Best Car Ramps Buying Guide & FAQ
Things To Consider When Buying Car Ramps
When you have a decent set of car ramps, draining your car radiator or changing the oil can be a lot easier than without. However, it is not nearly as simple as just picking the first one you come to that fits your budget. There are some important considerations to make before you buy a car ramp. To help you have an idea of what to look for. We will highlight three of the most important aspects to think about.
Maximum Weight for Car Ramps
When purchasing the best car ramps for use with your truck or car. You need to know your vehicle’s curb weight (that is, its weight without cargo or passengers). Rather than buying a car ramp that is just compatible with this weight. You need to find one that handles weights HIGHER than your vehicle’s curb weight. In fact, aim for one that can carry as much weight as possible, within your budget. For the majority of trucks and cars, 6,500 to 10,000lbs is sufficient enough and these will set you back between $25 to $100.
Always Purchase Car Ramps Manufactured In The USA
You should always buy car ramps that are made here in America. Despite there being a small number of reliable imported models available, American-made ramps are safe and reliable. It makes sense that this is so important because you will be spending time underneath your car as it helps up by the ramp you choose. American-made means higher quality inspection and more thorough processes. If you really have to get imported, make sure it is from Europe and not Taiwan or China.
When To Choose A Low Profile Car Ramp
If you own a vehicle that has a low profile or doesn’t have ground clearance, choose a car ramp designed for low profiles. These ramps are made with more gradual and longer inclines that enable low profile vehicles such as sports cars. To roll onto the ramps without touching the undercarriage or causing damage to it.
How To Use Car Ramps Properly
As we have discussed, car ramps are a much easier and more stable alternative to steel jacks. That is, if you use them correctly, and more importantly, safely. It takes a little practice to drive up onto them. But as long as you place them on a smooth surface, but when you do do your car will be secure.
Below we have put together a step by step guide to using car ramps properly to help you out if you are new to them.
Parking In Starting Position
Park your car on a smooth and sturdy, non-slip surface and ensure that the wheels are facing forwards.
Take one ramp and position it with its lower slope facing so it is centered perfectly with the tire. Check along the side of your car or vehicle to make sure the ramp is as straightly aligned with the tire as possible. Repeat the same process with the second ramp on the other wheel.
Carefully Drive Up On The Ramp’s Center
Now, sit in your car and carefully drive forwards and up onto the ramp. Step out of your vehicle and make sure the front wheels are on the center of the ramps and on the flat area of the ramp. If, for whatever reason, they aren’t – you will need to reverse and drive back up again.
Use The Parking Brake
Once the car is sitting in the center of the ramp. Use your parking brake to keep your vehicle from rolling back off the ramp. Get out of the car and gently rock it to check it is secure and stable.
Place Two Wheel Chocks
Place two wheel chocks and place one in front of one of the back wheels. Put the other one behind it. this is an extra bit of safety to ensure that the car doesn’t roll off in any direction.
Now you are ready to work on the underside of your car safely with your car ramps.
Car Ramp Safety Tips
Although these have been touched upon at other points in this post. It is worth reiterating some of the more important safety tips for using car ramps.
- Work on a smooth and level surface that is not slippery or wet
- Only use a car ramp with a higher weight capacity than your car’s curb weight
- Although many car ramps are designed to work on their own, it is a good and safe working practice to use jack stands in addition to car ramps. This is regardless of whether you are changing oil or changing tires (which you definitely would need them for anyway)
- Use wheel chocks as an additional safety measure
- Ensure that your car is sitting in the center of the ramps before working on it
Q: What tasks can you use car ramps for?
A: While some car owners prefer to use axle stands and jack when it comes to lifting or raising their vehicles off the ground, nothing can come close to the ease of use and the relative safety of a well-built car ramp. There are a variety of tasks which you can use a car ramp for.
Technically, if you need to work underneath your car, you’d have a much better chance of carrying out your task if both wheels, either up front or the rear, are raised on the same level. The issue with using jacks or axle stands is that you might not place them in the correct jacking points in your car’s underside. This can lead to serious damage in the vehicle’s undercarriage.
Depending on the lift height of your car ramp you can easily gain a much wider perspective of what is going on underneath your car. This way, you can make more comprehensive and more accurate assessments of your vehicle’s problems. A clearer picture of what’s going on can help you determine the right course of action to take.
Implementing these corrective actions can also be made a lot easier by the use of car ramps as you’ll have more room to work with. The extra space you get underneath your car allows you to have a certain freedom of movement that you simply won’t get with an ordinary jack or axle stand.
Car ramps are also exceptionally useful for folks with cars with low ground clearance. Or those with low-riding cars that would seem as if the car’s underside is already scraping the pavement. However, not all car ramps can do a good job of raising the underside of such cars as everything depends on the approach angle or the steepness of the incline. Normally, the longer the ramp, the gentler is the slope. This allows low-riding vehicles to easily maneuver into place without danger of scraping any of their undersides.
Additionally, low-riding vehicles will have a very minimal ground clearance that placing a traditional jack can be especially challenging. Driving the wheels up a gently-rolling ramp should help increase the distance between the vehicle’s underside and the ground. Enabling you to safely put your jack at the precise points under your car. You don’t have to strain yourself looking for the precise points with which to place your jack as there’s plenty of room to maneuver it in.
If you’re the kind of vehicle owner who likes to change his engine’s oil himself rather than getting it to the service center, then you’ll also need a car ramp. The oil drain is definitely located underneath your car. You can put jacks on both of your front axles, but these don’t guarantee a very stable support. A pair of car ramps should raise the front of your car considerably that you can easily access the drain plug.
The same is true if you have to work at the rear of your car. Raising both rear wheels is made a lot simpler and safer with the use of car ramps than individually jacking each rear axle and then propping it with an axle stand.
Q: What length of ramp do I need?
A: This is quite tricky as it can actually depend on a host of factors. For instance, the size of your garage should always be taken into consideration. Getting a longer car ramp is ideal, but if you cannot effectively place this inside your garage without retaking some space outside. Then you’ll be left with a project where the car ramp will be extending well beyond your garage door.
The ground clearance of how low your vehicle is relative to the ground surface has to be considered as well. If it is too low, then you will need a car ramp which has a gentler or smaller angle of approach. The lower the angle of approach, the longer the ramp should be. If your car has high ground clearance, then the length of the ramp is quite dependent on the height of the ramp. Ideally, the ramp should be at an incline of anywhere between 6 and 15 degrees. Although there are those with steeper approach angles.
When it comes to the grade, the maximum should be 20%. That being said, if your car ramp has a maximum height of 5 inches, then the length of your car ramp should be at least 25 inches. Now, if you have a 5-inch high ramp with a length of 40 inches, then you’re looking at a 12.5% grade.
Q: Which brand makes the best car ramps?
A: RhinoGear is consistently cited in many car ramp reviews as being the best when it comes to car ramps. They provide exceptionally sturdy contraptions at very affordable prices. There are quite a handful of technological innovations integrated into each product, too. The best part is that the brand’s car ramps are designed to accommodate a wider range of vehicles without necessarily passing the economic burden to their customers.
Race Ramps is also an excellent manufacturer of car ramps, except that they typically come with heftier price tags. These two brands are always featured in many car ramp reviews, often times going neck and neck.
Q: How long do they last?
A: Depending on the material used in its construction as well as your ability to keep it in tip-top shape, car ramps can actually last a lifetime. Car ramps made of high-impact plastics offer exceptional durability. Metal ramps are also very sturdy and reliably durable especially when protected against the elements. Unfortunately, exposure to the elements can surely degrade their overall integrity. There are also wooden car ramps. While these are eco-friendly alternatives, they’re not really that durable especially when exposed to moisture. Again, the bottom line here is that the material used in the car ramp’s construction determines whether it will last a lifetime or just a few years.
Our Top Pick
There are quite a number of worthy contenders for the top spot in this list of the best car ramps. However, when everything is all said and done, only one name came out on top – the RhinoGear RhinoRamps.
True to its namesake, the Rhino, the RhinoRamps’ main draw is its internal support system that affords you that peace of mind when driving your car up its 17-degree incline. This is made even more secure by its wider track. Giving room for some minor corrections in your tire’s overall direction and movement. The CoreTRAC base also makes sure the RhinoRamps won’t be charging anywhere else as you inch your car up its platform. It’s robust and compact design is perfect for larger vehicles such as SUVs, vans, trucks, pickups, and large sedans. If the RhinoRamps can easily handle these vehicles, you can imagine how it manages compacts and miniatures.
So, there you have it, you now know what we think are the best car ramps out there and have a better idea of what you are looking for. How they work and important safety tips when using them. We hope this information can help you find the best car ramp for you. Remember, not all car ramps are made equal. Just as cars are all individual depending on their make, model and weight – so too are car ramps.
Don’t cut corners or think that just because a less expensive car ramp looks or feels like it might be suitable. That it actually will be. The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been apter when it comes to car ramps. So be aware and always make the most educated choice you can.