Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why choose this hoist over a cart or dolly?

A: We used a cart for a year or so, so we have some knowledge of the advantages of the hoist.

~Save on garage space, since the hoist lifts your top out of the way.
~Carts leave your top exposed to dings and scratches since the top is at ground level.
~Makes mounting and removal a one-person job.
~No tricky maneuvering of the top over the trunk of your car to get it mounted or removed.  One slip results in serious damage.
Q: Why choose this hoist over your competitors' products?

A: Several reasons to choose our hoist:

-Cost. In the majority of cases, our hoist is priced lower.
-Ease of use. This hoist was designed as a result of frustration with other designs.  There is no bothersome strap that needs to be worked out from under the top after lowering it, or threaded back under prior to raising it.  Our design uses two rear hooks that easily slip in place.
-Hardtop protection. Unlike some other hoists on the market, ours uses a padded bar under the roof-line.  Some competitors use only straps, which can scuff your paint if in contact with it.
Q: Can the hardtop be suspended indefinitely, for example, over the summer months?

A: Yes. I've thoroughly tested it myself, and have had our hardtops suspended for six months at a time with no ill effects.  Many of our customers have also left their tops suspended to long periods of time, and we've not heard of any problems in doing so.
Q: Can the hardtop be suspended with its storage bag to keep it dust-free?

A: Yes, as the following image will indicate.  I will say though, that it is a bit of a hassle lowering the top and getting the bag off the hardtop, unless you lower it all the way to the floor.  I personally don't use a storage bag--dusting off the top is easier.
Q: Will you ship your product internationally?

A: No.  We were in discussions with a gentleman from Japan who asked about shipping charges.  In our exploration of the issue, we discovered shipping alone came to $160 (and that was just for the manual version).  In addition, we would have needed several documents filled out and attached to the shipping box just to get it through customs.  Due to these obstacles, we've decided to limit shipping to the lower 48 United States.
Q: Can I park my car or SUV in the garage with the top suspended?

A. Yes, in most cases. The following image shows a Ford Explorer parked under the top.  This is with a 9' high ceiling.  The bar that supports your top's roofline will be about 29" from the ceiling's mount point for the rope hoist, and 32" from the ceiling for the electric hoist (see images below).  The winch version will lift the top 4" higher than the rope version. Of course, if your ceiling beam is further to the rear of the garage, you have more space over the hood area of the vehicle.
Q: Will my garage ceiling be the proper height to use a hoist easily?

A:  Ideally, your garage ceiling should be between 8 and 14 feet for the manual hoist and between 8 and 20 feet for the electric hoist.  Any lower and you'll have to pull your car forward to raise your soft-top after hardtop removal.  Garage ceilings under 7' 4" won't be compatible with our system.  In the case of the electric hoist, 10 feet or higher will require the wireless controller since the standard motor doesn't come with a long enough cord.  

In most cases we take care of the modifications ahead of shipping out the product. In some cases we let you know about the modifications that you might need to do depending upon your particular situation.  For electric hoist preparation for ceilings higher than 10 feet we substitute a motor with a wireless control.  There is a $40 extra charge for that motor, and we'll ask for your okay before charging you.
Q: How much ceiling space do I need behind my garage door opener to make this work?

A: If you have at least 7 feet of space from the opener to the rear wall, you likely have enough room.  Even if your car has a longer trunk and requires backing up further into the garage you should be fine.  You may find that you need to reposition some items away from the back wall to give yourself more space in some cases.  Keep in mind that if you need to mount the hoist further to the rear of the garage due to location of ceiling beams, this effectively decreases the garage depth available to you.
Q: I have a vintage hardtop.  Does Top-Hoist make a lift for my top?

A: We don't actively market to owners of vintage tops.  We have provided hoists to owners who've contacted us ahead of time and provided images of their hardtops.  We need to ensure our rear hooks are compatible with the rear edge of the top--in particular with regard to weatherstripping and edge thicknesses.  Let us know what you've got and provide images of the rear area so we can verify compatibility. 
Q: Should I choose the rope, winch, or electric version?

A: The only reason to choose the manual over the others is due to cost.  The electric version has several advantages over the manual that I'll mention here. Although the rope hoist uses a compound pulley that dramatically reduces the effort in raising the top, you still need a certain degree of strength.  If you're arthritic, don't have good grip strength, or simply want an effortless system, then the electric version is the best choice.  

Additionally, the manual version has no brake, and requires you to hold the rope until you've wrapped the rope around the wall cleat several times--there is the potential for the rope to slip from your hand if you're not careful.  The winch version and the electric version have a brake.  As soon as you release the rocker switch or stop cranking the winch, the raising or lowering is stopped at that point.  There is also an automatic shutoff feature when maximum height is reached on the electric hoist.
Q: Will the padded bar harm my top's weatherstripping?

A: There is a slight impression in the area where the bar supports the hardtop.  This is a temporary effect and has not harmed my two hardtops in any negative way, even after months at a time suspended.  We also haven't had any comments or complaints related to this from other customers.  In reality, the padding on the bar is more to protect the cabin as the bar gets passed through and reattached, than to protect the weatherstripping.
Q: Why don't you have a phone number on your website?

A: This is answered on our Policies page, but the short answer is this:  We utilize email as our primary means of communication because of its efficiency. The nature of this business often includes questions on the part of the customer, and getting calls at various times of the day interrupts our work and is often redundant with questions that are answered here and on our Policies page. Also, with email there's the ability to include images that make things more understandable.
Q: Why are your shipping charges so high?

A: Yes, they are higher than we like.  For the last 8 years we hadn't raised them, and we weren't making any of our profit off the shipping fees.  In the last year following the pandemic, shipping charges have risen by a lot.  We had no choice but to raise them.  We're still not making profit off the shipping, but we're trying to keep pace with our costs.  We're shipping a long 62" cardboard box for the rope hoist, a 72" box for the winch hoist, and two separate boxes (62" and 16") for the electric hoist.  Also, we're a small shop and we don't have the buying power of other large retailers.