How to Use Car Ramps

Ramp it up!

When it comes to working on your car, at some point you will need to raise it off the ground so you can creep underneath and address the problem.

One way to do that is using the good ole jack, but the problem with jacks is that they can easily result to serious injury or even death when not used properly. Plus, they can be a pain to use in the first place what with the whole rigmarole of getting the jack under the car first, then positioning it, followed by the lifting, and then swapping it for an axle stand in order to repeat the process on the other side. Ugh! If you’re not used to it or not sure how to use it safely, there is another option to lift your car: car ramps.

Car ramps are not 100% safe either, but overall, they are a safer alternative to jacks if used properly, not to mention easier and faster. And if your car is the type that sits low on the ground, it’s not easy to locate the jack points making this the most ideal option to lift it up.

This handy guide on how to use car ramps is for anyone looking for a hassle-free way to lift their car while ensuring you stay safe while you are at it. The assumption is that you have done your due diligence to ensure the ramp is safe: it should be rated for your car weight, it should have rubber stops to prevent it from sliding, and it should not exhibit signs of damage such as cracks.

Depending on the task, you will either need one or two ramps. Let’s go with two. Ready? Okay then!

Place the Ramps against the Wheel

red car wheel

Slide the ramps up against the tires – either front or rear wheels, again, depending on the task. There are two ways to go about this. You can either position the ramp on the front of the tire such that you will need to drive the car forward to lift it. Or second, you can place it at the back of the tire in such a way as you will need to reverse the car in order to drive it up the ramp.

Either way, position the lower slope of the ramp against the tire such that the two are perfectly aligned, making sure the ramp touches the tire rubber. The ramp should be centered as straight as possible with the tire, ensuring the steering wheel is pointing straight.

Drive up the Car

guy driving watch

Next, drive the car forwards or reverse it on the ramp, careful not to apply too much throttle, although you might need to give it some gas at first before it starts creeping up. The idea is to center the wheels smack in the middle of the ramp as opposed to either end to cut the risk of the car sliding.

If you have someone on hand, they could guide you on when to stop. Otherwise, you will need to get out and keep checking yourself – which is okay. Just make sure to reposition the ramps before trying again. While driving the car up the ramp, do so carefully and steadily, and ideally, in one go. The problem with being too tentative is you risk burning the clutch, not to mention the ramps may keep sliding.

Engage the Parking Brake

gear shift manual car

Once the car is centered, time to engage the emergency brake by placing the transmission into Park to make sure it does not roll back down the ramp. If your car uses manual transmission, in addition to engaging the handbrake, put it into first gear if you drove forward onto the ramp – just as you would when parking facing uphill. If you got up the ramp by reversing the car, engage the reverse gear, just as you would when parking facing downhill.

Place Wheel Chocks on the other Wheels

wheel chock

For extra safety, you may want to place wheel chocks on the wheels still touching the ground, either the front or rear depending on which side of the car is suspended. Place the wheel chocks on the front and rear of the wheels in contact with the ground to keep the vehicle from rolling in either direction. This is an optional safety measure, and if it makes you feel more at ease, go right ahead and invest in some wheel chocks if you don’t have some at hand.

And just like that, lifting your car with car ramps doesn’t have to be a big deal anymore!

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