Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Two-Post Car Lift: What's the Difference?

When shopping for a two-post car lift, you’ll likely see two variations: symmetric and asymmetric. These two kinds of lifts have their own advantages and ideal uses, depending on the garage services you offer and the types of vehicles you accommodate.

Here at JMC Automotive Equipment, we’ve got a range of 2-post car lifts for sale to cover varying garage needs. We’ll help you determine whether a symmetric or asymmetric lift is the best choice for you. Read on to learn the differences and ideal uses of both kinds of lift.

Symmetric 2-Post Car Lift

What is a symmetric two-post car lift?

A symmetric two-post car lift is a commonly used equipment in garages, auto repair shops, and car enthusiasts' spaces. It consists of two vertical posts or columns securely anchored to the ground or a concrete floor. This type of lift features front and rear arms that are identical in length, position, and angle, creating a symmetric design. These arms are used to lift and support vehicles from their chassis.

The lift also features a top cross-bar, which connects the tops of the two columns. This cross-bar takes the weight off the back of two bolts on the columns, enhancing the lift’s structural integrity. Most symmetric lifts have a top cross-bar design, distinguishing them from floor plate setups.

Advantages of a symmetric two-post car lift

Here are the three benefits of using symmetric lifts:

  • Flexibility. The front and rear arms' identical length, position, and angle provide flexibility in accommodating various vehicle sizes and weights.
  • Door accessibility. By positioning the arms roughly in the middle, the lift allows for easy opening and closing vehicle doors during maintenance or repairs.
  • Structural integrity. The top crossbar in the symmetric lift design helps distribute the weight evenly between the two columns, preventing excessive stress on the lift's bolts.

Disadvantages of a symmetric two-post-car lift

Below are some of the drawbacks of symmetric lifts:

  • Height clearance limitations. Since most symmetric lifts have a top cross-bar design, vehicles such as SUVs and trucks may require additional height clearance.
  • Limited access beneath the vehicle. The center area underneath the vehicle may have restricted access due to the presence of the lift's columns. This can sometimes pose challenges when working on specific components or systems.
  • Floor space requirements. Two-post lifts, including symmetric designs, require sufficient floor space for installation.

Uses of a symmetric two-post-car lift

Mechanics and car enthusiasts use symmetric lifts for the following purposes:

  • Lifting vehicles with a symmetric two-post lift makes tire changes, wheel alignments, and balancing tasks more convenient. The open access provided by the lift allows for easy removal and installation of wheels, as well as access to tire and wheel components.
  • The lift's ability to raise vehicles off the ground provides a convenient working height for performing oil changes and other fluid-related services. Technicians can easily access the engine compartment, drain fluids, and replace filters.
  • Automotive repair facilities use symmetric two-post car lift for various maintenance and repair tasks. They provide easy access to the underside of vehicles, allowing technicians to inspect and work on components such as brakes, suspension, exhaust systems, and transmissions.

Asymmetric 2-Post Car Lift

What is an asymmetric two-post car lift?

An asymmetric two-post car lift is another type of automotive lift commonly used in garages, auto repair shops, and service centers. Unlike symmetric lifts, asymmetric lifts have arms of uneven lengths and angles. The front arms are shorter, and the columns are rotated at approximately 30 degrees. This design allows more access to the vehicle's interiors when positioned on the lift.

Advantages of an asymmetric two-post car lift

Asymmetric lifts offer the following benefits:

  • Improved accessibility. The asymmetric design of the lift, with shorter front arms and rotated columns, provides better access to the vehicle's interior.
  • Efficient vehicle positioning. Asymmetric lifts require positioning approximately 30 percent of the vehicle's length past the posts and the remaining 70 percent past the rear. This weight distribution is ideal for front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles with most of their weight in the front.
  • Space optimization. The rotated columns create a narrower drive-through clearance, benefiting service shops with limited space. It allows for more lifts to be installed side by side.
  • Versatility. Shortening the rear arms and adjusting their positioning closer to the vehicle's midline provides a configuration that accommodates longer and heavier vehicles.

Disadvantages of an asymmetric two-post-car lift

The asymmetric type has two main disadvantages:

  • Narrow drive-through clearance. The rotated columns of an asymmetric lift reduce the drive-through clearance, making it more challenging to bring in wider vehicles. Mechanics must take caution when passing through the columns to avoid causing damage.
  • Limited suitability for certain vehicles. While mechanics can adjust asymmetric lifts to lift heavier and longer vehicles, they are generally better suited for FWD and smaller vehicles. Other lift configurations may be more appropriate if most serviced vehicles are wider or have their weight distributed differently.

Uses of an asymmetric two-post-car lift

Below are some use-case scenarios for asymmetric lifts:

  • Asymmetric two-post car lifts suit various maintenance and repair tasks. From oil changes to suspension work, technicians can raise the vehicles to a convenient working height and gain access to the necessary components for inspection, repair, or replacement.
  • An asymmetric two-post car lift design provides better access to the vehicle's interior, making it an ideal choice for diagnostics and electrical work tasks. Technicians can reach critical components, wiring, and connections more efficiently, allowing for efficient troubleshooting and repair.
  • The asymmetric lift’s weight distribution configuration is designed to position more weight past the rear arms. These lifts provide stability and balance when lifting FWD vehicles, making them suitable for various maintenance and repair tasks specific to this vehicle type.

Regardless of what kind of lift you pick, remember to always follow standard lift loading and lifting procedures to reduce the risks of accidents.

If you’re still unsure of which two-post car lift to get, JMC Automotive Equipment can help you make the right choice. Our experts will ask for more details about your equipment needs, so we can help you choose the best garage lift for you.

Browse our selection of two-post car lifts and other automotive equipment on our online catalogue. For inquiries, fill out our contact form.