Would you like to carry out more work on your car? You need the right tools for that kind of work. Forget about steel floor and other car jacks, because they are not the most effective way to lift heavy vehicles. Additionally, they are not as stable as they could be and as such, it may not be anchored properly in place using one of the alternatives.
In the following article, therefore, we are going to spend some time looking at a selection of car ramps that we believe are the best of the bunch. We will discuss them briefly, noting key features and their pros and cons. Simply put, our list and buying guide for the best car ramps is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know and want to know about these important pieces of equipment for your home car and vehicle maintenance setup.
The Best Car Ramps in 2020:
The RhinoGear RhinoRamps are durable and sturdy, giving you convenient access to your vehicle’s underside. The internal support system features a patented polymer and provides you with a wide stance for unparalleled strength and balanced distribution of your vehicle’s weight.
With the unique and clever non-skid CoreTRAC base reduces the chance of slippages and features an incline of 17 degrees gives you easier access particularly if you have a low-profile vehicle.
Compact and incredibly robust, they can be used with a variety of vans, SUVs, pickups, trucks and cars and are at the top of our list of the best car ramps.
- 12,000lbs Gross vehicle weight (or GVW)
- Only resin ramps certified by PALD
- CoreTRAC non-skin
- Wider tire width
- 17-degree incline for lower profile vehicles
- Nestable – safe-saving design
- Brand RhinoGear
- Model 11909ABMI
- Weight 19.2 lbs
Many have commented they are not as wide as they could be
When race ramps conducted research, they discovered that sports car lovers desired a sleep and simple car ramp design. This is where their 40-inch Sport Ramp comes from. A no-fuss and robust ramp that will handle tires as wide as 8 inches and lifts your car up a full 7 inches.
For a relatively small and portable device, these ramps give you a hell of a lot of access. Suitable for most smaller sized sports cars including Jaguars, MGs, BMWs, Evos, Saburus, Mistas and Corvettes (C1 to C3).
- 1,500lbs per ramp maximum capacity, 6,000lbs total
- 8-inch maximum tire width
- Brand Race Ramps
- Model RR-40
- Weight 8.49 lbs
Solid and durable
Some have complained about the foam design
This is an interesting product on our list. Rather than it being designed for normal vehicles and trucks, the Trailer-Aid Tandem Tire Changing Ramp is, as the name suggests, for trailers.
With a total weight capacity of 15,000lbs, rust resistance and waterproofing, this trailer ramp is made from incredibly strong polymer and is portable and easy to store away when traveling so you can change a tire easily, even if you are on your own.
With rear slow and front holes, it provides you with easy access and handling. With 4 1/2 inches clearance, you have more than enough room to work on your trailer.
- 4 1/2 inch clearance
- Lightweight but robust polymer construction
- Handles 15,000lbs weight
- Waterproof and rustproof
- Brand Trailer Aid
- Model 22
- Weight 5.89 lbs
Easy, almost intuitive to use
Robust and high-quality construction
Ideal for tandem trailers
Not suitable for all trailers, always check
Next on our list is another reasonably priced set, this time from Nicky Nice. The solid steel auto ramp set is capable of handling vehicles with a maximum weight 6,500lbs, with each single ramp capable of taking 2,000lbs. They have a powder coated finish to prolong use and are 55 inches long.
- Each ramp can handle 2,000lbs, while both together can handle a combined 6,500lbs
- Powder coating finish
- 35 inches long
- Brand Nicky Nice
- Model 612944
- Weight 32 lbs
Durable, robust construction
Made in USA
Great for oil changes and other general maintenance tasks
Not many, but a few customers have commented on the build quality being low
Some have also claimed they are too high for normal cars
The next set of ramps we want to talk about is the very affordable and sturdy Scepter 08226s. These are very lightweight, which is a great thing when you consider that both ramps together can handle 12,000lbs. This makes them ideal for using with medium-sized sedans.
Not only that, the ramp is relatively easy to roll onto without it pushing away and wide enough that you feel safe while your car is on the ramps. Weight distribution is aided by the parabolic arch that runs through the center of each ramp and thanks to the grid design, dirt, snow and water just fall through making them suitable whatever the weather.
- 12,000lbs weight limit
- Parabolic arch that runs through the ramp's center for additional support and assistance with distribution of weight
- Grid design to prevent buildup of dirt, snow and water
- Suitable for use in all weather
- Brand Scepter
- Model 08226
- Weight 20.2 lbs
Strong and sturdy
Well-built Canadian design
Perfect angle and height combination
Some customers have had problems making these ramps work with their low clearance vehicles, such as MK7 GtIs.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced, plastic pair of car ramps, the Discount Ramps 6009-V2 Plastic Car Service Ramp pack may be just what you need. They have a very low profile and are designed, therefore, with lower profiled sports cars in mind.
The total maximum weight capacity for a pack is 4,400lbs. They are capable of lifting your car to 2.5 inches off the ground. The unique honeycomb-style design allows moisture to escape and avoids building up.
- Maximum weight capacity of both ramps 4,400lbs
- 2.5 inches lift height and loading degree of 9.05 degrees
- Honeycomb design to prevent moisture from building up
- Tire stops with formed grooves for wheels
- Brand Discount Ramps
- Model 6009-V2
- Weight 9.2 lbs
Ideal for using with low profile sports cars
Easy to use
Great product for the price
Only suitable for cars with a low profile
Our next set of the best car ramps in this post is the Magnum 1002-01 Automotive ramp system, which is capable of coping with a combined weight of 16,000lbs. As the name indicates, this is more than just ramps, it is a 4-piece ramp system and features a safety chock and manufactured with the environment firmly in mind.
Magnum are known for designing and producing easy to use and well-made gaskets and this product still meets the high standard of what you would expect from a reputable company. Not only that, they do not require any assembly and are very lightweight.
- 16,000lbs total gross weight capacity
- Safety chock included
- 4-piece detachable parts for easy storage
- Brand Magnum
- Model 1002-01
- Weight 17 lbs
Many customers have complained about the quality of the design and that it is not suitable for their car, so be cautious
Many customers have also suggested it might not be wide enough for many modern cars
The issue with most car ramps is that they do have a very steep incline or angle of approach. And if you happen to have one of those cars that simply has a much lower ground clearance, getting it serviced or maintained can be a real pain.
Thankfully, this extender contraption from Race Ramps can be easily placed on the landing of your 56- or 67- inch race ramp. The gentle incline gives your car a smoother ride up to the highest platform with an angle of approach rated at only 6.6 degrees. There’s no worry of getting your underside scrape the topmost section of the race ramp as the gentle incline afforded by the Xtender is sure to give your car a smoother climb.
It has a solid core, unlike most of the car ramps that come with rather dubious materials giving your car a less secure and less stable platform to climb onto. The main issue with the Xtender is that it cannot be used on just any ordinary ramp; it has to be the 56- or the 67- inch ramps from Race Ramps. As such, it can be considered more as an accessory to Race Ramps products. Nevertheless, it still makes for a great contraption especially if you’ve got a really low ride.
- Car ramp extender design
- Non-hollow, solid structure
- 6.6-degree angle of approach
- 12-inch wide track
- Non-slip, unscootable surface
- Brand Race Ramps
- Model RR-EX-14
- Weight 5.95 lbs
Solid build quality
Non-slip, unscootable surface
Excellent for low clearance cars
Not really a car ramp per se
Quite expensive for a car ramp extender
Can only be used with 56- or 67- inch race ramps
Owners of larger vehicles like SUVs, trucks, vans, and large sedans can always rely on the Black Widow to give them the lift that their vehicles need. With a 7-inch maximum lift height, the Black Widow is perfect for getting onto a much higher platform or to simply increase the amount of space that you can work on underneath your vehicle.
True, the Black Widow may be made of plastic, but its construction is that of a very durable one. It’s more than capable of handling an 8-ton vehicle without really balking under pressure. At the core of the Black Widow is an internal support mechanism that allows the tires to distribute its weight evenly onto the platform, allowing for more stable and more secure support. The platform is also designed with grid pattern mimicking the tire tread pattern of most modern vehicles complete with 3 channels.
On the downside, the incline is a bit steeper than most, although this should not really be a problem since the grooves are there to help get your car easily up onto the ramp. The width is a full foot wide, giving you extra room to maneuver your car though it will be a test of one’s skills.
Overall, the Black Widow deserves a slot in this list of the best car ramps as it comes with a very stable platform with which to raise almost any type of vehicle.
- 7-inch lift height
- Constructed of high-impact plastic
- Designed for larger cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs with 16,000-lb gross weight
- High-grip grid platform design
- Internal support mechanism for easier weight distribution and balance
- Fully rubberized feet
- Brand Black Widow
- Model PSR295
- Weight 19 lbs
High-impact, durable construction
High lifting capability
Wide enough tread at 12 inches
Good weight distribution and balance
Stable and sturdy platform
A bit on the heavier side
Relatively short and steep incline
Riders of lowered cars often have to be very careful when driving their vehicles especially on elevated platforms and other similar structures on the road. But to get one’s vehicle onto the lifting system utilizing its jack points one needs the similarly-low profile of the Tomioka SLOPE.
You won’t believe what this baby can bring to your car. While its measurements pale in comparison to other ramp systems in the field, it nevertheless does a pretty decent job of getting your car about 3 inches off the ground. Another thing that the Tomioka has going is the gentle incline of its slope. Unlike other systems that come with a steep grade, the Tomioka features a gentle ride towards the top until your wheels rest on the intended platform.
It may be made of plastic, but this is actually what gives the Tomioka its remarkable lightweight characteristics. This makes it very easy to bring along and store. But what is even more remarkable is that its plastic construction actually feels beefier than other systems. And with a very friendly price, it’s a system that should merit your attention; that is if you have a need for a much lower car ramp.
- Designed specifically for lowered vehicles
- Made of heavy-duty plastic material
- Superior grip track surface
- Brand Tomioka Racing
- Model SLOPE
- Weight Weight 7.95 lbs
Relatively low height of ramp at only 3 inches
Narrower ramp track at only 8 inches
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.
- Positioning Ramps
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. Place 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
Best Car Ramps FAQ:
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 car 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 car ramps 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 and 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.
- Top 10 Ways to Lower and Lift Your Car or Truck – HowStuffWorks