Looking at vehicle lifts, is like looking for a new vehicle, while there are a few major manufacturers the options provided by them, are limitless. You’ve got inside vehicle lifts, hitch lifts, trunk lifts, micro lifts, manual lifts, electric lifts – the list just keeps going. This article will cover basic installations with three styles of vehicle lifts; hitch mounted, inside lifts and outside lifts.
The most common vehicle lifts that you see are those that are mounted to the vehicle hitches. These are platform lifts, that you can use with manual wheelchairs, scooters or power wheelchairs. A standard lift weights between 80-100lbs and has a lifting capacity of 350lbs. These lifts are popular for several reason, first because they are so diverse. If you have a progressing illness, and you will be upgrading through the different levels of mobility devices, you don’t have to upgrade though the different lifts because they are designed to handle multiple styles of mobility equipment. Hitch mounted lifts are also great because you don’t loss access to the cargo area of your vehicle, due to the swing away feature. You also won’t loss any vehicle room because it’s on the outside of your vehicle. While these lifts are great, there are a few not so good aspects. One of the largest downfalls of a hitch mounted lift is that hitch mounted, meaning your equipment is out in the heat. In cooler climates, this isn’t so much a problem, but in Arizona in the middle of July, equipment gets hot. The only other major problem that comes with having a hitch mounted lift, is the fear of theft. I won’t say it never happens, because sadly it does, but there are safety measure that can be taken to reduce the possibility of theft.
Another very popular style of vehicle lift is the boom style, which mounts in the beds of trucks. This style of lift is also compatible with manual wheelchairs, scooter and power wheelchairs with a maximum lifting capacity of 450lbs. Fully electric, the lift is operated by a hand controller and will pick up just about any chair, lift it up and place it in the bed of a mid-size to full-size truck. Its compact size allows for access to the bed of the truck and when not in uses takes up about a square foot of room at the tailgate. A boom lift is the perfect fit for anyone who tows because it does not inhibit your ability to use your hitch. However, in most cases the truck cannot have any type of cover, tonto to camper, or toolbox. The requirements will vary slightly depending on the mobility equipment that will be used. Other than a few restrictions, the only other thing you should keep in mind while lift shopping is the weather. It will be exposed to the elements.
The final major style of vehicle lift is those mounted inside the vehicle, typically in the cargo areas. This style of lift mounts in the 3-row of seats in just about any mini-van and a few hybrids. It’s a platform lift, fully electric and is a possible option for scooters or powerchairs with a maximum lifting capacity of 350bs. Whereas the two previous lifts were exposed to the elements, this lift is located completed inside the vehicle. It keeps the equipment cooler and provides a little more piece of mind regarding security. The downside is the noise. These lifts do rattle, they are heavy piece of equipment with multiple features, there is no way to make it silent. However, if you operate the vehicle with care, follow the user instructions and maintain a safe operating speed in your vehicle, the sound is greatly diminished.
Hitch mounted, outside mounted and inside mounted all have their own good and bad. And while most equipment will work on any of these lifts, always remember to ask yourself, what will you be comfortable operating? Will noise distract you? Are you dependent on your backup camera? Do you need the toolbox in the back of your truck? Our goal is always to find the best equipment that fits your needs and lift style. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!