Ramps vs. jack stands

What to do to keep your car looking and running like new, inside and out.

Which should I get to do oil changes on my RX-8?

Poll ended at Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:59 am

A set of "low-profile" ramps
2
67%
Jackstands
1
33%
Why bother? Just take it to the dealer...
0
No votes
Dude, take it to pep boys. They'll do it for 10 dollars.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 3

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Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by Jastreb » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:59 am

I want to start doing my own oil changes. What accessory is the better option in your opinion. I have the additional consideration that I would like to get the car horizontal so I can drain as much oil out as possible. (Drain plug is in at the front of the pan." This may mean getting additional jack stands or cradles for the rear wheels.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by comingbackdown » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:21 am

Depends. Do you need low profile ramps?

I have jack stands AND ramps, but I put them to frequent use fixing my vehicles and everyone else's.

I recommend jack stands. Ramps can be... hazardous. Never once used ramps for an oil change, and ramps lift the front end higher, usually. Jack stands, you can go as low as possible as long as: A. You can still fit under the car, and B: The car is still off the ground.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by FDSpirit » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:32 am

I've got both. I have the stands because I do other work though. Every 2 oil changes, I rotate my tires. It wouldn't hurt to have some stands too. I also have wheel chocks. Then again, Harbor Freight stuff is dirt cheap, so I kinda go overboard :lol: .
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by Rope-Pusher » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:39 am

How much room is there under the car? I do most oil changes by just reaching underneath while the car is parked with all 4 wheels on the driveway. On some cars, it's easier to get to the filter from on top. I use an oil drain pan to catch what runs out of the oil drain in the pan and I augment that with the use of a cookie sheet for cases where the filter change doesn't have a clear drip path. I have an assortment of filter removal tools, because they come in all sizes and with differing access pathways. If you only have to deal with one particular vehicle, scope it out first and then buy a filter tool that will work for your situation.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by theholycow » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:41 am

comingbackdown wrote:Ramps can be... hazardous.
Can you elaborate? I think we've had this discussion before but I no longer remember why ramps can be hazardous.

I felt much more secure doing my project with the car on ramps than I would on stands. The car is very stable with all its weight on its own tires and the ramps are very stable; and the whole system is very stable. I did back it up with stands, I reinforced the sheet metal ramps with blocks, and I also piled wheels under the car but the heaviest wrenching and hammering and struggling never made the car budge...only dragging it off the ramps with the truck ever caused a problem.

For oil changes I don't bother with jacks or ramps, I just drive onto a couple layers of planks. I have short sections of 2x8, 2x10, and 2x12, and I put two layers (staggered so the tires only climb one layer at a time) under all four wheels. That gives my VW and my Buick plenty of clearance to work comfortably under the car (rather than pretending I'm Stretch Armstrong).

One could conceivably dig a shallow trench in the yard, find a narrow ditch to park over, or park one side of the car on a curb.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by Rope-Pusher » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:53 am

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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by cimbali » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:17 am

I like to use ramps for oil changes...but I always recommend a second device for saftey whether it be a full size spare tire under the frame rail or preferably a floor jack in the ready position at the front end of the car.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by watkins » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:19 am

I much prefer ramps. But my car does not fit on them, so I either drive on planks or jack it up.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by comingbackdown » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:04 pm

theholycow wrote:
comingbackdown wrote:Ramps can be... hazardous.
Can you elaborate? I think we've had this discussion before but I no longer remember why ramps can be hazardous.
Ever had a car roll over the front edge of a set of ramps, pop a hole in the rocker panels, and have to keep both feet planted firmly on the brake pedal for half an hour straight while whoever is assisting gets a jack under it to get it in the air before that neato ramp wheelie becomes a "fall on the ground and f**k your car up"?

It takes a bit more care to get an MT vehicle on ramps without having an oopsie.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by theholycow » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:12 pm

Ah, I see. I didn't have that, but I did pull it forward off the ramps with my truck accidentally. Luckily the damage was minimal. A lip under the rear quarter, which is not visible unless you lay on the ground, got a small slice and a frame rail got harmlessly bent up where it landed on a backup jack stand.

I'll have to remember to give extra attention to the possibility of the car rolling over the front limit stop on the ramps when I put it on them next.

I found it quite easy getting onto the ramps with the manual transmission, but it seems that the clutch came out really nice. :D

The other day I went to put a jack stand under the car and whacked it against the rocker panel, leaving a ding. :(
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by comingbackdown » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:29 pm

Yeah... I consider that possibility every time I even think about using ramps... Talk about pucker factor high... That 30 minutes was equivalent of a 30 minute aerobic workout. My heart rate was in the speed metal range.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by Rope-Pusher » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:45 pm

comingbackdown wrote:Yeah... I consider that possibility every time I even think about using ramps... Talk about pucker factor high... That 30 minutes was equivalent of a 30 minute aerobic workout. My heart rate was in the speed metal range.
Driving off the front of the ramps is for sissies. I know a guy who drove off the front of a car hauler truck during a snow squall. He got up some extra speed to make it up the slippery ramps and found it was just as slippery up top. He wasn't physically injured, but he was somewhat shaken up. They gave him the rest of the day off.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by theholycow » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:50 pm

Rope-Pusher wrote:Driving off the front of the ramps is for sissies. I know a guy who drove off the front of a car hauler truck during a snow squall.
Meh, that's for sissies. I know a guy who backed a pickup off a parking lot cliff with a 6 foot drop to railroad tracks. True, it's not as high as the car hauler, but the car hauler didn't have railroad tracks running along its front end.

Somewhere there exists a photo of it. I wish I could find that photo.
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by Jastreb » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:00 pm

Rope-Pusher wrote:How much room is there under the car?
My car has like 4.5'' of ground clearance, so i definitely need to get it up in the air. Plus I have to undo 4-5 fasteners that hold on an oil pan cover. What do you guys think of rolling the front onto ramps, and then using a jack + a pair of jack stands to raise the back, to get the car level? (naturally only after chocking the front wheels)
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Re: Ramps vs. jack stands

Post by theholycow » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:04 pm

Sounds like overkill, but if you don't mind the extra work then it should work fine.
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