Mar 17

The Complete Guide on Installing a 2 Post Car Lift for your Shop or Garage


As everyone knows, the 2 post car lift is one of the most useful items that you can have in your repair shop or if you are a DIY’er in your home garage. Every repair shop that you go to will always have one these items in their shops because it is easier to fix a car while you are standing up than it is laying down underneath a car with limited light.

First of all, when installing a car lift, I always recommend that you have a professional install it. It will cost you a little extra but you will know that you are in good hands and will not have any problems with the installation. You can find a good installer by calling JMC Automotive Equipment at 877-298-7730. We will find you a Authorized Installer in your area regardless of where you are in The United States and we will seek out the best prices for you.

Find an installer now

Things to keep in mind while you are installing the 2 post car lift

  1. PLEASE ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT YOU MAINTAIN SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES. This is the first thing that you should always keep in mind when installing an item that weights as heavy as a car lift.
  2. Always use another person to help you lift the heavier objects so you don’t strain your back.
  3. Use the proper tools indicated in this manual and in the manual that you will receive with the lift.

Before you install the 2 Post Car Lift

Now, if you are looking to install the car lift yourself, there are certain things you always want to keep in mind. First, make sure that the concrete for your floor is deep enough and strong enough to support both of the columns. Most manufacturers always say to at least have the concrete anywhere from 6 to 12 inches in depth and have a minimum PSI of 3000. Now, if your concrete doesn’t have these specs, don’t worry, all you have to do is just measure where the columns will be installed in and dig a couple of holes deep enough where the two columns would be standing at and pour the concrete and voila, your floor is ready. Usually you want to make the holes 2 feet in length by 2 feet in width and 1 foot in depth.

Now, once the car lift arrives at your place you want to make sure that you have a way to get it off the truck. My suggestion to you would be to rent a forklift, and depending on what state and city you are in the prices will vary but it will usually be anywhere from $100 to $150 dollars a day for the forklift. Just make sure that whoever is delivering the lift calls you 24 hours prior to them coming so that you can have the forklift ready.  If for any reason you can’t find a forklift, tell the distributor to ship the car lift to the nearest freight terminal and pick it up from there. The price for this might be $35 but you will have all the time in the world to pick it up from the freight terminal and unload it in your shop.

You also want to be careful when you are removing the shipping bands and the packing materials from the lift. Make sure you don’t drop the power unit which should be on top of the lift when it’s lying down.

 How to install a car lift



This manual will guide you on how to install your car lift in your shop. However, most car lifts are totally different depending on the model and the manufacturer so you must also follow the original manual that comes with the lift so it can give you a better idea of the specifications that it requires. If you have any questions about any installations or if you are looking for an installer in your area please call us up at 877-298-7730. Thank you.

Hot to Install a Car Lift                       

Items you will need to install a car lift:

• Two 10’ to 12’ step ladders

• ISO 32 Light Hydraulic Oil (approx. 12 quarts)

• Tape Measure

• Rotary 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


Once you take out all the packaging and plastic from the columns, make sure that you start inserting and installing the cables and/or chains inside the columns. Again, depending on what kind of lift you bought and from what manufacturer you bought it from, these specifications are always going to change, so make sure you follow the instructions and place the cables correctly. This is fairly simple and you should not have too much trouble figuring out how and where to insert the cables.

Depending on what kind of lift you have, the recommended space between where you should install the lift and the bay door varies, so make sure that you read the instructions carefully and take that into consideration. Usually, you have to position the lift about 13 feet away from the door so you can have enough space to drive the car inside the shop and not have it sticking it out of the back door when you have it elevated.

How to Install a Car Lift

Once you have decided where you want to install the two columns, you must snap a chalk line so that can be your guide as to where you will be installing the two columns, and it’s as simple as that. At this point all you have to do is place the two columns and align it with the chalk line. Make sure you lift each column with the help of someone else; you don’t want to be hurting your back in the middle of the job and not be able to finish it, these columns are pretty heavy.

The way you position the two columns will vary depending if you purchase either a Symmetrical lift or Asymmetrical lift. Some manufacturers like Bendpak, have both models whereas Challenger Lifts have their own version of the Asymmetrical lift called the Versymmetrical Lift. Again, the instruction manual that comes with the lift will explain exactly how they should be positioned depending on which lift you get. If you have any questions about any of these models please give us a call at 877-298-7730 and we would be more than happy to explain how these work.

bendpak xpr10                     Bendpak xpr10a                           challenger cl10

                    Bendpak XPR-10                                      Bendpak XPR-10A                                        Challenger CL-10

Installing the Columns

Follow this chart for now to give you an idea of how to place the columns on the floor:

How to install a car lift

Next comes the drilling. This will make a lot of noise and a lot of dust, so make sure you wear a dust mask and some ear plugs if you are sensitive to those types of elements (which I’m assuming if you are working in a repair shop you probably aren’t). Make sure you have the correct depth; certain lifts require certain depth depending on the lifting capacity of the lift. Use this chart to give you a better idea of how deep you should drill.

 How to Install a Car Lift

Using the existing holes in the base plate as a guide for drilling, drill the holes of the main side column first and then do the other one. Use your hammer drill in order to make the holes. Go up and down until the hole is cleared and at the end blow on the hole so you can remove any dust to increase holding power. Once the holes are made, place the bolts in the holes but do not tighten yet. First, tap the bolts with a hammer until the washer rests against the base plate like so:

 How to Install a Car Lift

With a level, make sure that the column is evenly placed and there is no side to side plumb or front to front plum. If there is, simply fix with a couple of horseshoe shims until the column is evenly balanced. (Shim thickness should not exceed 2-1/4”). Once you have the column leveled, tighten them at 85 ft-lbs. of torque.

How to Install a car lift

When you have secured the power side column, start working on the offside column, this will definitely be easier and more efficient. Follow the steps again to install the second column.

Once you have both columns secured, you can then move to installing the Top Trough Assembly. This is a fairly simple procedure and most of the time you will either need a fork lift to raise the bar or you can also raise it with two ladders and two men on each side. Once it is placed on top make sure you tighten the bolts, and then you will have the structure and hardest part of the lift already set up.  Please make sure that if the anchor bolts have become loose while you were tightening the top bar, to tighten them again.

Next, we have to install the hydraulic power unit itself. Even though the hydraulic unit is a little heavy, you can install it with the help of someone else. Usually, the unit will come with a Vibration dampener and this must be placed between the Hydraulic unit and the column. Once you have installed the hydraulic unit properly, you can fill the unit with hydraulic oil, you will need approximately four gallons.

Installing Cables, Lines and Hoses

The next thing that you have to do is install the safeties, safety cables, hydraulic lines, power unit hoses and routing the equalizer cables. Now again, depending on what kind of lift you bought, the installations for these items are always going to be slightly different.  However, for most lifts, you always have to install the safety cables through the cylinders in the columns and through the top bar of the lift. And the same thing goes for the hydraulics lines and power unit hoses. So please read the installation manual properly and follow the advice step by step. They will direct you exactly on how to install each cable and where it needs to go. Since you are not doing any heavy lifting anymore, it won’t be so difficult; you just have to pay close attention to what you are doing. One mistake and you might have to redo all your work again.

Installing the Lift Arms

Last but not least, you have the lift arms. This is usually a very simple procedure. All you have to do is just place the lift arms in the correct position and slide the head pins in.

Installing the car lift arms

And once they are inside and through the holes in the Arm Assembly, install the Snap Ring into the groove in the lift the head pin on the underside of the lift head. Make sure that the Arm Restraint Gears are properly positioned and adjusted and that each lift arm is correctly positioned in its left and right configuration. Make sure that the gears are working properly prior to operating the lift and always remember that you must inspect the gears from time to time to make sure that they are in the correct place. Remember, this is the part of the lift that picks up the cars and holds it for several hours at a time. If not installed properly you can have a real safety hazard in your repair shop.

Installing the car lift arms

Make sure that the teeth on the gear ring mesh smoothly with the teeth on the gears of the arm restraint and tighten the gear ring bolts. Always test the lift arm by moving it from left to right and make sure that it can hold up your weight before placing any cars on top of it. Adjust the gear ring on the arm as necessary to ensure smooth operation and solid engagement of all four Arm Restraint Pin Assemblies with the Arm Restraint Gear Ring.

 car lift arm configuration


If you follow this manual from beginning to end and use the manual that comes with the car lift you should be equipped properly to install your own lift. It should only take you a couple of hours to install this lift, and believe it or not, it is not that hard. AGAIN, MAINTAIN SAFETY AT ALL TIMES WHEN INSTALLING THE LIFT.

If you have any questions about how to install the lift in your shop or looking for an installer in your area then please call us at 877-298-7730 or email us at info@jmcautomotiveequipment.com and we will find you a professional installer in your area that will be able to do it at a reasonable price.

Find an installer now


About the author

JMC Equipment


1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Porsche Repair Las Vegas

    Thanks for sharing such a valuable and helpful guideline. Keep sharing post like this.

    1. JMC Equipment

      Thank you We definitely will continue sharing these posts so we can help everyone out on the industry.

  2. Richards Automotive

    Thanks for info the Danmar lift instructions did not say how far in the bay to set post.r

  3. john

    brilliant help thank you for sharing.

  4. Rick Carden

    My name is Rick Carden owner of Automotive Equipment Service in southeastern Pa. We been installing and servicing all types of above and inground lifts for 30 years . We also service and install compressors , lube pumps, exhaust systems and more. We are Challenger certified and also install for Snapon , and local sales companies in our area.
    We are based outside of Philadelphia Pa.
    We speicalize in installation and service only , No sales!!
    If you need an installer or service in or around Philadelphia area we would greatly appericete the opportunity to do business with your company.

    Looking forward to hearing from JMC.

    Rick Carden
    Owner Operator

  5. John

    John asks, installing a 9,000lb 2 post lift with crossbar. Installation is outside, no concrete slab. Can it be installed on two concrete pads or footings ? How wide long and thick should they be and what dia., anchor bolts, length and what grade ?Thanks for any help

  6. Rex smith

    I installed a 2 post lift myself a launch tech 210 as evevthing works fine but the down mode it kinda jerkin jerkin one side seams to work fine but the other side comes down in little sports I’ve checked everything the cables are the same tension I’ve bleed the cylinders several times adjusted the check valve but still can’t figure out why it don’t work right it gets close to the ground and stops working all together with a 3/4 ton truck on it any suggestions my name is Rex Smith 214-683-3656 or rsmith@rexscsi.com

  7. Charlette Karam

    Do u have a manual guide for a kp 312 ravaglioli s.p.a 1990

  8. Allen, Complete Carriers LLC

    Hello, I have a Mecco 7000 2 post lift that currently is installed in a shop but I’m considering buying it but wondering if I can install it outside exposed to the weather or must it be installed in-doors where it will not be exposed to the weather? Sorry, but I couldn’t find anything about this lift online. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Also, can you tell me what the specs is on this lift or possibly give me a link to a owners manual for it? Thanks, Allen

  1. Auto Lift Installation | autoshope.com

    […] The Complete Guide on Installing a Car Lift for your Shop or … – Check out our complete guide on how to install a 2 post car lift for your home garage or auto repair shop. Call us if you have any questions 877-298-7730 […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>