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How to Select a Vehicle Lift

Harmar lifts for vehicles are designed to safely transport a power chair, scooter, or manual wheelchair on a vehicle. The specific lift you choose depends on the combination of vehicle, hitch class, mobility device, and your physical capabilities.

Lift/Vehicle Compatibility

Vehicles range from compacts to full-size cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks. Each offers different weight capacities and interior space, affecting the mobility device it can carry and whether the mobility device can fit inside the vehicle or outside.

User Capabilities

Auto lifts are designed with varying degrees of automation from manual to partially automated to fully automatic securement and lifting. The user should feel comfortable and capable of handling whatever that specific lift style requires.

Types of Vehicle Lifts

Inside Auto Lifts/Hoists

Operation Difficulty: Moderate+

Inside Lifts are mounted in the vehicle’s cargo area with a hoist mechanism that swings outside the vehicle to load and lift the mobility device into the vehicle.

The operator of an Inside Lift should have the following capabilities:

  • Walk from the front to the rear of the vehicle and back
  • Stand for up to three minutes while the lift operates
  • Attach docking device to mobility device
    – May require bending over or kneeling
    – May require adequate hand dexterity
    – May require balance and strength to attach the docking device
  • Fold down the seat back of the mobility device and/or scooter tiller until it is in its most compact position
  • Apply pressure to hold down a button on the handheld control while lift operates
  • Guide the mobility device to avoid interference while raising, rotating, and entering the vehicle through complete lift cycle

Outside Lifts

Operation Difficulty: Easiest

An Outside Auto Lift is attached to the vehicle by means of a hitch and consists of an actuator and platform which secures and carries the mobility device on the back of the vehicle.

The operator of an Outside Lift should have the following capabilities:

  • Walk from front to rear of the vehicle and back
  • Stand for two to three minutes while the lift operates
  • Drive or push the mobility device on/off the platform
  • Insert the key and rotate it 90 degrees to turn on and activate the lift
  • Apply pressure to hold the up/down toggle switch while the lift operates
  • For models requiring securement with retractors, connect hook to location on mobility device. Pull strap end or turn knob to increase tension (single and dual-hand retractors available).

Hybrid Auto Lifts

Operation Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Hybrid Lifts are mounted in the vehicle’s cargo area but are designed to move out and down so that the mobility device is loaded onto the platform on the ground. It is then lifted automatically into the vehicle for transport.

The operator of a Hybrid Lift should have the following capabilities:

  • Walk from the front to the rear of the vehicle and back
  • Stand for up to three minutes while the lift operates
  • Drive or push the mobility device on/off the platform
  • Fold down the seat back of the mobility device and/or scooter tiller until it is in its most compact position
  • Apply pressure to hold down a button on the handheld control while the lift operates
  • For models requiring securement with tie-down straps, connect hook to location on mobility device. Pull strap end to increase tension. Self retracting straps upgrade available.

Mobility Experts at Your Side

Harmar products and parts are sold through our vast network of authorized dealers. With in-depth product knowledge, your local Harmar dealer will help you find the right vehicle or home lift to fit your individual needs.

Help & Resources

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