How to Rent A Lift To Work On Your Car (Bay Area Specific In 2018)

Guide to Renting An Automotive Lift in the Bay Area in 2018

From the Pit Row Yelp Page. Lots of lifts and lots of tools. A mechanics paradise.

To rent an automotive lift in the San Francisco Bay Area you have one option as of late 2018. It is called Pit Row and it is located in Santa Clara, California. You need to call ahead to make a reservation for a lift on a specific day. Prices are $35 an hour for a lift with tools (air included). They also have a professional technician that can help for $15 for 15 minutes if you get stuck. They also offer full-service auto shop services for a shop rate of $115 an hour, if you don’t want to do it yourself. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Contact: Email: Phone: (408) 654-9661

Rental Lifts are Becoming Popular:

The era of sharing & easy rentals. Jump Bikes, Bird Scooters, and Car Sharing App’s have, for better or worse, given us all more access to the things we used to have to buy outright.

Now, that same model has been applied to working on your own vehicle with a lift.

Why? As anyone who has worked on their car on the dirt, it is annoying, difficult, and dangerous. Here is a great example, I took this photo when I was helping a friend with an emergency brake lock up. It was raining, muddy, and overall a painful repair.

Would we have easily paid $40 to use a lift for an hour with tools? Yes. I would’ve paid $80 in that moment.

Trying to put a tarp up to block the rain– fail

For Transmissions, Differentials, Fluid Changes A Lift Will Save You Time and Money:

Oh, you want to change a transmission?

Best prep your back for a week, if you’re working on the ground you’ll be muscling that thing on your back. Trust me, I have worked 100’s of hours underneath a car on gravel. It is messy, dirty, and sucks. A lift is like 100 million times easier.

Having air tools and shop lights? An expert technician waiting by to help you out should you get stuck?

I don’t know about you, but those are all things I love / would look for in a DIY Rent-A-Lift type place. That is why I am bringing you this article. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll feel comfortable renting a bay, and getting the most for your money while you are there. This specifically applies to the Bay Area, however, these rental places exist all over the country.

Think of renting a lift as a privilege and for special occasions. Unless you live close by, you’ll have to travel there / back. If you’re just doing a simple brake job, oil change, or anything that isn’t super intensive it may make more sense for you to invest in a good jack/jack stands. Or those things you drive up onto so you can get under the car easier (ramps).

Renting a lift is for those jobs you know will be somuch easier on a lift. Transmission changes, exhaust swaps, full fluid changes (differentials etc.,), and many more reasons to make renting a lift worth your time.

Your Options in the Bay Area for Rent-A-Lift Type Automotive Shops:

1. Pit Row In Santa Clara, California (Links to Yelp)

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday
9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Contact: Email:
Phone: (408) 654-9661

What Pit Row Rentals Include:

A lift. Tools & Air Tools. A lot of Speciality Tools As Well. Call them to ask if they have the exact tool you need first! (408) 654-9661. It is located in Santa Clara (see map) but basically North San Jose area.

What the standard price doesn’t include. Any help from one of their technicians. They may walk by and give you a quick tip, but don’t expect them to help without a charge. I am waiting to get the exact numbers, but they used to do a $15 for 15 minutes of help (once per hour). I am not sure if they’re still offering that with the new ownership.

To get the most current pricing just give them a call. Their website is hard to navigate and as far as I can tell doesn’t have any clear pricing sheet. I know I saw it before, and I am going to try to dig it up for you.

Ok, I found it! This may not be the most updated pricing sheet. But this was taken from inside there shop. Hopefully, this helps you figure out if it is worth your time or not.

Pit Row Pricing Per Hour of Lift Use/Mechanic Help:

I have emailed them directly for pricing. However, from reading the reviews on Yelp it seems to be around $30-35 per hour to rent a lift with tools. If you need help to finish the repair, a technician will get involved and that jumps the price to around $100 an hour (at least). Will update as soon as I have the correct pricing.

It seems as though they have had an ownership change, and some people have had problems with appointment times. Make sure to call ahead, and that they confirm your time.

Also, if you need any super specialty tools be sure to call ahead and check if they have them. You don’t want to have to make a trip to the parts store/tool rental place while paying for your car to be on the lift.

Tips from yelpers before going to Pit Row:

Photo links to Yelp reviews for Pit Row Santa Clara.


Other Options in the Bay Area to Rent-a-lift:

Pit Row is about your only option in late 2018 in the Bay Area Only. I thought there were more options (and there was,) but they have since closed up shop. If I have missed one, please send me an email (click here Get In Touch or at the top of the page).

There used to be a shop called Lifted Inc., in Fremont, California. It is CLOSED as of me writing this article in 2018! Despite having much love & good reviews online.

Link to Yelp Page Here *Since Closed*






It had 5 Stars on Yelp and 53 Reviews and Still, It Closed Shop. I believe this is due to the fact that while people love this service, the rent on a shop space these days is insanely high. That is why shops can only survive by charging 120-130 an hour these days in the Bay Area. They just can’t make the same amount of cash flow renting a lift with tools for $35 an hour to you.

That being said since 2016 I have wanted to open one of these DIY Shops in the Santa Cruz area. I think it would do great, but I have trouble finding a good spot. If there is anyone that would like to partner up, or has space up for rent (for a good deal) reach out to me here.

Rent-a-lift options in the LA area:

1. Your Dream Garage (DIY Autoshop) Links To Yelp

Much more direct pricing / easy to find out online.

Link to Downloadable Tool List.PDF


Anyone like me and want to see more of these in the Bay Area?

Imagine a shop with 5 lifts, good company, hot coffee and tools galore.

Friends to hang out with and wrench.

No more this: 

Me doing a transmission swap on the ground, 2015. Took two of us to muscle the transmission out, laying on our backs. In the mud!

More this:

This photo raises many suspicions in my eyes. 1. The guy has a shirt on without a drop of oil or smudge. 2. His hands are perfectly clean 3. The customer still has her keys, but the car is on the lift? 4. The car looks way too clean to have a problem. 5. Where was this photo taken? An abandoned school?! lol, all jokes aside. Having a car on a lift is amazing.

A stereo blasting tunes, for all the old technicians to get mad and yell “turn it down!”

I think it would be a magical place.

So clean. And Organized. Mmmmmm

I want to open a DIY auto repair shop in Santa Cruz:

I am definitely interested in talking to anyone that owns an Automotive repair shop in the Bay Area that is going up for lease soon.

While this business model isn’t awesome for making buckets of money, it sure as heck meets a need people want. I would be excited to be a part of one opening.

I envision classes for high school students and anyone else interested in learning more about becoming an automotive technician to attend. Invite speakers or technicians from different areas, and offer a monthly meet up class (say soldering for beginners.) Or a welding class, so on and so forth.

How about a volunteer program where if you help clean up the shop, advertise, and just do tasks around the shop you get to trade for time on the lift. Convincing tool vendors to donate or sell cheaply their used tools that were used as samples or last years tools. Have a donation program set up to accept and fix up old Chainsaws, Mowers, etc., for donations to charity or high school events.

Also, have a full setup Automotive technician on staff to jump in on repairs where people get stuck, and a dedicated bay to only full rate Automotive repair. If people like the shop, and want to support the movement, but don’t care to work on their car they can use us for full Automotive repair (charged at 130 an hour).

I see a lot of potential with this, and hopefully, someone out there wants to see my dream become a reality. With the right space, people, and marketing– I bet it could be a profitable business. If you would like to invest, have a commercial lease opening up, or just want to be kept in contact shoot me a message–

Contact Me Here


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