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car lift AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Any automotive enthusiast knows the luxury of having an auto lift at your disposal in your home garage space. Floor jacks and car jack stands can get the job done on most occasions, but you’re still stuck crawling under the vehicle, and it can get a little challenging as you dive into bigger jobs on your ride.

However, there’s a reason that not many folks have them at their homes, and that’s mainly the cost to get one installed. Whether you’re talking about a heavy duty single-post hydraulic lift, two-post lift, or the more practical scissor lift, nearly all of them come with a hefty price tag. Now, this may lead certain people to debate some of the DIY car lift options out there, but is that really a practical solution? Let’s find out.

Homemade Car Lift Pros and Cons

Let me start of by saying this: If you’re not seriously experienced in metal fabrication and welding, I wouldn’t even try to consider taking on the challenge of a steel vehicle lift. It would be a massive DIY project, and one that could result in a dangerous final product if not done correctly. That said, if you do have the expertise and you’re willing to purchase the material, there are a number of different plans you can find online that provide an outline for creating a high-quality lift inside your garage workshop.

When it comes down to it, safety and price are closely related when considering car lifting equipment. If you cheap out, the lift itself will likely be dangerous to use, and if you put an importance on safety, the overall price is going to be much higher. This brings people to a crossroads. When you think about the price and labor costs associated with building your own lift the correct way, it’s comparable to the cost of buying the product from another company, especially when you consider brands like Kwik-Lift, which offers a mid-rise scissor car lift option.

If you would still rather make something than buy it, the safer and best car lift projects to pursue would be building a set of homemade car ramps. It would practically give the same result as a low or mid-rise lift for a fraction of the price. If you use your workbench often or are into woodworking, the final result could give you a somewhat portable car lift perfect for any garage floor. Simply build a set of ramps to drive the car up, then a platform that’s wide enough and stable enough to support the weight of the vehicle.

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Moral of the story: If you’re looking for a full-on hydraulic jack or hydraulic car lift for your garage, it’s usually best just to stick with purchasing a product that is already out there. It’ll save you tons of time and money buying something that’s on the market already, and you’ll even likely get a warranty with it. If you’ve got the itch to build, stick with crafting a simple vehicle ramp that you can drive your car on, allowing it to safely sit off the ground.

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