Auto Ramp How-To and Safety

Ramping up to under-car fun

When it's time to change the oil or flush the radiator in your car the usual drill is to bust out the big old heavy jack and jack stands and do the whole pump it up, balance it out, and lower it back down onto the jackstands procedure. For serious automotive monkey wrenching tasks such as brake, suspension, or drivetrain work, a jack and jackstands (or even an overhead hydraulic rack) is the only way to go.

For less demanding stuff-like changing the oil or other regular under car lubrication and fluid draining chores-it almost seems like overkill to go through the whole lugging of the jack and putting the car on the stands ritual. Thanks to the modern miracle of injection-molded plastics, a quality set of drive-on ramps may be the answer to your problems. Drive-on ramps are lightweight and easy to use and store, which makes them perfect for routine tasks like changing the oil or greasing up the suspension.

Level Headed

In the same way that common sense rules should always be followed anytime you intend to crawl under 2000 plus pounds of anything suspended off the ground, so it goes for placing vehicles up on ramps. Start with level ground that will evenly support the weight of the vehicle on the ramps. Tire width is a consideration before ramp use. Do not use ramps if the tires on the vehicle are wider than the ramps.

When driving up onto the ramps, smooth is the operative word. Don't gun the throttle, pop the clutch, or stab at the brakes. It also helps to have a pal around to guide you up onto the ramps. Make sure the vehicle in question does not exceed the rated capacity of the ramps.

Once the vehicle is on the ramps, set the parking brake and place the transmission in neutral or park. Finally, while the vehicle is on the ramps do not disassemble any components that may free the transmission or brake system's grip on the wheels. Pulling a driveshaft while the vehicle is in park and on the ramps, for instance, would free the drive wheels, and could result in the vehicle rolling off the ramps! A wheel chock or two is a good idea for added safety. Be safe-and chock it up to experience.

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