Car Ramp Or Jack Stand

Car Ramp Or Jack Stand – Which One You Should Choose?

Are you the kind of car owner who likes to do all the auto fixes on your own? Well, you are not alone. In fact, most people today prefer it! It saves time, money, and a trip to the garage, so why not?

Well, if you like doing all the maintenance yourself, then there is also one thing that you will have to do by yourself – lifting the car. Sometimes we have to hoist the car off of the ground to get a good look at the surface underneath, which can seem like a daunting task on your own. 

In this case, we usually seek help from two trusted items – a car ramp or a jack stand. Now, there is a big divide on which is better. Naming either will not cut it since both have pros and cons. So, keep on reading to find out!

Car Ramp Or Jack Stand

Explaining Car Ramps and Their Advantages

Car ramps are simple devices that typically come in pairs and are used for car maintenance purposes. The sheer familiarity with these devices makes them so appealing to users. 

These are placed under the vehicle’s wheels, after which the vehicle is raised. These car ramps can be found in various materials, from plastic to metal, and in varying sizes and designs too! 

Most auto users swear by car ramps for a good reason! Here are some of the pros of using car ramps:

  1. Ramps are quick and easy to set up. We have to drop them in front of the tires, then drive the vehicle up and set the emergency brake. 
  2. Ramps provide a higher elevation compared to jack stands. They are excellent when used for oil changes, and some users keep a spare set close by just for this purpose. 
  3. They are also safe to use, in a lot of cases more than jack stands when compared. Because they come with a larger surface area, they can provide more support to the wheels while adding further traction to the vehicle’s surface. 
  4. Ramps are considered more affordable than jack stands and cost only a fraction of jack stands in most cases. 

While these are all the good things that come with car ramps, there are some downsides too. Here are the cons of using a car ramp:

  1. Ramps are less effective when used with vehicles that are lower to the ground or ones that come with low front noses. To prevent this, some users have used run-up boards to get that lift, but this has only sometimes been an effective method. 
  2. Even though we achieve a higher elevation, the vehicle resting on a load limits what we can do under the car. An instance would be having to remove the tires, which would not work.
  3. It is challenging to use ramps on surfaces with a lot of traction, which results in vehicles sliding when we try to drive onto the ramp. 
  4. One of the biggest problems with car ramps is that they cannot be used to remove the tires, making them redundant for many people since that is one of the primary requirements when lifting a vehicle.
  5. For users with small garages, ramps are only sometimes the best option as they have to move the vehicle back and forth quite a bit before mounting the ramps. 
  6. Driving onto them is not easy from the get-go and requires some practice and patience! 
  7. Sometimes, they have to be used with spotters, which is alright, except that it requires a second person’s help which one may not always have.
  8. Car ramps are bulky, oversized, and require a lot of space to build, so users with small garages cannot usually install them.

Explaining Jack Stands and Their Benefits

While we have learned quite a bit about jack stands previously, let us take a brief look into them for comparison in this article. 

In short, jack stands are simple support devices that secure your vehicle in place when you lift it up. They also provide added stability, ensuring that the vehicle does not move or slide away in these cases.

This makes jack stands one of the most common items in almost every garage. Not to mention their small size also makes them easy to keep. But that is not all. Many more benefits come along with using a jack stand:

  1. Jack stands are lighter in weight than car ramps, and smaller in size too. These two features make them easy to store away and use even in small garages. 
  2. Jack stands are completely safe when used correctly and according to the usual manual.
  3. Jack stands can be used for tire maintenance, which is one of the most frequent reasons we have to hoist our cars up in the first place. 
  4. Jack stands can be used to lift up one single side of the vehicle in case you have to work on one side only, where lifting up the entire vehicle may be a useless task.

That is all the pros, now comes the cons. There are some downsides to these tools as well, as there are with all tools out there. Some of the disadvantages of using a jack stand are:

  1. You will have to buy the jack and the jack stands in order for them to work properly.
  2. If you are not using the jack stand correctly, the damage can be pretty bad. There have been multiple cases where workers have gotten into accidents because the jack stands slipped or could not bear the weight of the vehicle.
  3. Although these are smaller, trying to lift the car with utmost accuracy can mean having to spend more time on it. 

Things To Keep in Mind When Choosing Between the Two

Now that we have a clear vision of what the car ramp and jack stands are, how they work, and how they differ, it provides a clear image of which we should pick. But deciding simply based on these points is not quite enough. 

Why? Because when lifting up an entire vehicle that big, some other factors also come into play. We have to consider these factors to make the right decision on which tool to use. 

Working Alone

Working alone in your garage versus working with a partner are two completely different scenarios and can change the way you use tools. 

When working by yourself, you are better off with jack stands than car ramps. This is because driving up on the car ramp is a two-person job – driving up and watching over it. 

Of course, it is a different case for professionals to do this on their own. But, for the average Joe, you need an extra person to ensure the car’s tires are properly centered. 

Of course, in either case, having a helping hand is safer. That can go both ways, even for people not accustomed to using jack stands. However, comparing the two, using the jack stand is safer and easier for a single person than doing the same with a car ramp.

Weight Rating Check 

Now, regardless of which method or tool you opt for, trying to lift a vehicle that has exceeded the weight rating will be hazardous. Both jack stands and car ramps have a certain weight limit which must be maintained to safely lift the vehicle. 

Tire Width 

Different vehicles have different tire widths, and modern cars especially have wider tires. If your new vehicles have too wide tires for the car ramp, it is time to change the ramp. 

Quality 

Both car ramps and jack stands can only be good if they are up to the mark regarding quality. These are tools that you will find multiple varieties of in the market. Some are made of metals, others from polymers. What you have to understand is how the material affects the performance. 

Metal, for example, is excellent. But if it is not correctly coated or has a good steel composition, it can rust. Similarly, polymer, too, is suitable. Still, if it is kept outdoors or comes into contact with certain chemicals, it can crack. 

So whether you choose the jack stand or the car ramp, remember to check the brand, the quality, and the reviews to understand how it will perform in the long run. 

The Final Verdict 

We’ve talked a lot about the tools and how they function here. Now comes the verdict. Which should you get? There are ups and downs to both the tools, and much of it comes down to space availability and budget. 

But, discarding these extra features, looking at it from a user experience and safety point of view, the car ramp is the winner. Car ramps are easier to use, and they are a friendly option for beginners. Not to mention they are safer than jack stands in most cases too!

Eddie Burton - Senior Author
Senior Author: Eddie Burton

Eddie Burton is a passionate car enthusiast and a seasoned mechanic with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has worked with a variety of vehicles, from classic muscle cars to modern luxury cars, and has extensive knowledge of all types of auto parts and accessories.

Eddie’s love for cars began at a young age when he would spend hours tinkering with his first car, a 1967 Mustang. Since then, he has pursued his passion for cars by working in various garages and workshops, honing his skills and expertise in everything related to automobiles.

As a contributor to our website, Eddie shares his in-depth knowledge and experience with our readers, providing valuable tips and advice on auto parts, repairs, and maintenance. He’s committed to helping car owners get the most out of their vehicles by providing honest and practical reviews of auto parts, accessories, and tools.

With Eddie’s vast experience and expertise, you can trust his recommendations and insights on everything related to cars. Whether you’re a seasoned car owner or a newbie in the world of automobiles, Eddie’s articles and reviews will help you make informed decisions and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

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