Motion & Emotion

What Is a Car Elevator and How Does It Work?


You may know a lot about cars, but do you know about their infrastructure and storage? Learn about one form of infrastructure and storage now, the car elevator.

Some of the people most passionate about cars know a lot about the vehicles on the road, but not about the infrastructure and storage that supports them. While it’s impossible to learn everything about cars, their infrastructure, and storage, one interesting piece of technology that you should learn about is car elevators. So, what is a car elevator and how does it work? Keep reading to find out.

Car Elevator: What It’s Not

A car elevator is not the same thing as a mechanical car lift, although the words for lift and elevator can often be used interchangeably. While the idea of a car elevator is similar to a car lift in a mechanic shop since they both raise cars into the air, it’s still a different piece of equipment due to its design. To use a car lift, you park a car on top of branches, similar to a forklift, and then the lift rises into the air to allow people to work underneath the car. It is unsafe for the car to be mobile again until the lift is lowered back down.

Car Elevator: What It Really Is

Meanwhile, a car elevator is designed to be driven onto and off from, and often has metal slates along the entire bottom so it can support the car in whatever position it is parked. The operator can then raise the elevator as high as they need to, parking additional cars underneath or placing the car in a building. It is possible to drive a car off an elevator, as long as the elevator is positioned correctly. Most of the time, though, they’re used for storage. Depending on the size and support system of the elevator, you can safely stack multiple cars on top of each other and retrieve them again.

How a Car Elevator Works

So how does this technological piece of infrastructure and storage equipment work? The necessary movements can be achieved in several ways, but hydraulic presses are the most common since they can lift more weight than other systems. Hydraulic presses can be used for lifts or elevators.

For the elevator, a hydraulic press works through a liquid tank, filled with either oil or another fluid, one or several pistons wrapped in a cylinder, and a motorized pump. The pump pushes some of the fluid into the cylinder, where fluid pressure builds up and causes the pistons to move. This movement allows the press to lift heavy loads such as cars and hold them in place until the pump withdraws the water, which is when the press then lowers back to ground level.

Although there are many more pieces of technology, infrastructure, and storage to explore in the world of cars, you can now simply answer the dual question, “What is a car elevator and how does it work?” While car elevators are different than car lifts, both can use hydraulic lifts to raise cars for their necessary purpose.


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