For do-it-yourself car mechanics, crawling under a car is a familiar task, but it is not without some risk. Car jacks can fail or slip, sending the car down on the person working underneath. Homemade car ramps offer a safer alternative to jacks because the vehicle's tires sit directly on the ramps, which sit on the ground, but still raise the vehicle enough to provide clearance to work.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 2 Wooden boards, 2 by 12
- Tape measure
- 12-inch square (minimum)
- Saw (table or circular)
- 1 bottle of wood glue
- 1 box of No. 8 3-inch Phillips-head screws
- Phillips-head screwdriver bit
- 3/8-inch drill bit with countersink
- Wood sealer (optional)
- Brush (to apply wood sealer)
Measure and cut two lengths of board to 51 inches and two lengths of board to 27 inches.
Cut one edge of each board to a 45-degree angle. Cut the angle on the width edge of the board (the 12 inches) not the length edge.
Place one 51-inch board flat on the ground. Apply a generous amount of glue to the 12-inch, faceup surface of the board.
Place a 27-inch board on top of the 51-inch board. Arrange the boards so their edges are aligned by width and on the square edge (the nontapered, 45-degree angle edge).
Drill and countersink pilot holes around the outer edge in the face of the top board about 1/2 inch from edge and spaced about 5 inches apart. Insert a No. 8 Phillips-head screw into the pilot hole, and drive the screw in to join the upper and lower boards together.
Repeat steps 1 through 5 with the two remaining boards. Allow the glue to dry overnight before using the ramp.
Tips and warnings
- Use pressure-treated wood and consider applying a wood sealer to the ramps to prevent engine fluids from damaging the wood.
- To use the ramps, place each one with the angled edge against the tread (width) of the front tires. Drive up the ramp slowly, keeping the vehicle's steering wheel straight until the tires are centred on the ramp. Engage the parking brake once the vehicle is in park.
- To work on the rear of the vehicle, place the ramps against the rear wheels (angled edge against the tread and back up slowly, keeping the vehicle's steering wheel straight until the tires are centred on the ramp. Engage the vehicle's parking brake after putting the car in park.
- Always engage the emergency brake when you have the car up on the ramps.
- Place a chock behind each rear wheel of the vehicle (or each front wheel if the vehicle's rear is raised) to keep the car from rolling. Use a brick or a piece of 2x4 laid across the width of the tire.
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