these critical parts well lubricated and to simplify periodic maintenance. Some ALI/ETL lift brands do not offer this feature, which can lead to excessive wear on the sheaves/pins and replacement cost. In these cases, greasing requires loosening/removing of cables and removing sheaves/pins. 

Adjustable Ramp

Most brands runways are fixed in a single position. Some brands, including BendPak, have a runway that is adjustable which allows for handling vehicles with a greater range of axle width.  

So now you are aware of some of the design and quality differences to look for in choosing your lift. As a final consideration, let’s look at the warranty coverage.

Warranties on Car Lifts

Component

BendPak Rotary Challenger Forward

Structure

60 month

60 month*

24 month

60 month

Hydraulics

24 month

12 month**

24 month***

18 month

Power Unit

24 month

12 month**

24 month***

18 month

Wear & Tear Parts

12 month

12 month**

12 month

12 month

Shipping

12 month

12 month

12 month

18 month

Labor

12 month

12 month

12 month

6 month

Warranty Link Rotarylift.com Challengerlifts.com  

 * - up to 30,000 lb capacity models only. Over 30,000 lb models have only 12 month warranty.

** - increases to 24 months if installed by Rotary Authorized Installer (excluding lifts over 30,000 lb capacity which are limited to 12 months)

*** - certain models are limited to 12 months

To better assist our customers in making an informed decision, we have put together the resources below - take some time to explore further and as always, our knowledgeable staff are available to help you to choose the right product for your needs - click on the "Live Help" button to the left or Contact Us by phone or email and we will be happy to help. Click here to see our BendPak 4-post lifts.

Also, please be aware that all comparisons to other brands, and other representations such as warranties, etc. are accurate to the best of our ability but are subject to change. They are intended as a guide and please consult directly with manufacturers' websites for the most current information. 

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