Anyone have a lift?

kaffineDecember 7, 2009

Does anyone have a vehical lift in their garage? I am looking at putting in a 4 post lift. The cieling is only 11 feet so I would have to be careful lifting trucks but my car wouldn't be a problem.

If you have a lift did you run into any problems with the building department getting permits?

Did you have any problems finding homeowners insurance?

Thank you.

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A couple of friends and a BIL had lifts in their garages.

You may run into zoning issues in residential areas getting the permits for the wiring for the lift.

My BIL and one friend were in rural areas that anything goes, but the friend in a mire suburban area had to go through hoops to prove he was not getting into commercial work.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Ah, yes, Nothing like having to prove you are NOT something in order to get a permit for a perfectly legal activity.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 10:17PM
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I would check the specifications of the lift to make sure your floor can handle the weight. Even if the floor is concrete it may not be thick enough to carry the load. I've heard of some applications where it was necessary to cut the floor (where the posts rest) and pour a concrete footing

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 10:14AM
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Dear creek side:

Hey, I'm not for any more government intrusion in our lives than is necessary, but it seems a little simplistic to frame this permit issue as merely a government hassle over a "legal activity". I think there's a place for reasonable zoning in a non-rural area. Would you want your next-door neighbor to put in a commercial garage? I know I wouldn't.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 12:04PM
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That's the whole point. A lift doesn't necessarily mean commercial activity. It's not the building department's business why someone wants a permit to install one, unless they are prohibited for residential use. Their only business is seeing it is installed safely.

This is the United States. Unlike much of the rest of the world, we can do whatever isn't prohibited. Government can't "invent" authority by demanding information they have no statutory right to ask.

It is the government's business if the resident comes in and asks for a business license to run an auto shop in a residential area, whether it has a lift or not.

I've been down this road with building departments. I don't appreciate being interrogated as to what I intend to do in a workshop. I have had that happen in the past. It's one of the reasons I live where I do. The county knows better than to get on a high horse and demand to know what a resident is going to do inside a structure on his private property.

As to my neighbor, he can do what he wants. It's his land, and it isn't zoned residential.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 5:40PM
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Thanks creek side. And I think we're actually on the same page. I couldn't agree more with your statement that in the United States we (citizens) can do whatever isn't prohibited (by law).

In fact, I'd say that the opposite is true for government: Government can (and should) do only what the law empowers it to do. I certainly agree that it's not up to government to demand information that's not required by law, or to assume authority not provided in law.

My point is that there's a place for reasonable zoning in non-rural areas, but the law should be applied equally and without regard to the personal opinions of the government official. And you're right that there's a distinction here between zoning permits and business licensing.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 12:59PM
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My question is why do you have to inform the building department? I have a 4 post lift and it isn't bolted to the floor. It has a wheel kit so you can move it around the garage. However, each post does have a 12x12 steel plate welded to the bottom of each post!

There are a number of us in our car club that have 4 post lifts. Yes we do use them for easy access on working on cars! However our primary use is to stack our cars!

As for electrical, I have a 10 Ft SO cable on ours so all I have to is plug it in to the wall socket. Thus no electrician is required!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 11:06PM
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Thank you. Looks like I will be getting a 2 post lift instead. My primary use will be working on cars. I don't really know if I trust the insurance agents I talked to about them. Most thought I just wanted the lift insured in case it got stolen. Only 2 seemed to even know what a vehical lift was one of them said that they would only cover up to $15k in tools with no option of getting more insurance. The other said the lift has to be bolted down for them to cover the lift and they cover replacement value of all of my tools. So at least I am set for the insurance.

I'm in an older part of town out on the outskirts they don't seem to care much about what goes on in this area. Start getting closer to the center of the city and they start getting picky about things. So I should be good there.

I'm supposed to close on the house in January if everything goes right I will be ordering the lift shortly afterwards.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 12:09AM
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It took us over 2 hrs to remove a 4 post and put it on a large flat bed trailer to relocate it! They do not come apart easlly and one must be carefull with the hydralic fluid and lines.

Suggest you look into a voice alert6 system for your garage. We had one installed on our 2nd garage, and were notified at 2:30 AM that someone was in the garage. If you need additional information send me an email to!

As for insurance, most companies only provide 1.5K of insurance. I'm in the process of finding another insurance company, so I would be currious which company would provide up to $15K.

You'll love the lift! My wife will use it to clean her aluminum wheels. Before, it was ME laying on the drive to clean and polish them!



    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Metlife is the one that said $15k for tools. Allstate said the tools are covered with the same limits as other household items if they are at home and they have much higher limits. I haven't gotten the actual policy yet to double check what the agent told me though.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 2:28AM
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If you have not already done so, I suggest you check out the forums on They commonly discuss residential installations of automobile lifts and all the issues and details associated with one. Previously I had never considered a lift in my garage, but spending some time on that forum I don't know how I have lived without one. Ha! Good luck

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 10:29AM
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