Spring is in the air, and if your plans include a little travel with your new scooter, why not treat yourself to a new vehicle lift to match?
That being said, figuring all that out is not as hard as it may seem if you take it one step at a time.
What kind of car you drive is all important when it comes to fitting a vehicle lift. If you drive a sporty sub-compact, carrying a mobility scooter may be out of the question. Since outside lifts hook on to a trailer hitch, your car has to be able to be fitted with a hitch that is rated for an appropriate tongue weight. Tongue weight is a measurement of the weight a trailer hitch can hold unsupported (there are no wheels underneath for support on a vehicle lift). This is usually 10% of the vehicles towing weight. So for example if your car has a towing weight of 5,000 lbs., the tongue weight would be 500 lbs, and easily accommodate a lift and scooter. On the other end of the spectrum if your car has a towing weight of 1500 lbs., the tongue weight would be only 150 lbs. and not enough for a lift and scooter at all.
Trailer hitches come in different sizes as well. Class 1 and Class 2 hitches have a 1.25 inch square receiver that extends out from the back of the vehicle. Even though they are the same size, the Class 1 hitch will not have the ability to bear as much weight as the Class 2. There is normally a sticker on the side of a hitch that says the class and how much weight it is rated for. Very few vehicle lifts can be used on a Class 1 hitch, they are just not strong enough. Class 2 hitches can sometimes carry 250 or even 300 lbs., so a lift will work on them as long as the scooter weight added to the weight of the lift itself does not meet or exceed the tongue weight. A Class 3 and above hitch will measure an inside diameter of 2 inches square. They are heavy duty, and will be rated to carry the heaviest scooters. Most trucks and SUV’s will be able to handle a class 3 hitch ( or even a Class 4 or 5), which means your vehicle will be compatible with most vehicle lifts.
Manual Carriers are basically just “racks” with an attached ramp to allow you to guide your scooter up onto the rack and strap it there for transport. You have to lift and lower the ramp portion manually. They weigh up to 40 lbs, so using this type of lift requires some physical labor. They are inexpensive, and most require at least a Class 3 trailer hitch.
Powered Outside Lifts bolt into the trailer hitch on the back of your vehicle, and raise, lower and fold up using a key switch. They run on the electrical current from your cars battery, or some can be fitted with their own battery pack. They require very little effort to use, and they sell in the middle price range. If you have a vehicle with a tailgate or hatchback, you may want to option this type of lift with a swing-away joint, so you can get the lift out of the way when you need to access the back of your vehicle. Your scooter will be out in the elements so a cover is also a good idea.
Powered inside lifts are great because your scooter is secure, out of the elements, and they are super easy to use. They work best on larger SUV type vehicles and Mini vans. They are the most expensive type of lifts, many of them are able to bolt to the existing seat hardware in the cargo area of your vehicle so drilling is not even required to install them. They don’t require a trailer hitch at all.
More comfortable on the phone? Call one of our Product Experts now at (800)850-0335 and we’ll talk you right through the process.
Have a wonderful Springtime and Safe Travels from your friends at Spinlife!