4 Post Lifts

4 Post Lift Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Q: What makes your lifts better than the competitors?

A: We have explained for the last several years that our full line of Atlas® lifts are manufactured to the same exacting standards as most of the "better known" domestic lift companies. All lifts are NOT built the same! There are similarities in the appearance of most above ground lifts, but the Atlas® Lifts are built to standards that far exceed those standards incorporated by most other Asian lift manufacturers.

We also stock most of the lifts we advertise and have in-house service techs that can help with installation questions.

We have a parts department that stock all the parts needed for the current Atlas® Lifts we sell, and we also have parts for lifts that we sold over 10 years ago.

Q: Do you have the Atlas® Lifts displayed in your showrooms?

A: We display the Atlas® Lifts in our showroom and stock hundreds of Atlas® Lifts in our six National warehouses. Please visit any of our eight locations to see your lift "in person"!

Q: What is the voltage on the motors of your lifts? What is the horse power on the motors for your lifts?

A: All of our 4 post hobbyist lifts are powered by a 110V motor and all of our commercial grade 4 post lifts are powered by a 220V motor. Normal rule of thumb is that if the 4-post lift needs to be anchored to the concrete (and is going to be used in a professional or commercial application), then it is powered by a 220 V single phase power unit.

Q: What kind of electrical wire should I use for my above ground lift?

A: Size (gauge) of wire is dependent on the motor horsepower of the power unit and the distance of the power unit from the power source. Consult a professional electrical contractor if you feel it necessary, but the rule of thumb electrical requirements are listed below:

4-post lift hobbyist lift requires a 15 amp 110 volt grounded power supply. Use a 10 gauge (or heavier) extension cord if needed.

4-post commercial grade lift with 220V single phase motor requires the same electrical service as a 2-post lift. (30 amp service with minimum of 10 gauge wire)

Q: Does it matter whether the wiring is run from the ground or from above?

A: No, but if your goal is to make the electrical wiring connection to the power unit look "professional", then run the wire from the ceiling. When you try to "micro-manage" the exact position of the power unit column...and stub the wiring (in the concrete) next to the power unit column...the odds of getting it perfect are 50-50...at best. When you stub the wiring in the ceiling...you can position your lift properly and "drop the wire" directly to the power unit. You can enclose the wire in an attractive "wire cover" for a professional look.

Q: Does the power unit motor cord have a male plug?

A: 110V power unit motors normally come with a standard 110 grounded plug. 220V motors on the power units are only available with either blank "pigtails" or “no pigtail”. (the customer must furnish the pigtail). Customers must always provide the male and female ends.

Q: Can I mount the power unit on any column?

A: Yes, but most lifts have only one column that can be used to mount the power unit. This column has the mounting bracket (and maybe the lock release bracket) welded to it. Make sure that you install that specific column where you want the power unit.

Q: Can the power unit be moved to a remote location?

A: Yes, but the extra hydraulic hose will act like a reservoir which may require more hydraulic oil to be added to the system. Ask your salesperson about “remote mounting” your power unit.

Q: Does my lift come with anchor bolts and/or the hardware to mount it to the floor?

A: Most of our commercial grade four post lifts come with the appropriate number of anchor bolts to mount the lift to the floor. It is important to note that our Hobbyist four post lifts are free standing and do not need to be anchored to the floor. (Anchor bolts are available for these lifts at an additional charge). The Customer will be always be responsible for providing the necessary hydraulic oil for the lift.

Q: What are the concrete floor requirements of my lift?

A: 4-post lifts up to 14,000 LB.:
Four (4) inches of concrete at 3000 PSI

Q: Do I need more (thicker) concrete in the area of the posts?

A: NO! Our listed concrete requirements are sufficient. But, if it makes you feel better, you may pour the concrete as thick as your pocketbook will allow.

Q: How long should I let my new concrete floor cure?

A: You may install (anchor) your lift (four days) after the concrete has been poured. You must wait a total of seven days before using the lift to its rated capacity.

Q: How do I determine the concrete thickness of my garage floor?

A: Drill a test hole and measure the thickness. Most garages will have at least four (4) inches. If you mount the lift and the "anchors" begin to lift out of the concrete over a period of time, you will need to relocate your lift or pour "new concrete pads" under the columns. There is also many types of epoxy concrete adhesives that help anchor your lift in marginal concrete.

Q: If I need to cut out my existing concrete and pour a new pad....how thick?

A: The new pad should be at least 4' by 4' and 10" thick. These new concrete pads should have "rebar" installed into the new pour and into the sides of the existing concrete slab.

Q: How large "stand alone" concrete pad is needed for an outdoor lift?

A: 4-post lift:
Concrete slab should be at least two feet longer and wider than the four columns to offer maximum stability. The lift may or may not be anchored to the slab...depending on the lift's weight capacity. Optimally, the concrete slab should be the same size as the floor of a normal garage for either a two-post or four post lift.

Q: I have a slope in my garage floor. Do I need to be concerned?

A: To allow for water drainage, many garages have a 1" to 2" slope from the back of the garage to the front. This minimal slope will not affect the safety or lift capacity of your lift.

Four post lifts (with lock ladder columns) can be easily “leveled”. The lock ladders' locking positions may be adjusted so that the runways will be level when raised and/or in their locked positions.

Columns can be "shimmed" with plastic or metal shims. If the column is to be "mounted with anchors"...make sure you use extra length anchors to compensate for the "shimmed" area above the concrete.

Q: Can concrete anchors be used if my garage has in-floor heating?

A: Yes, but you need to determine the "hot water pipe configuration" in your floor. If you are pouring a new concrete floor with hot water heat, then allow plenty of room for the columns to be installed. If you have in-floor heating already installed and do not have an accurate installation diagram; spray a small amount of water on your floor and turn the heating system to the highest setting. You may be able to see the outline of the heat pipes as the floor water begins to evaporate. Drill where it is wet. Dry areas indicate a heat pipe underneath.

Q: What type of hydraulic oil do I need to operate the lift?

A: Hydraulic fluid is the only recommended fluid/oil for your lift. AW 32 or AW 46 is the proper type of oil recommended by the lift manufacturer. Synthetic oil, automatic transmission fluid, and other substitutes are not recommended.

Q: What's the Best Hydraulic Oil for My Lift?

A: Click Here to Find Out.

Q: How much hydraulic oil will I need?

A: Most four post lifts require an average of 3-3.5 gallons of hydraulic fluid.

Hydraulic fluids can typically be found at most local parts, home improvement, or tractor supply stores.

Shipping regulations will not permit Greg Smith Equipment Sales from shipping hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic oil is available at our INDY location.

Q: How often do I need to change the hydraulic fluid?

A: Hydraulic fluid only needs to be added if there is a leak in the sealed system of the lift. Over time, extreme temperature fluctuations may create water particles to form inside the system over time. "MILKY" fluid should be evacuated and changed to ensure smooth operation.

Q: Can I mount and use my lift outside?

A: Yes with certain limitations, but be advised that when an above ground lift is mounted outside (and exposed to the elements), then the lift warranty is voided. Lifts must be mounted on a concrete surface of sufficient depth and integrity. Cold weather will affect the operation of any electric/hydraulic lift because the hydraulic oil will move slower in colder weather. Exposed metal cables need to be protected with a light weight marine-grade grease or WD-40. Cover the power unit to protect against moisture entering the motor.

Q: Can I mount my lift in an unheated garage?

A: Yes, but the hydraulic oil (in cold weather) will move slower because of its increased viscosity.

Trick: Place a "trouble light" with a 25 watt incandescent bulb near the plastic reservoir prior to use. (Be careful the bulb in protected and does NOT contact the plastic reservoir...reservoir will MELT) The heat generated from the light bulb will "warm" the hydraulic oil and increase the performance of your lift.

Q: How tall must the ceiling be to "stack" my cars on my 4-post lift?

A: Simply add the heights of both cars to be stored and add 6 inches to the total. This measurement is the LOWEST ceiling height that will safely "stack" those two vehicles.

Q: Can I get a lift with a key lock out for the power unit?

A: Yes, but they are sold as an option and we believe that the key lock is just a gimmick that has proved to be unreliable. We sold them a few years ago...and the solenoids gave us headaches after 6 months!

Q: How long can I leave a car stored on a 4-post lift?

A: When your four post lift is "set on its locks", all the hydraulic pressure is removed from the system. Therefore, a car may be stored for an indefinite period of time on a four post lift.

Q: Can I move the runways together to accommodate “small cars, UTVs and riding mowers”?

A: Yes, the runway that does NOT have the hydraulic cylinder mounted underneath can be moved on the crossbar. This is a rather time consuming task and the effort is normally not required to change the runway positions. The factory position of most of our 4-post lifts will support a ¾ pick-up down to a TR-3. Many of our customers who want to use their 4-post lift for lifting their UTV, golf cart or riding mower simply drive their short wheel base vehicles across the runways (east to west) rather than down the length of the runway (north to south).

Q: What is the weight capacity of the jacking tray for the 4-post lifts?

A: The jacking tray can support up to ½ the weight capacity of the lift.

Q: Do the carriage wear blocks need lubrication?

A: Yes...but very minimal! Please refer to your owner's manual.

Q: Where can I get parts for older lifts that are no longer produced?

A: Products are constantly changing, but Greg Smith Equipment should be able to locate most of the popular lift parts for lifts manufactured in the last ten years.

Most USA lift manufacturers are out of business...but even though the lifts were "made in the USA"...many of the parts have been coming from China for over 15 years. Many parts are generic...and although the quality of some of the parts may vary from the original manufacturer, the end result should be satisfactory.

Q: My lift "jumps" as it is raised or lowered. How do I prevent the "jumping"?

A: The hydraulic system may have "air" in the system and the system needs to be purged.
If your lift has a "direct drive" cylinder, raise the carriage about one foot. Do not set the lift on its locks. Locate the allen screw on the top of each column. Open (just a little) ONE allen screw until you feel a small amount of air AND fluid flowing; tighten the screw. Lower the lift and then repeat the procedure for the other cylinder. Repeat if necessary.

For other lifts (with different cylinder configurations); raise and lower the lift a few times (with no weight) and hold the dump valve for a few seconds when in lowered position. You can feel the air flowing through the vent hole in the reservoir cap. The hydraulic system is being "bled".

Q: My lift makes a squeaky noise when it goes up and down. Can I eliminate it?

A: A noise coming from the lift while it is traveling up or down may be caused by a variety of reasons. A certain amount of sound is normal. However, certain sounds are indications that some adjustments may be necessary.

The columns need to be perfectly aligned (and level side to side) to ensure that the carriages are not contacting the inside of the column at some irregular angle that may create a vibrating sound. This can be caused by improper installation.

The seals inside our cylinders are made to "fit" as tight as possible. On some lifts, there is a "break in period" that is needed to "soften" the seals inside the cylinder. The "stiffer" seals may vibrate or rub against the inside of the cylinder wall until the seal becomes more pliable after using the lift several times. We recommend the addition of four ounces of Caterpillar Hydraulic Oil additive #1U-9891 into the power unit hydraulic oil reservoir to help "speed up" the break in period. This Caterpillar hydraulic oil additive will soften the seals just enough to eliminate the noise, but will allow the seals to maintain their integrity to operate effectively.

There may be other factors that would produce some slight noise when operating the lift.
The lift experts at Greg Smith Equipment can provide you with many solutions to eliminate much of the noise. Of course, we cannot come to your location to perform these simple procedures, but we figure that if you were competent enough to install the lift, then performing some small noise reduction tasks should be very easy.

Q: How tight should the equalization cables be on my lift?

A: Raise the lift and DO NOT set it on the locks. Try to pull the cables together with the fingers of one hand. The cables should move toward each other about 1/3 of the way. If the cables do NOT move...they are too tight. If the cables can touch each other...they are too loose.

Q: Can I move my 4-post lift with a vehicle on it?

A: A 4-post lift should only be moved when it is unloaded. Although the lift will roll very easily on a concrete surface, we recommend that two people are involved when moving the lift.

Q: I didn't get a manual or any instructions with my lift?

A: Yes...you probably did (and lost it). However, most installation manuals are available on our web site. We can also mail, fax, or email a copy to you.

Q: What is the warranty on your lifts?

A: Please check the web page of the lift that best suits your needs. Each lift’s web page has a detailed explanation of the warranty relative to that model.


Atlas® Garage Pro 8,000

2 year structural, 1 year hydraulic warranty
Atlas® 412 12,000 LB. Four Post Lift

5 Year Structural, 2 Year Power Unit and Cylinders Warranty

Q: Do commercial grade 4-post lifts come with a caster kit, drip trays, and a jack tray?

A: No…These lifts must be anchored to the floor and are not moveable. It also does not come with any drip trays or a jack tray.

Q: Does Greg Smith Equipment offer installation of its lifts?

A: Greg Smith Equipment Sales works with dozens of lift installers throughout the USA and will be glad to provide names of these professional lift installers upon request. However, most lifts are installed by the customer with the help of some friends. Your local "handyman" can easily install these lifts with the help of our on-line easy to understand lift assembly guides.

Q: Should I worry about rust developing in my lift's hydraulic cylinder?

A: Only if you leave your lift at ground height for long periods of time. The easiest way to avoid rust is to fully raise and lower your lift at least once every two weeks. If you know you won't be using your lift for an extended amount of time, make sure to store it at its highest setting. The science behind this can be found here: How Does Hydraulic Cylinder Rust Form And How Can It Be Prevented?