The vehicle lift can be found primarily in any auto mechanic bay at any repair shop around the world. The very first vehicle lifts came into existence around 1899, which is the same time as real automobiles came out to the beautiful world. The original vehicle lift began life as a scissor jack and today most, if not almost all work on hydraulics. Since that time, the lift has gone through many changes as the need to lift even heavier objects than cars became necessary.
The primary purpose for the vehicle lift is to hoist vehicles up over an auto mechanics head so they can get a better visual of what needs to be worked on. It was this lift that was the particular model for all the other lifts in existence today. The need for other types of lifts came about because vehicles were only one instance in which some sort of lift was required as some items are too massive and heavy for the human back to bear. It would be silly to think that the standard lift used to hoist a car would work just as well with, say a charter bus or a semi-truck and as a result, many different lifts were created with varying weight capacities.
There are so many types and varying weight classifications so you can find one for just about any job imaginable. The list includes, frame engaging ones, axle-engaging ones, runway or drive on lifts and rocker panel lifts. Of course the most common is the in-ground lift and is the one used in most auto repair shops today and usually has one of three systems: semi-hydraulic or hydro-pneumatic, full hydraulic and electric oil pumping.
Another popular lift is the surface mounted on above-ground lift that uses a hydraulic pump, the four-column lift, commonly used for things like muffler replacement, wheel alignment, oil changes. This is the lift mechanics use when they do vehicle inspections and tune-ups.
The axle-engaged lift is a multi-post available with both fixed and movable pistons. The difference between the semi-hydraulic lift and the full hydraulic lift is that the oil tank is an integral part of the hydraulic cylinder, whereas the full hydraulics' oil tank is separate from the unit and is installed below ground or surface mounted. It has a 1 1/4 inch oil pipe where as the semi-hydraulic does not. While both lifts require oil to run, the oil is distributed or sent to the cylinders differently.
Source by Betty Barker