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Used vs New Car Lifts: Which Should You Purchase?

A mechanic is using a car lift to work on a vehicle he knows the benefits and differences between used vs new car lift

Buying a lift is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a shop owner. As one of the primary pieces of equipment in your shop, you want to purchase one that works for your needs and your budget. However, there are endless options for car lifts, including in-ground, two-post, surface-mounted, motorcycle, and scissor lifts, both new and used. The seemingly never-ending choices can be overwhelming for anyone, even if you think you know what you need.

Which Car Lift Do You Need?

There are a lot of considerations when deciding which lift to purchase. While cost may be your biggest concern, you must ensure it meets your shop’s needs, including floor space, vehicle weight, and more.

For example, some shops may find a four-post lift best, primarily if they work on larger vehicles. This is because a four-post lift has a post in each corner, allowing your shop to lift heavy vehicles. More often than not, however, a two-post lift will work just fine.

Two-post lifts also provide a stable environment for servicing or modifying vehicles, with two posts either across from each other or at opposing corners. In addition, a two-post lift allows mechanics to work underneath the car with relative ease.

Scissor lifts are more affordable and great for shops without much floor space and limited ceiling height. However, they have some limitations, such as the lack of access underneath the vehicle. 

Once you’ve decided what type of auto lift is best for your needs, you’ll want to consider the differences between purchasing a used vs. new car lift.

A mechanic is using a car lift to work on a vehicle he knows the benefits and differences between used vs new car lift

What to Consider When Purchasing Used or New

Once you’ve considered your shop’s space, ceiling height, types of vehicles you work on, and overall needs, you’ve likely decided on the kind of auto lift to purchase. However, should you buy a new auto lift or a used one? Various factors come into play when deciding between a used vs. new car lift.


While the price may be your most significant consideration, the lowest price doesn’t always equal the best value. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly auto lift, ensure you have a list of specifications that are deal-breakers. This way, you can get everything you want for good value. Whether you’re looking to buy a used or new auto lift, a list of your required specifications is essential.

However, if you’re looking to purchase a used auto lift, you need to ensure that the cost of maintaining it isn’t worth more than a new auto lift. Buying a new auto lift is often more affordable than maintaining and refurbishing an old one.

If you want to purchase a used auto lift, going to a reputable supplier/distributor is critical to ensure that the lift has been adequately maintained and is in good working order.


If you’re purchasing a used auto lift, ensure that regular maintenance has been done. It’s crucial to ask for the maintenance and repair history to confirm that the lift is in good shape.

A new car lift manufacturer usually offers warranties on moving parts and the frame, with some warranties more comprehensive than others. Many manufacturers, usually the most reputable ones, provide extended warranties that cover the entire life of the lift.

Purchasing a used car lift from a known distributor will give you peace of mind, knowing that


Safety should be of the utmost importance when comparing a used vs new car lift. You must ensure that any used lift you may be considering is safe, including inspecting the seals and cylinders. In addition, check the safety locking system, as well as the chains and cables for wear and tear, including corrosion.

Purchasing a used auto lift from a trustworthy distributor rather than another local mechanic’s shop would be very beneficial, so you have a guarantee on your purchase.


Unfortunately, some small dishonest distributors can make purchasing an auto lift stressful. Because of this, it’s imperative to research the brands the distributors are selling, as sometimes these manufacturers are located overseas without regard to ALI certification or safety. So, if you find a reasonably priced auto lift from a small distributor, ensure the manufacturer is reliable and certified.

However, a trustworthy distributor or supplier should give you peace of mind whether you purchase a new or used auto lift.


Doing research is the most critical factor when deciding between a used vs. new auto lift. You should research the manufacturer, the supplier/distributor, and the specifications and warranty of the auto lift.

Research is even more critical if you’re purchasing a used auto lift. For example, you’ll need to ensure you’re paying only what the lift is worth, especially if some parts are missing, worn, or damaged.

Should You Buy a Used vs. New Car Lift

A mechanic is using a car lift to work on a vehicle he knows the benefits and differences between used vs new car lift

One important thing to note is that a well-maintained auto lift can last for 20-40 years. So, a well-priced used four-post or two-post auto lift may be the perfect investment if you know it’s been maintained regularly. In addition, a used auto lift will almost always offer a cost-savings benefit over a new lift. 

While there are a lot of unknowns with a used auto lift, purchasing from a reputable distributor/supplier can assure you that the lift is in good working order, is ALI-certified, and is ready for heavy lifting.

However, new auto lifts usually come with an extended warranty, so consider purchasing a new lift if the price is not a factor.

SVI International – For All of Your Auto Lift Needs

Not only does SVI offer a comprehensive inventory of new and used auto lifts, but we’re also here to help you every step of the way. In addition, SVI has replacement parts for all types of auto lifts, so you can rest assured that your shop remains fully functional with little to no downtime.

We can help you find the proper auto lift for your needs, whether you’re a car enthusiast with a home garage or a large quick service franchise. We look forward to being your auto lift supplier, so contact us today!

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