How to use car ramps

Written by kurt schanaman
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How to use car ramps
Car ramps enable you to work underneath a car. (delta_art/iStock/Getty Images)

Car ramps are an excellent method of raising the end of a car for easy access to the undercarriage of the vehicle, removing the need to buy more expensive hydraulic-powered floor jacks. When you are using your car ramps, care must be taken to prevent injuring yourself and others, should the structural integrity of the ramps experience a design flaw.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 pair of car ramps, rated to gross weight of your vehicle
  • 1 pair of jack stands, rated to gross weight of your vehicle
  • 1 pair of wheel chocks

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    Getting onto the ramps

  1. 1

    Announce to anyone within 6 m (20 feet) of the car that you are going to drive it onto the ramps, and that they should remain a safe distance away until the engine has been turned off.

  2. 2

    Position the wheel ramps so there is one in front of each tyre, if raising the front-end of the vehicle, or one behind each of the tyres if raising the rear of the vehicle. Push the edges of the ramps firmly under each tyre, checking that they are aligned straight in front of, or behind, the vehicle.

  3. 3

    Get in the car and put it into the lowest possible gear and allow the vehicle to begin rolling up the ramps. Only provide enough pressure on the accelerator to get the car up the graded surface and onto the level ramp tops, keeping your other foot on the brake to safely stop the vehicle if needed.

  4. 4

    Press the brake pedal immediately when you feel the car reaching the level tops of the ramps. The resistance against the forward motion will cease and the car will begin moving faster. Using the brakes, allow the car to pull forward slowly until it stops when coming to rest on the ramp stops. Set the hand brake, turn the ignition off and remove the keys from the ignition.

  5. 5

    Exit the vehicle and place wheel chocks under the tires on the opposite end of the car to prevent it from rolling while on the ramps. Press the chocks firmly against the tyres, leaving no space between.

  6. 6

    Place two jack stands under the raised end of the vehicle and adjust the heights of the adjustable support legs until the support brackets on the tops of the legs come to rest firmly against the axle of the vehicle. Make sure the jack stands you use are rated to your car's gross vehicle weight, at a minimum, or that they exceed your car's weight, which is preferable.

    Getting off the ramps

  1. 1

    Announce you are driving the car off of the ramps. Remove the jack stands from under the car and move the wheel chocks off to the side.

  2. 2

    Start the vehicle, hold the brake pedal, release the hand brake and put it into the lowest gear possible (reverse if backing up). Release the brake pedal slowly and use it to control the vehicle's rate of descent off the car ramps.

  3. 3

    Use the vehicle's mirrors, if backing down the ramps, cautiously watching for any pedestrians who may be approaching the rear of the vehicle and stop the vehicle's descent if necessary to prevent injury or death.

Tips and warnings

  • Some car ramps have been known to have structural design flaws. Never allow yourself, or others, to crawl under a vehicle supported by car ramps alone. Always use properly rated jack stands as a second line of support when working under the vehicle.
  • Car brakes can fail in holding a vehicle in place. Always use wheel chocks on the other end of your vehicle to prevent it from rolling in the event of failure.

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