Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Car ramps or jack stands

Car ramps or jack stands—best choice

You want to do your own car maintenance and repairs, but you’ve got to get access to the underside of your car or truck. The choice is one between car ramps or jack stands and a floor jack. Which is better? Well, there are pros can cons to each.

Car ramps — Pros

• Much easier and faster to set up. Just line up car rampswith your tires and drive onto the ramps. You’ll be ready to start working in just minutes.
• Less expensive than jack stands and a floor jack.
• Easier to store. Hand them on the wall so they don’t take up floor space.

Car ramps — Cons

• They slide as you’re driving up on them, especially if you’re working on concrete or gravel. You may have to cut blocking lumber to prevent them from moving as you climb the ramp.
• You can overshoot the ramp if you climb too quickly. Then you’ll need a floor jack to get your vehicle down.
• They may not get your vehicle high enough off the ground to do some repairs like removing a large component like bottom-removal radiators or transmissions.
• You can’t work on tires, brakes, drive axle, shocks/struts, wheel bearings or any other suspension components because the tires are supporting the vehicle.
• The vehicle must be drivable. In other words, If you have a bad starter that must be replaced from below, and you can’t start the vehicle to move it onto the ramps, you’re screwed.
• They limit access to the mid-section of the vehicle. Once your vehicle is on the ramp, the ramp itself extends about halfway down each side of the vehicle, eliminating side access. You must crawl under the vehicle from the front. Also, once you’re under the vehicle, you have limited side-to-side access. Jack stands, on the other hand, to support the vehicle from behind the wheel. So you have more side-to-side clearance.

Jack stands and floor jack

A high-quality floor jack and jack stands offer you the jack standsmost flexibility to maintain and repair your car or truck. You’ll spend more on high-quality units and I advise you to stand away from the cheaper products. You won’t be happy with them.

Jack stands and floor jack — Pros

• If you get the right jack, you can raise the vehicle higher than you can with ramps
• Allows you to work on wheels, brakes, and suspension components.
• Allows you to work on your vehicle without moving it.

Jack stands and floor jack — Cons

• Costs far more than a set of ramps
• Takes much longer to set up
• Takes up storage floor space in your garage
• Limits you to support the vehicle on factory lift points. If yours are rusted or damaged, that’s going to be a big problem.
• Must be used on a concrete surface or on asphalt with ¾” thick plywood pads under the jack stands and the jack to prevent sinking into the asphalt on hot days. Can’t be used on dirt or gravel

©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat



Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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