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Best Car Ramps for 2023, Tested

Dec 03, 2023Dec 03, 2023

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Sick of the old jack-stand hustle? There is a quicker way. Elevate your oil changes with a solid set of automotive ramps.

Gearheads know that changing your oil is DIY Maintenance 101. Whether you're new to wrenching, a seasoned veteran, or are sick of getting upsold by the local quickie oil-change shop, a set of car ramps can transform the common oil change into a quicker affair.

With automotive ramps, you can find yourself in service position within seconds. In addition to their simplicity, ramps are more stable and far friendlier to rusty pinch welds, fiberglass bodies, and low-profile cars. Say goodbye to the tiresome jack-stand boogie and hello to the quick driveway oil change.

Weight Rating

You absolutely do not want to exceed this number. Safety is paramount when working under a lifted vehicle, so ensure each corner of the vehicle you're lifting is under the ramp's stated maximum. If you haven't weighed your vehicle like we do for all of our test vehicles, you can use the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your vehicle as a proxy. This is on a placard that's usually located in the driver's-side doorjamb. It is important to note that the weight rating is for the entire vehicle; there are also GAWR (gross axle weight rating) figures, and you can take the number for the axle you're lifting and divide by two. This includes the vehicle's weight plus the maximum amount of cargo allowed, so should leave a comfortable safety margin. For example, if a vehicle has a 5000-pound front GAWR, it actually means each ramp should not exceed 2500 pounds per ramp, or 5000 per pair.

Clearance of Vehicle

For low-profile-car owners, the angle of approach is critical in order to avoid scraping the nose of the car. Race Ramps suggests you use the yardstick method to determine the minimum angle you'll need for your car. First, shove a yardstick beneath the front of your front tires. Next, lift the yardstick directly up until you hit the nose or underbody of your car. Measure how far off of the ground the yardstick is, enter that number into the calculator and voila, you've got your maximum angle of approach.

Tire Width

Your tires should fit securely onto the width of the ramps; you do not want your tires to hang over the edges. Compare the width of the ramps you're considering to the width of your tires before purchase. Most tire sizes are in a XXX/YYRZZ format, where those first three digits are roughly its width in millimeters. You can also look up your tires' specs on a site such as Tire Rack.

Storage/Carrying Solutions

One downside to ramps is that they aren't exactly small. Some nest together, effectively halving the amount of storage space you'll need to carve out; others simply stack wherever you can find room in the garage. Still others are intended to be bolted down, so you'll need to consider where they will live for their lifetime. Lastly, consider how the ramp is carried: Does it have handholds cut into the ramp itself? Carrying straps? Or are you lugging it around like an unwieldy pet?

Location of Ramp Use

Ramps will behave differently depending on their location of use. Ideally, you should always use your ramps in a straight line on a clean, flat surface—never on a significant incline or slope, and not while the wheels are turned. If you are using your ramps on a smooth surface, such as finished cement, consider products that double down on traction, such as rubber mats.

When testing car ramps, we opted for a sensible approach, determining which ramp worked best for each situation and rating them on that metric. We took detailed notes on their specs and began our testing to confirm the following capabilities:

We compiled our notes to decide which car ramps are best for each application, narrowing down our top picks to seven standouts. Here are the best car ramps, as determined by the Hearst Autos Gear Team.

With their 13-inch width and 8,000-pound-per-pair rating, we're hard-pressed to think of a truck and tire combo that doesn't fit within these specs—even the 9640-pound Hummer EV—which is why we chose the RhinoRamp MAX as our pick for the Best Ramps for Trucks.

Gripping proved supreme, with a diamond-plate pattern on the ramp and a rubber footing at the front that held the base secure as we drove up the 17-degree angle of rise. There was a slight flex in the ramps, but that's due to the clever pliable plating design, which distributes weight as the vehicle drives up the ramp.

Aside from their impressive width, these RhinoRamps also nest with each other—effectively turning two ramps into one when they need to be stowed away.

The Black Widow PSR295 plastic car ramps are our Best Budget pick. The Black Widow ramps are made from high-impact plastic and can support up to to 10,000 pounds per pair. As we pulled the Kia Sorento in from the heavily salted Michigan parking lot, we delighted in how effective their clever gridded filter design worked.

As the car rolled up, all the salt the Kia brought in drained easily through the ramp and onto the ground below. This may seem like small potatoes, but it makes a huge difference in increasing traction on the ramp, and we appreciated the added safety benefit of the feature.

With three grip pads on the front and three on the rear, the ramp remained in place during incline and decline, and we did not witness even the slightest movement of the ramp on our textured vinyl flooring.

We wished these came with a nesting design, allowing for simpler storage, but we still think the durable Black Widow ramps are an excellent investment for those who like do their own repairs at home.

For lower-profile cars, the Race Ramps RR-56 model is our top pick. The 10.8-degree angle of approach is ideal for low front spoilers, and the Volkswagen GTI climbed them without even a moment of fear about the 6.5-inch clearance.

As soon as these came out of the box, we were impressed with the high-density foam material, topped with a rugged anti-slip coating. When an item is 56 inches long, a claimed 10 pounds per ramp seems almost unreal. But our scales proved that true.

Length is necessary to achieve that low-pro approach, but that length is actually the one drawback to these ramps, as they're difficult to store in a space-efficient manner. Race Ramps has thought of it all, though, offering the same ramps with the ability to break down into two pieces for easier storage. For a little extra money, of course.

For an even lower-profile approach, ramp extenders are available.

The Black Widow Hydraulic Ramp is for those who love the versatility of a jack combined with the benefits of a ramp. Yes, they're bulky, but what they lack in grace they more than make up for in height capability.

With three height settings, the 32-inch top height wowed our team. The space underneath the Sorento resembled a makeshift shelter more than a standard vehicle service height. Considering their weight, unwieldy nature, and the convenient bolt hold-downs at their feet, these hydraulic ramps are best used as permanent installations in your garage.

While we recognize these ramps may be gratuitous—far more than most of us will ever need for minor auto maintenance and repair—we still give them an epic thumbs-up.

Donext ramps are great for vehicles that are so low, you couldn't even slip a jack underneath. That's about it.

We appreciated the incredibly low 7-degree angle of incline, but this ramp could have used a few extra inches in length and at least attempted to lift cars to a functional height.

After we pulled our Volkswagen GTI up, we measured a paltry 3.5-inch difference in front-end lift. We couldn't even reach the drain plug, leading us to conclude that these ramps are ideal only to provide enough height to access the crossmember or pinch rails for a traditional jack-and-jack-stand combo.

All in all, we felt the Donext ramps could stand to Do-more.

Here at Car and Driver HQ, we love a good opportunity to put our fleet cars to the test—any test. On a dreary March Tuesday, the testing team selected two cars on which to test these ramps: a Volkswagen GTI to evaluate low-profile ramps and a Kia Sorento for more traditional vehicle clearance.

We drove these vehicles up each set of ramps, noting any slippage or pushing (of which we witnessed none—perhaps thanks to our textured vinyl garage flooring). After we secured the car on a ramp with chocks behind the rear wheels, we then measured the height of the front bumper to determine the lifting clearance. Giving the cars a bit of a wobble, we tested the stability of each set of ramps. We then measured the angle and weighed each ramp to confirm manufacturer claims.

Next, we slid under each set of ramps to determine if we could reach the drain plug and if the clearance provided was enough for basic under-car repair and maintenance. Finally, we evaluated the storage capabilities of each set to determine how easy they were to move around and put away.

When choosing a car ramp, consider the weight of your vehicle, the ground clearance, and the type of ramp you want to use (steel, resin, plastic, etc.). You will need to compare the ramp's weight capacity to the GVW of your vehicle. Lastly, you should always ensure that the ramp has a non-slip surface.

It is not recommended to use car ramps on uneven ground. Uneven ground can cause shifting or sliding, which could cause your car to fall off the ramp. Use your ramps on a flat, even surface.

Position the ramps on a flat surface and ensure they are stable. Slowly drive onto the ramps, stopping when the wheels reach the top; many have a stop wall to tell you when you've reached the end of a ramp. Once settled, set your parking brake and add wheel chocks behind the rear tires of your car. For added safety, it's a good idea to place jack stands beneath the pinch rails.

All ramps are not made equal. Some are designed for low-profile cars, others for high-clearance or heavy-duty vehicles. When purchasing your ramp, consider the vehicle(s) you own and what accommodations will need to be made. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations and make sure the ramp is appropriate for your vehicle.

Store car ramps in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. It is best practice to keep them clean and free of debris, which will help to keep traction for every use. Most importantly, you should always check them for wear or signs of damage before use to avoid any accidents during use.

This test was conducted in an environment that provided equal testing procedures for each product: the Car and Driver garage. Upon tallying our findings, we agreed that our test provided enough information to recommend picks to our readers.

Hearst Autos combines the talent, resources, and expertise of three of the largest, most influential automotive publications in the world. The Gear Team has tested a wide variety of automotive products, parts, accessories, and gear, such as EV Chargers, OBD-II Scanners, and GPS Trackers.

We get our hands on each and every product we test. Most products are purchased; some are supplied by manufacturers. We don't need to game SEO algorithms for traffic or promote lousy products solely to make a sale. We're more concerned with our legacy, our reputation, and the trust that our readers have in Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track to deliver honest opinions and expert evaluations.

Visit our Tested & Trusted page to see the very best in automotive gear. Read more about our product testing and evaluation process here.

Katherine Keeler is an Assistant Testing Editor at Hearst Autos. By day she evaluates tools for your enjoyment; by night, she Frankenstein's her ever changing fleet of rust-bucket-oddities back to repair. Her dream is to open a roadside attraction where the public can view, drive, and learn repairs at her emporium of curious cars.

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Things to Consider When Purchasing Car Ramps How We Evaluated Car Ramps RhinoRamp MAX Black Widow PSR295 Race Ramps RR-56 Black Widow Hydraulic Ramp Donext How do I choose the right car ramp for my vehicle? Can I use car ramps on uneven ground? How do I safely use car ramps? Can I use car ramps for all types of cars? How should I store my car ramps? Why Trust Us