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Serious DIY’ers will have a tough decision between two-post and four-post lifts, while the enthusiast who just wants to capitalize on space will find the four-post to be the best option.

The Globe and Mail

It may come as a surprise to some readers, but I am a car guy without a home garage.

Fortunately for me, my home to work commute is minimal, meaning there’s often no need for a home workshop anyway, as it would most likely just be inferior to the real thing located only minutes away. My only real problem is that I don’t have anywhere to put my hobby car. My solution is the same as what many other car enthusiast homeowners are considering – a car storage lift. And what better place to install one than at my workplace?

From a mechanic’s perspective, here’s what you need to know should you find yourself in the market for a car lift. Essentially, there are two popular choices: two-post and four-post lifts.

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Two-post: The vehicle is lifted from the chassis with wheels dangling, offering easy suspension and brake servicing. Lifting from the chassis also benefits homeowners who have lower ceilings, as the roofline will not be quite as high. Most two-post lifts are designed for the commercial environment and therefore come equipped with a 220-volt motor that will require an electrician to get it up and running. These hoists are almost always stationary and are fastened to the concrete garage floor with the use of heavy-duty lag bolts. A entry-level two-post lift will typically be slightly cheaper than a four-post.

Four-post: This is a drive-on lift, with the vehicle being lifted as it would sit normally on the ground. This means the complete ramp system raises and lowers. Whatever is sitting on those ramps, whether it be your boat trailer or camper trailer is lifted without the worry of having to find vehicle lifting points or the wheels dangling. Most dedicated 4-post storage lifts come equipped with a standard 110v motor so it will operate easily with any standard 15-amp household circuit. This style of lift will however require greater ceiling clearance and takes up a generous amount more floor space. One notable benefit is that most of these lifts are self-supporting, so fastening or bolting to the floor is not necessary. They even come with a wheel caster system allowing the complete hoist to be moved to a new location whenever you see fit. If there are no future plans to relocate the lift it can also be fastened to the floor for extra stability. Added features include adjustable drips trays that keep leaky engines or brake lines from damaging the vehicle below and a solid steel lifting tray that can be positioned so that a small hydraulic jack can be utilized for minor car servicing. Newer models have a ladder style safety locking system which allows the ramp or main carriage to be placed on its safety locks at any height, whereas older storage lifts only had one safety lock positioned at the very topmost point. This is important if height is a concern.

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Serious DIY’ers will have a tough decision between two and four posts, while the enthusiast who just wants to capitalize on space will find the four-post to be the best option.

In Canada, commercial automotive businesses require a yearly inspection of all their lifts from an Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) certified inspector. ALI also has an approved manufacturer list at autolift.org and will provide a certification sticker, that is to be affixed to the lift for those manufacturers that have met their rigorous standards. While you as a homeowner may not require an ALI certified lift, my personal opinion is that the additional cost is well worth it.


Hi Lou,

I have a 2008 Rav4 V6. It’s got 240,000 km on it. My dealer says that the muffler has a small hole in it (dime size). I have 3 options: replace the entire exhaust system with Toyota parts; go to a local muffler shop and replace the muffler with an aftermarket muffler; or do nothing and hope the hole doesn’t get too much larger. What do you think?

David Y.

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Ottawa

Firstly, a dime-sized hole is not what I would necessarily consider to be small. I suspect it is not a pressing issue for you because it is located well back in the exhaust system. If that same sized hole were located closer to the engine, your car would sound like a teenager’s straight-piped Honda Civic and you would be getting it repaired immediately. And trust me – it will get louder.

In my opinion you only have two options: a dealer repair or an aftermarket replacement exhaust. The dealer is suggesting that the entire system be replaced, which leads me to believe that the complete exhaust system is corroded and nearing the end of its serviceable life. Given the age and mileage of the vehicle, I would imagine that the most cost-effective solution is the muffler shop. If the car were newer, I might suggest dealer parts as they sound better and tend to last longer, but in your case, keeping it cheap wins. Time to go exhaust shopping David.


Hi Lou,

This summer I had to repair the clutch on my 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT after driving less than 84000km. I recently discovered that my mechanic made the exact same repair on another 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT with around 90000km. After owning many Mazda vehicles over the years (all with manual transmissions) and after doing a considerable amount of research I feel that the clutch should have lasted much longer and I am concerned that Hyundai may have used a poor quality part in their assembly of this specific model of car in this model year. In your opinion, is it reasonable to have to repair the clutch of a 5.5 year old vehicle that has been driven less than 84000km?

Thank you very much,

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Darren F

Clutches need to be replaced for two popular reasons: Either the friction material has worn out or one of the springs in the friction clutch disc has failed. Given the mileage on the vehicle and the fact that you are an experienced manual transmission driver, I am going to assume that the problem was the latter.

A clutch disc is a dual-sided metal plate with friction material on both sides that is sandwiched between the engine flywheel and clutch pressure plate. It is the main component that wears and gets thinner as it ages. Manufactured within this clutch disc are four small springs that are designed to absorb the shock when the driver accidentally disengages the clutch too quickly. I suspect one of these springs may have broken and popped out of its retainer. When this spring pops out, the clutch fails to operate and needs to be replaced.

If I may be so bold, it seems like everything in the world is of poorer quality and this problem affects all manufacturers. Therefore, I don’t believe yours is a problem specific to Hyundai vehicles.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

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