One of the main reasons I bought my house is because it has a large double garage. For me, a garage is a key feature of any property. Room sizes, I don’t care too much about. But the garage, that’s another story.
Of course, no garage is ever big enough (the fifth law of thermodynamics, or it should be), and soon enough you find that even a generously proportioned double would be so much better if it was a triple.
My situation is that I have a twin-door double garage, and three cars that I store over winter. If I had one big door, things would be easier, but the post down the middle makes it near impossible to maneuver three vehicles into it.
What you want to do, of course, is move the middle car sideways so you can get the third one in, which is easier said than done. You can only get so far by cranking the steering wheel this way and that while creeping forward and backward ad infinitum. What you need, my friend, are a set of Wheel Dollies.
No, these aren’t girls; these are more like roller skates for your car — one for each wheel.
You’ve probably seen them in enthusiast magazines or on websites, and if you search for reviews online, you’ll get the full spectrum of opinions, many of which are less than flattering (some models apparently collapse immediately under the weight of the car). But I needed to shift a car, and Canadian Tire sells MotoMaster Wheel Dollies for $79.99 a pair (part number 09-0099-8).
Of course, you’ll need four, so you’re up to $159.98 plus tax. That’s what I bought myself last Christmas. Wheel dollies.
Each pair of these beauties is rated to support 2,500 pounds (1,136 kilograms), so theoretically, you’re good for supporting a 5,000 pound (2,272 kg) vehicle. My recently acquired 1969 Ford Cortina GT weighs in at a svelte 2,001 pounds (908 kg), so I was well below the maximum.
Some assembly is first required, however. The four wheels are heavily constructed and sit on nylon bearings. Washers and locknuts secure them to each metal platform, and the assembly task is awkward to accomplish due to the weight of the steel platforms and the wobbly wheels. DO NOT do this anywhere near a wooden dining room floor as you will put a LARGE DENT in it after swiftly moving your foot to avoid a dropped wheel dollie (should such an unlikely thing happen to you…).
In the garage with the assembled dollies, I proceeded as follows:
With one vehicle flush with one side wall, I backed the Cortina in, set the parking brake, blocked the rear wheels and jacked up the front of the car using a trolley jack. My little Michelin trolley jack was extended to its maximum height to get the car high enough to place the Wheel Dollies under the wheels, suggesting that a larger jack (with a longer handle) would be in order next Christmas.
The rear had to go up one side at a time, using spring shackle mounting points as again, my trolley jack was wanting.
As with the front, the jack was extended to its absolute maximum before I could shove the wheel dollies under each rear tire. Once in place, all looked normal, although the Cortina now gave the impression of being an Outback version.
I had taken the precaution of positioning each dollie’s four wheels so that they pointed in the direction I wanted to push the car. This is something several online posts suggested, because if they’re facing forward rather than sideways, it could be difficult to move the car while getting the wheels oriented correctly. Made sense.
In any event, the 16 little wheels were roughly pointing in the right direction, so I gave the car a gentle shove to see what kind of resistance there would be. None, it turned out. The car glided happily and mostly obediently across the somewhat rough surface of my garage floor.
In fact, put your shoulder into this action and you’d easily push the car into the one beside it, so caution and restraint is in order.
The whole operation has been entirely satisfactory. The Wheel Dollies worked well and my problem is solved. Would that I had more cars that needed shifting, and an even bigger garage as this is a rather expensive solution to move only one. The Motomaster Wheel Dollies look like they’re built to withstand WW3, so I expect them to get more use, if that’s any consolation.
Furthermore, I’m told they go on sale occasionally, which would have been nice. Not at Christmas-time, apparently.
Motomaster Wheel Dollies (pair): $79.99
Part number: 09-0099-8