JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
1/20/20 8:38 a.m.

Half the stuff we do to our cars is easier if the car is off the ground. Whether you’re performing major suspension surgery or simply swapping your street wheels for your track setup, getting some air between the ground and the undercarriage increases the efficiency of your wrench time.

For many folks, getting a car off the ground means using a rolling hydraulic jack and some fixed stands. This solution is portable, affordable, and just as easy to use at the track as it is at home, but it’s not ideal if your work requires frequent raising and lowering. On the other end of the spectrum, a full two-post, commercial-style lift has drawbacks of its own, including a heftier price tag, a bigger footprint and added complexity.

If you’re looking for a happy medium, we present the portable lift. These versatile pieces of equipment are versatile and use some sort of powered assist to lift and secure your car off the ground. We took an up-close look at two popular options and weighed their pros and cons.

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sethracer
sethracer New Reader
1/20/20 3:02 p.m.

For safety, I also bought the mechanical-style lift. I bought the EZ Car-Lift, made in California. It is also drill driven, with acme threads on the links it cannot come down, unless driven down with the drill.  This one comes apart for easy transit, and, after it is at full lift a cross link at one end can be removed, allowing most any powertrain work.  There is even an option for 4-wheels which are locked into place - but still swivel - so you can move the car around even when off the ground. Handy and safe. I choose not to go under a car when only jack-stands are holding it up (maybe).

codrus
codrus UberDork
1/20/20 4:02 p.m.
sethracer said:

For safety, I also bought the mechanical-style lift. 

FWIW, while the QuickJack is hydraulic power mechanism, it has a mechanical safety (legs that drop into place onto a safety catch) when it's all the way up.  You definitely don't crawl under it without engaging those.

(It's visible in the photo with the Fiat -- look at the black tube going at the opposite angle to the main hinged sides)

Also, the article says:

While the Autolift3000 occupies a larger footprint than the QuickJack, its much lighter weight makes it far more feasible for a lone operator to move and store

While the autolift3000 is 99 pounds (per the specs on the web site), the individual frames on the QJ 5000 are 76 with another 15 for the power unit.  So yes, the QuickJack as a whole is heavier, but you only have to pick up one piece at a time.  Also, one of the major use cases for portability is taking it to the track, and in that case I suspect the 3500 makes more sense.  It's lighter (frames are 60 lbs) and while the capacity is lower, it's enough for most track cars.

 

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
1/21/20 2:39 p.m.

I see the autolift is now $1100 on their site and Costco sells the Quickjack for $1000-$1200 on sale. I am hoping in a couple years the lower the price below the $1k mark to make it a reasonable price for as little as I might use it, but useful to have it.

_
_ Dork
1/21/20 3:12 p.m.

The only problem I have with these is that you can't access bolts and such from the side of the car. Often, that's the direction your body needs to face to have the torque you need for a bolt. Also, if you have a narrow car, there's hardly any elbow room once you're on a creeper. 

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 Dork
1/21/20 5:41 p.m.

Is there maybe an advertiser that sells the QJ? I just can't figure out a way to get a 2post in the garage without making someone unhappy most of the time. 

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
1/21/20 5:47 p.m.
_ said:

The only problem I have with these is that you can't access bolts and such from the side of the car. Often, that's the direction your body needs to face to have the torque you need for a bolt. Also, if you have a narrow car, there's hardly any elbow room once you're on a creeper. 

Use them to get the car in the air, put jackstands under it and take them down in that case.

codrus
codrus UberDork
1/21/20 5:53 p.m.
Stefan said:
_ said:

The only problem I have with these is that you can't access bolts and such from the side of the car. Often, that's the direction your body needs to face to have the torque you need for a bolt. Also, if you have a narrow car, there's hardly any elbow room once you're on a creeper. 

Use them to get the car in the air, put jackstands under it and take them down in that case.

That doesn't really work with the QuickJack because the ramps are long and are usually lifting from the spots where you'd put the jackstands.

That said, back when I used my QJ regularly (I have a big lift now so I mostly don't any more) I didn't find the lack of side access to be a big deal.

 

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