Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

I am thinking of buying a pair of car ramps. This is so as to get under the car for underbody checks, washing the underside, etc.

Any advice on a suitable ramp would be appreciated.

This is for a Ford Focus and potentially a Honda Civic.

Please can you suggest a good make of car ramp, or provide your thoughts on the below.

I have seen the following ramps on ebay

A) http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-PAIR-2-5-TON-TONNE-EXTRA-WIDE-METAL-CAR-RAMPS-VAN-LIFTING-MAINTENANCE-GARAGE-/390530276172?epid=1305554815&hash=item5aed6b1b4c:g:GYgAAOSwfcVULTVd

Advantages:-

1) Takes upto 2.5 tonnes

Dis-advantages

1) Top part where the wheels should rest, doesn't seem to be very long.

2) Ramp height of only 21 cm

B) http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-2-TON-PORTABLE-CAR-VAN-4X4-MECHANIC-WORKSHOP-GARAGE-WIDE-RAMP-RAMPS-PAIR-/292175237137?hash=item4407005011:g:~U8AAOSwCGVYANNe

Advanatages:-

1) Ramp hieght of 26 cm

2) Top part where the wheels should rest, seem longer than previous one.

3) Seems to be more strongly constructed (more vertical supports on ramp)

Dis-advantages

1) Takes upto only 2 Tonnes

C) http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161914-2PCS-KATSU-Heavy-Duty-Plastic-Garage-Workshop-Car-Service-Ramps-/272367743766?hash=item3f6a61f316:g:I4cAAOSwz71ZSA2l

Advantages:-

1) Plastic Construction. Hence safer / stronger?

Dis-advantages

1) Hieght of only 21.5 cm (raises car by 6.5 inches)

2) Top part where the wheels should rest, doesn't seem to be very long.

3) More expensive

Which of the above would be the better choice? Or would you reccomend a different option.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Galaxy

I myself have never liked car ramps.

I've always used a decent hydraulic trolley jack with a sufficient lift coupled with a pair of axle stands. You could always use two hydraulic jacks, that's what I've noticed the tyre places are doing now. Would still need axle stands, though, if thinking of crawling underneath, for safety.

Have never fancied trying to drive a car up those ramps - heard too many horror stories of what can go wrong.

Just my opinion.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - catsdad
I'm with Galaxy here. Not only do you need to be able to crawl up the ramp and stop but metal ones are prone to slipping away from the car as you approach if they are on a hard surface. I used to loop carpet strips out from each bottom rung so the car weight held them in place as I drove up. They can be surprisingly tricky and you need a mate to watch for slippage or misalignment as you approach.

I can't comment about any of the specific ones you highlight but I would not buy any car lifting gear/ramps online or from other than a recognised supplier/manufacturer. There are too many fake and dangerous items about online. Crawling under a car held up by poor quality steel with chocolate welds is not to be recommended.

Cheery chap, aren't I?
Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - KenC

I also do not feel safe using metal car ramps, particulary if you have a sloped drive, very prone to skidding away.Years ago I was given a railway sleeper type block of wood. I had a friend with a chain saw slice it at the appropriate angle halfway along, just ensure the top platform is long enough and screw on a couple of tyre stops ( 2"x2") horizontally across the end.

Ideal height for oil changes and totally safe, will not slip or crush .also easy to store vertically.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Andrew-T

I have had a pair of ramps for many years, but as I don't do any major work under a car they are only used for oil changes. They are good and solid, but I would only use them on a solid level surface for the reasons mentioned above. They require a certain skill to avoid overshooting, with possible serious consequences. On the plus side they are a lot cheaper than trolley jacks, which are more for the serious DiY-er.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - nellyjak

TBH I don't like being under a vehicle using either ramps OR a trolley jack...I have this morbid and probably irrational fear of "collapse"...brought about no doubt by knowing of two "crush" deaths over the last couple of years.

I certainly don't want over 2 tonnes of Toyota's finest dropping on me.!

My days of crawling under vehicles have long gone and I now entrust all that to my trusted local garage...but, I confess I have done it in the past and always preferred a trolley jack...but you really do have to take some serious safety precautions using either ramps or jacks.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Ramp-Low-Rise-1-Pair-Breakdown-Vehicle-Repair-AA-Garage-Jack-Access-1pr-/352148394285?hash=item51fdae112d:g:nRMAAOSwnVVZnYMh

Any thoughts on the above? They are advertised as low rise (7 cm elevation), and are made of moulded plastic. Does that substantially reduce risk?

I stupidly already ordered wheel chocks and the mechanics trolley to crawl under the car. Hence if the ramp in any form is a bad idea, I will need to return the trolley and chocks as well (which of coure, I will do, if best option)

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - bolt

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Ramp-Low-Rise-1-Pair-Breakdown-Vehicle-Repair-AA-Garage-Jack-Access-1pr-/352148394285?hash=item51fdae112d:g:nRMAAOSwnVVZnYMh

Any thoughts on the above? They are advertised as low rise (7 cm elevation), and are made of moulded plastic. Does that substantially reduce risk?

I stupidly already ordered wheel chocks and the mechanics trolley to crawl under the car. Hence if the ramp in any form is a bad idea, I will need to return the trolley and chocks as well (which of coure, I will do, if best option)

Waste of time using those imo, not enough height, Just get a hydraulic jack and stands as backup in case of jack slippage, far safer me thinks, I had a set of ramps once but they kept slipping while driving on to them, so used hydraulic jack and once at height you need put stands underneath!

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - catsdad
If you only get 7cm will you be able to scoot about on a trolley. Look at what else they sell and ask yourself what qualifications they have to sell load bearing kit.
Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - catsdad
Just an idea but can you get the necessary height for the minor tasks you might want to do by using the drive/road/kerb/pavement gradients and angles? I used to live in a house where it was easy to get the wheels up on the kerb to leave a bit of crawl space under the car. Getting to the oil drain for example.

Its not ldeal and no use for serious work where you need unrestricted access but its free and safe. For the odd job it might be all you need.

Edited by catsdad on 18/10/2017 at 12:02

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Andrew-T

<< I stupidly already ordered wheel chocks and the mechanics trolley to crawl under the car. Hence if the ramp in any form is a bad idea, I will need to return the trolley and chocks as well >>

Chocks will be useful whatever lifting device you use, as a secondary safety measure. The low trolley will also be useful (unless you get a hoist :-) ). You could easily make chocks from pieces of 2 x 4, for example (or bigger).

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Mike H

I haven't had a car for years that had enough underbody height to even get the car on a ramp.

Like the other comments, I would use a trolley jack and axle stands. I would never get under a car that wasn't on axle stands or equivalent. Always make sure the car is stable, that the handbrake is on, and that the rear wheels are chocked if you do go with the ramps.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - SteVee

Eustace - do you know what you're looking for under the car ? Crawling under modern cars is really unpleasant, unsafe and probably won't tell you what you need.

If you just want to take a look under a car you're thinking of buying then an inspection mirror is going to be a much safer and more comfortable option; just search for under vehicle mirror, or you could perhaps make one.

Good luck with finding a good car - I'm following your search as I'm likely to be on the same path soon.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

The intention was more than just for a one time inspection.

In the house I grew up in as a kid, our garage had a (for want of knowing the proper term) service pit, which was fully cemented on all sides and at the bottom. On one end, it had steps leading down.

My grandfather (who was actually quite car crazy) used to go down into the service pit, and clean the underside of the car, using a hose pipe.

I just realised that I have never actually fully washed the underside of my car. Even when I take it to car washes, they don't seem to wash the underside. So I was looking for a good solution, to get under the car and scrub of any dirt / drime / road salt, and then be able to fully wash it using a hose pipe.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

Nor do I think the local council or SWMBO would take too kindly, to me having a pit dug in the drive, over which I can park the car. :-)

Actually I couldn't if I wanted to either, as the sewage drains run under the drive.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - bolt

Nor do I think the local council or SWMBO would take too kindly, to me having a pit dug in the drive, over which I can park the car. :-)

Actually I couldn't if I wanted to either, as the sewage drains run under the drive.

I have seen people install concrete on top of drive ramps. or brick built ramps, depends on driveway really?

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

I actually did discuss the idea with my wife. She is horrified at the thought of a ramp on the drive.

And I generally prefer to reverse park into the drive. Don't really fancy reversing onto the ramp, late at night, if needed. :-)

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Andrew-T

My in-laws (many years ago) had a pit inside their timber-&-asbestos garage. The pit was usually covered with sawn-off sleepers. Never saw or heard of anyone using the pit, and I'm pretty sure it was put in pre-war.

Don't like the idea of hosing the underside of a car while in a pit - it would have to be provided with drainage? You could use a pressure washer to hose underneath without anything like a pit or a ramp - though you wouldn't see what you were aiming at ....

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

We used to keep our pit covered too. In fact it had a wooden cover in sections, that would fit over the pit. The pit did have a drainage channel to let water drain out. I think, it just went out into the ground.

Wonder why car washes don't use ramps, to get cars onto it and allow a proper wash of the underside...

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Andrew-T

Wonder why car washes don't use ramps, to get cars onto it and allow a proper wash of the underside...

(a) it would take too long and (b) it would soon lead to an accident ..

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - nellyjak

If I needed to have such a facility these days...I'd use a railway sleeper.!...now that I WOULD trust.!

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - gordonbennet

on the usual auction site 401324725736

I have a pair of these and a smaller normal sized pair, i run the front wheels up these and the rears up the smaller set and use the air rear suspension to lift the back end up level, that way the car is raised over a foot, this is with my Landcruiser which has the height to do this.

My car sat for several days on this combination whilst i rustproofed it and changed all the transmission oils.

These are big and heavy ramps and very strong, i keep the 2 small hydraulic jacks in a box in my garage seldom is there need to raise the vehicle any higher (i don't know if you can buy the same ramps without the jacks cheaper, worth looking around) , bare in mind most cars won't have enough approach angle to get up these ramps without catching the front skirt, but this applies to most car ramps in all honesty, so some sturdy planks (or ladder within ladder) will be required to rest on one of the rungs about half way up in order to clear the front lower valance.

Why i recommend these is they are much wider than the usual flimsy things, so the plank for initial lift to clear can be appreciably wider than with the narrower small ramps.

If you can weld or have a handy chap who can, it would be easy to fit smaller ladders, pivoting from about half way up the ramp ladders, so they could fold down when in use and fold up and over and lay on/in the existing ramp for storage, or extra ladders with couple fo stays than can rest on the rungs then lift them off when not in use...if any of that makes any sense, we used to have ramps within ramps on some of the car transporter decks for this approach angle problem.

Yes possibly overkill for some, but once up on these things the car is going nowhere, with my LC up on all 4 i gave is a serious shaking side to side to see if there was any movement, nothing.

With all ramps its best to put the ramp on a piece of old carpet or something so it doesn't shoot out as you start to climb.

Edited by gordonbennet on 18/10/2017 at 19:05

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - bolt

Wonder why car washes don't use ramps, to get cars onto it and allow a proper wash of the underside...

(a) it would take too long and (b) it would soon lead to an accident ..

Some used to have undercar jetwashes, but they were not used very often though some people didnt know they were there, an old Jag garage used to have one but it was never used as it cost £5 on its own (garage has since gone)

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - Wackyracer

If you only want to clean the underside and have a pressure washer something like the Karcher car chassis cleaner might be a better option.

I made my own ramp extensions from 6mm steel tread plate and a couple of lengths of angle iron as I can't get any of my cars on the ramps without them. When I rust proofed the car I put it up on two pairs of 6 ton axle stands for extra height.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - jthan

I had a similar dilemma a couple of years ago, when looking for something robust to waxoyl under a new car. Personally, I don't have confidence in axle stands - I think large, really solid ramps are safer because the car won't fall off them. Many axle stands don't have the footprint (or build solidity) to give me confidence.

I briefly considered plastic ramps - they looked attractive but, I read some reports of them splitting; particularly when used on a rough surface (like my concrete).

And the usual metal ramps were too narrow to consider.

So I ended up building a pair of extra long ones out of some 4"x4"s and 4"x2"s (laid flat). I used more timber than I'd have liked (they worked out dearer than an ordinary metal set, and they're rather heavy to move and bulky to store), but they're solid, they don't move when driving on, there's enough width to comfortably accommodate modern tyres and enough length for gradual steps up. For safety, it's crucial that timber is on top of timber from wheel to ground.

I'd imagine the sliced sleepers would be just as good (and cheaper), but chain sawing a nice long slope tidily through a sleeper is probably beyond my skill.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - bolt

I'd imagine the sliced sleepers would be just as good (and cheaper), but chain sawing a nice long slope tidily through a sleeper is probably beyond my skill.

I used steel sheet to make ramps at one end of the sleepers rather than cut them, but then my drive was long enough to take them, my brother still uses them, over 30 years old and solid

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - argybargy

During the brief period of years when I thought I might be able to do more than just change pads and discs, I had a set of ramps. I think I used them once, and they gave me no confidence at all that the car wouldn't roll down and squash me. A combination of trolley jack and axle stands are by far a better alternative. OK, you might not be able to lift the vehicle quite as high, but at least you'll come out in one piece rather than squashed so flat that your missus will be able to store you under the sideboard.

An ex neighbour of mine would throw his car up on a trolley jack and nothing else, on the public highway, and spend an hour or so fiddling about underneath. The wind from passing vehicles, a staggering pedestrian bumping into the car whilst ambling by or just a slight alteration in the centre of balance of the vehicle and he would have been toast. I suppose ramps would be fine with chocks/ sleepers/ whatever, but personally I'd avoid them like the plague, especially if you're working on the highway. On a level drive or in a garage, well, that could be a different matter.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - eustace

Thanks all for your inputs.

I will visit my local timber merchant this weekend, and explore the possibility of getting railway sleepers, other material to use as a potential ramp.

If that's not viable / cost effective, then the Karcher car chassis cleaner, seems to be the way to go.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - galileo

Thanks all for your inputs.

I will visit my local timber merchant this weekend, and explore the possibility of getting railway sleepers, other material to use as a potential ramp.

If that's not viable / cost effective, then the Karcher car chassis cleaner, seems to be the way to go.

Years ago I used to pass an Express Dairy depot (closed long ago) on my way to work. Often saw electric milk floats sitting on a plastic milk crate while the brakes were being serviced.

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - catsdad

eustace, I've just checked my ramps, which are the metal strut type, against my Civic and the lower edge of the bumper fouls the rising part of the ramp before the wheels can reach the bottom of the ramp. I think lots of cars are now built with lower bumpers than in the past.

Wooden ramps will therefore have to have a shallow angle to suit modern cars. Better to work it out before you end up with the world's most over-engineered bookends ;-).

Any - Portable car ramp buying advice - focussed

eustace, I've just checked my ramps, which are the metal strut type, against my Civic and the lower edge of the bumper fouls the rising part of the ramp before the wheels can reach the bottom of the ramp. I think lots of cars are now built with lower bumpers than in the past.

Wooden ramps will therefore have to have a shallow angle to suit modern cars. Better to work it out before you end up with the world's most over-engineered bookends ;-).

Having had an 07 Type S Civic and needed to put it up on a pair of ramps for oil changing, I made a couple of simple wooden ramp extensions out of 1" thick douglas fir planks the width of the ramp to stop the lower edge of the front spoiler fouling the ramp. Screwed and glued some blocks to the underside to locate and support in the gaps between the cross strakes of the ramp.

Make the extensions about 1.5 times the length of the angled part of the metal ramp, it makes the angle of the ramp less, it's also easier to get the car up on it.

If you have a heavy vehicle like our L200 pick-up, beware using the ordinary metal car ramps, our L200 weighs 2.0 tonnes plus unladen and is very front heavy. I had to weld some reinforcement into another pair of ramps as they were showing signs of flexing.

 

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