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Choosing the Right 2-Post Lift: Asymmetrical vs. Symmetrical

This column is a part of our Product Insights Series, where our product managers discuss timely industry topics and share their know-how about all things automotive service. Check back monthly for more. 

At Coats, we have various configurations for your 2 Post lifts, many of which are field adjustable. One of the common questions we receive daily is the differences between our asymmetrical 2N1 and symmetrical lifting styles. While all our lifts come with ALI vehicle lifting guides and essential safety guides, this article will help you with deciding which style may be best for your shop. 

What Is an Asymmetric Lift? 

Asymmetric or our 2N1 configuration is a great option for general service and repair. Due to the 30/70 vehicle load, smaller capacity vehicles are typically used more often in this style. Since the vehicle is positioned further back on the lift, this does create easier access in and out of the doors for the technician. The 2N1 arm design has a 90-degree angle, giving the technician more options to target the correct ALI lift point, as well as our 3-stage arms provide all the necessary support. 

When Would You Recommend an Asymmetric Lift? 

1. Passenger Cars and Light Trucks 

Asymmetric lifts are particularly well-suited for lifting passenger cars and light trucks. If the majority of the vehicles the shop services fall into these categories, an asymmetric lift can offer numerous benefits: 

    • Balance and Accessibility: Asymmetric lifts are designed to lift vehicles in a way that positions the majority of the vehicle’s weight towards the rear. This makes accessing the vehicle’s front more manageable, which is particularly useful for tasks like engine work. 

 

    • Door Clearance: The design of asymmetric lifts often allows for better door clearance, which means technicians can easily open the doors of the vehicle even when it is lifted. This is a crucial feature for passenger cars where frequent entry and exit might be necessary. 

 

2. Diverse Vehicle Mix 

If the shop services a mix of sedans, SUVs, and light trucks, an asymmetric lift can provide the versatility needed to handle different vehicle sizes and weights: 

    • Versatility: Asymmetric lifts can accommodate a wide range of vehicle types and sizes. This flexibility makes them a great option for shops that do not specialize in just one type of vehicle but see a variety of makes and models. 

 

    • Space Efficiency: The design of asymmetric lifts allows for a more compact footprint compared to symmetric lifts. This can be a significant advantage in shops where space is at a premium. 

 

3. Enhanced Technician Comfort and Safety 

For shops where technician comfort and safety are top priorities, asymmetric lifts can offer ergonomic benefits: 

    • Reduced Strain: The positioning of the vehicle on an asymmetric lift often reduces the strain on technicians by providing easier access to the most frequently serviced parts of the vehicle. 

 

    • Improved Working Conditions: Better door clearance and easier access to the vehicle interior and engine compartment can create a more efficient and comfortable working environment. 

 

4. Shops with Limited Space 

If the shop has limited space but still needs to handle a variety of vehicle types, an asymmetric lift can be an ideal solution: 

    • Space-Saving Design: The angled arm design of asymmetric lifts allows vehicles to be positioned closer to the lift columns, saving valuable floor space and allowing for more lifts to be installed within the same area. 

 

What is a Symmetrical Lift? 

Symmetrical lifting’s goal is to have the vehicle centered between the lift, so that the load will be 50/50. I’ve found with our symmetrical lifts that it’s easier to lift a larger vehicle, SUV, truck, and van, due to the wheelbase. If you’re not familiar with this type of lifting style, getting your vehicle centered may take a couple of tries. However, once you and your technicians get used to centering, getting the arms to the correct lift points will be effortless and many vehicles will already be aligned correctly. Another part of a symmetrical lift is the drive-thru width will be larger than an asymmetrical lift, offering greater options for vehicles to be serviced. If your shop tends to service larger vehicles this might be the right lift for you. 

When Would You Recommend a Symmetrical Lift? 

1. Heavy-Duty Vehicles 

Symmetrical lifts are ideal for shops that service larger, heavier vehicles such as trucks, vans, and commercial vehicles. These lifts offer the stability and strength needed to handle the increased weight and size of such vehicles. 

    • Stability: The design of symmetrical lifts ensures that the vehicle’s center of gravity is directly between the lift’s columns, providing maximum stability when lifting heavy vehicles. 

 

    • Weight Capacity: Symmetrical lifts typically have higher weight capacities compared to asymmetric lifts, making them suitable for heavier vehicles. 

 

2. Fleet Services and Commercial Vehicle Shops 

For shops that primarily deal with fleets or commercial vehicles, a symmetrical lift is a practical choice due to its ability to handle a wide range of large vehicles. 

    • Versatility for Large Vehicles: These lifts are designed to accommodate the larger dimensions and higher weight of commercial vehicles and fleet trucks.

 

    • Efficiency: The robust design allows for quick and safe lifting, which is essential for high-throughput shops that need to service multiple large vehicles efficiently. 

 

3. Uniform Weight Distribution 

If the shop frequently services vehicles with a relatively uniform weight distribution, a symmetrical lift can be the best option. 

    • Balanced Lifting: Symmetrical lifts provide balanced lifting points that are ideal for vehicles with even weight distribution, ensuring the vehicle is lifted securely and evenly. 

 

4. Budget Considerations 

For shops on a tighter budget, symmetrical lifts can often be more affordable than their asymmetric counterparts while still providing the necessary functionality and safety. 

    • Cost-Effective: Symmetrical lifts can offer a cost-effective solution for shops needing reliable lifting equipment without the added cost of asymmetric features. 

 

5. Simple and Robust Design 

For shops that prefer equipment with fewer moving parts and simpler operation, symmetrical lifts can be an appealing choice. 

    • Durability: The straightforward design of symmetrical lifts often translates to greater durability and less maintenance, making them a practical choice for busy shops. 

 

    • Ease of Use: With fewer components to adjust or maintain, symmetrical lifts can be easier to use and more reliable over the long term. 

 

At Coats, we want to make sure that you and your shop are lifting safely, so choosing the correct configuration may come with further questions. When working with custom car builder found in Franklin, TN, they do a wide variety of vehicles, while mostly specializing in Broncos. We identified that based on their vehicle building and restoration work that having the 2N1 would better suit them. I spoke to a shop recently where their focus was larger moving vans and trucks, but they wanted the option to lift their personal vehicles from time to time, so the symmetrical lift was the best choice for them. We encourage you to reach out to your local sales representative to discuss in more detail what vehicles you’ll be focusing on, and we’ll make recommendations for the right lift and the best accessories to pair.  

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