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Comparison of residential automobile turntables. 

May 3, 2009.  Matthew Clark  


I decided to write this article after shopping for an automobile turntable myself.  I found there was a lot of variety available, and the function and price differences were substantial between different models I considered.  In some cases, different models are more suitable to different applications.  Which one did I choose?  Well, if you want you can jump to the end, but first let's look at the features and mechanical differences you are likely to encounter.  

An automobile turntable has three parts that are pretty much mandatory, and are present in all models.  These are

  • the turntable surface

  • the turntable weight support system

  • the drive mechanism

Many units have other options and features, including perimeter lights, different surface treatments, and even pumps and float switches for the pit type in wet areas.  Almost all units come with a remote control similar to a garage door opener.  

The turntable surface is usually comprised of 8 to 10 pie shaped wedges.  They may or may not interlock, and may be made of a variety of materials, usually aluminum or steel. .  Higher-end units may have stainless steel turntables so they won't rust, or even polished mirror finish designed for show cars. In some instances, the turntable is a layered composite of different materials. Turntables also come in different sizes, which will be important when ensuring you have chosen one that will fit your vehicles.   Lower end units may be rolled steel, possibly powder-coated or even just spray painted. Beware of rust if using low-end units outside!

The support system is very important, as any one section may hold a quarter of the weight of the vehicle at virtually any point on its surface.  At the pointed end the turntable sections usually attach to a hub which may or may not be a weight support,  and the outer end of each pie section is usually on wheels.  Better units have more wheels, or high quality rollers to evenly distribute the weight.  

The drive mechanism is another element that is very important, but varies widely between different units. Drive units may be manual (no drive, car is pushed by hand), gear driven, hydraulic, or friction wheel.  Power supply may be plug-in, 12 V, or 220 V.  Larger units may demand three-phase electricity. Seeing as this thing is out in the yard in the rain, my preference is to have as little power to it as possible.  I preferred the low-voltage units, simply from the safety and conservation standpoint. Also, if it is low voltage or plugs in to a standard output, then you don't need a building permit to install it.  

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Car Turner automobile turntable

CarTurner of Canada



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