Ramps vs. Jack Stands: Which Are Better for Your Home Garage?

If you’re a DIY car owner, you know how to change your oil, work on the suspension, fix the transmission and perform regular maintenance duties. But unless you have a full hydraulic system in your garage, you’ll need to invest in ramps or jack stands to lift your vehicle to see the undercarriage and work on different components.

It’s a longstanding debate as to which is better, so here are a few details to help you decide which suits your application.

Car Ramp Specifics

Most car owners know how to use ramps — and if you don’t, they’re simple to work with, which draws a lot of its popularity. Align the pair of ramps to your car’s front or back wheels and slowly drive up the incline. Put on the emergency brake and place wheel chocks behind the back or front tires. And that’s it! You can start working.

The process doesn’t require you to crawl under the vehicle, and the ramps are lightweight enough to carry and easy to store in your garage. Car ramps have enhanced safety features that make them more stable than jack stands. They offer a larger surface area, which adds traction to the ground and supports the car’s wheels. Another advantage is affordability. Ramps are ideal for oil changes and other maintenance that doesn’t require extensive work.

Disadvantages include the possibility of the ramps sliding if you place them on a surface with little traction, such as a slippery surface, slick concrete, a driveway with oil stains, ground with debris, or an area with pebbles or gravel. You also have to move your vehicle backward or forward to get onto the slopes, which may not be ideal in tight quarters.

Jack Stand Facts

Some may find that jack stands are more complicated to use because if you don’t know where your car’s lift points are, then this equipment may not be the best bet — unless you research, of course. Put the parking brake on and chock the wheels that will stay on the ground, if any. Jack the vehicle up using your floor jack, then place the stands under the appropriate lift points. Lower the system until the jacks support the car on their own, and you’re ready to work.

Advantages of jack stands include not having to move the vehicle, which means it excels in small spaces. They also allow more mobility and are ideal for removing wheels when working on brakes or changing tires. Several drawbacks involve a lower margin of error and jacks require more precision and time. If you don’t position the stand in a secure position, an off movement can result in the car crashing down to the ground.

Ramps vs. Jack Stands

It all comes down to the application, personal preference and experience. Ramps are more affordable, safer and easy to use. They are suitable for changing oil and better for beginners, while jacks are for more advanced technicians. The jack equipment helps with more intricate maintenance, like working on brakes, exhaust work, or rotating tires.

Buy Jack Stands or Wheel Ramps at North American Auto Equipment

We offer a vast inventory of wheel ramps to back up your DIY maintenance jobs as well as a stock of jack stands to support your tougher tasks. North American Auto Equipment is a hands-on company that recommends solutions based on your application. For more info about our lift equipment, contact us online.