Car Lift Weight Rating and Vehicle Weight
As leading experts in the field of Automotive Lifts, we here at Eagle Equipment feel that one of the most important parts of our job is helping customers make the most informed purchase they can. We often find ourselves as educators; dealing with many assumption of the industry
A common assumption: “If my vehicle weighs 9,000lbs., and I buy a 9K lift; I should be able to lift my vehicle all day long.”
In fact, people often try this with their 1-ton trucks; then wonder why we suggest something more stout.
The thinking may be: “What’s the problem? The lift is rated for 9,000lbs, right?” But, it’s not so simple as that. There are several factors to consider. Car lift weight ratings are a common industry designation. Lifts designated as “9K” are often close approximations to their corresponding kg (kilogram) rating. They may be 8800lbs, or they may be 9200lbs. Further, the 9K may denote the lift’s maximum lifting weight. You may be able to bench-press 350lbs., but this doesn’t mean you can do it all day long!
However, on a more serious note, the greater consideration for car lift weight limits is the weight distribution. Every 2-post lift has four (4) telescoping swing arms for lifting; and these arms actually support the weight of the vehicle. Each arm has its own lifting capacity; for example 9,000 lbs. divided by four is 2,250lbs. per arm.
A 1-ton truck may weigh-in right at 9,000lbs.; but 6,000lbs. of this will be on the rear axle; or 3,000lbs. per arm! Add tool-boxes and such, and you start seeing a real imbalance; this puts a lot of twist on the whole lift. Such a load would be too much for any standard 10,000 lbs. capacity lift, let alone a 9K model.
To safely lift a 1-ton truck, you need to start in the 12,000lbs. capacity range of automotive lifts. And if you’re looking at larger utility vehicles, the range gets even more extreme. The distribution of the weight of any vehicle always needs to be taken into account.
It isn’t that we’re just looking to sell the more expensive product.
It’s what’s best for our customer.