Article

Car Ramps vs. Jack Stands: Which are Best for Auto Service?

 Updated on: March 1st, 2021

Ramps vs. Jack Stands: Which are Best for Auto Service?

If you’re the DIY kind of auto owner who enjoys performing your own oil changes and routine maintenance, it’s inevitable that at some point in time, you’re going to have to hoist your vehicle off the ground to get a better look at things underneath. And, unless you’ve got your own in-garage hydraulic system, the lift you’re likely going to be looking at is going to come from ramps or a jack and jack stand.

Like every subject in the world of automotive care, there are two sides to the debate between ramps and jack stands: some prefer one option, while others swear by the opposite. So, which is truly better for helping you perform those oil changes and other aspects of routine maintenance: Ramps or Jack Stands?

Car Ramps

Car Ramps

Everyone knows how to use a ramp and such familiarity with these simple machines is usually what draws people to them when it comes to auto maintenance—not to mention how easy they are to use! Just plop down a pair of ramps, drive up the incline, pop the parking brake on, set down the appropriate wheel chocks, and you’re good to start working. There’s not much else to them!

Many people also swear by ramps for the safety factor—auto ramps are generally thought to be more stable than jack stands and there’s less of a chance for error with ramps because they offer a larger surface area for support, both in adding traction to the ground (on applicable surfaces) and to supporting the wheels of the vehicle itself.

Finally, one of the biggest advantages that ramps have over jack stands is their affordability. Getting a good set of ramps for your vehicle comes with a marginal cost compared to the cost of a good jack and set of jack stands.

The downfall of ramps? Well, if positioned on a surface that doesn’t offer a whole lot of traction, they can slide while you’re trying to drive onto them, which can lead to some creative adaptations (see how popular brand Race Ramps recommends setting up their ramps on different garage floor types). Also, having to move the vehicle backwards or forwards to make room for and mount the ramps might not be an option in cramped quarters. Other than that, ramps are tremendously safe and easy to use!

Jack Stands

Jack Stands

Lighter than many ramps, jacks and jack stands have the distinct advantage of being smaller and often easier to keep on a shelf or tucked away in a corner; great for situations where you don’t have a lot of dedicated storage space.

When used correctly, jacking a car up onto jack stands is safe and reliable. When used incorrectly, this set-up carries a heavy price in terms of injuries. There are countless cases where individuals have died when a they worked on a vehicle that was jacked up but not supported by jack stands and the jack failed, or when a vehicle wasn’t positioning correctly on the stands and slipped off, or a jack stand failed because it wasn’t rated for the weight of the vehicle.

Don’t be deterred though! In the hands of a knowledgeable person, jacking up a car and supporting in on jack stands is a quick way to work on your vehicle. One major advantage that jacks and jack stands hold over ramps is that they allow for easy tire maintenance.

The Verdict

If you couldn’t tell by now, Discount Ramps thoroughly supports the use of ramps when it comes to DIY automotive care. Aside from the lower cost, familiarity and ease of use that accompanies ramps, the sheer safety aspect of ramps over jack stands has us recommending these to our customers to ensure complete peace of mind. While jack stands do have their place in the world of automotive services, we’re going to have to go with ramps for your everyday procedures—especially if you’re just getting started in the world of DIY automotive!