If you drive a lowered car, sports car or own a race car it can be a bit of a pain anytime you want to jack it up to work underneath it as standard jacks are often too high to slide under the jacking points. The simple solution is to buy a low profile jack, but they're quite expensive. A cost-effective alternative is to make yourself a set of custom car ramps out of wood, and you can do this for well under £/€20 plus you get to go and tinker in the shed for a few hours!
How to make your own DIY car ramps:
What you'll need:
- Long wood screws
- Wood glue
- Drill & bits
- Saw - preferably circular
- Measuring tape
- Safety goggles
Measure twice - cut once! Before you go out and buy a load of wood it's a good idea to take a few measurements off your car first so that you can work out how much you're going to need so you don't waste money buying too much, or indeed too little. First measure the width of your tyres, the wood you buy needs to be wider. Then measure from the centre line of your wheel back to the jacking point. (measurement 'A' in the diagram below) This will be the length of your longest piece. Lastly, measure from the ground to the underside of your front bumper. (Measurement 'B') Measurement 'B' dictates how steeply angled your ramps can be and will be affected by the length of the front overhang on your particular car. The ramps we made were for an e46 BMW on 205 wide tyres. The wood we bought was 10" x 2" which comes in an 8-foot length (244cm) - we bought 2. The measurements used were as follows:
- Bottom section: 76cm (x2)
- Middle section: 54cm (x2)
- Top section: 30cm (x2)
When you add all these up it comes to a total of 320cm so we knew we'd have plenty of wood left if we did make a mistake.
Mark out all the different cut lines on your pieces of wood. You can either cut them all at 90 degrees first, then cut off the 45-degree angles or you can do what we did and cut at 45 degrees first. If you're doing that, bear in mind that not all of the cuts will be 45 degrees. See the diagram below. If you're using a circular saw like we did, make sure you throw on a pair of safety goggles. Once you have all the sections cut to length, you should have 2 of each piece. Lay them out side by side to check that the lengths all match up. Now is a good time to go over each piece quickly with some sandpaper to remove any rough edges. Next, you're going to fix the bottom and middle sections together. Apply a generous portion of wood glue to the underside of the shorter middle section, taking care not to get it too close to the edges so it doesn't squeeze out. Ideally, clamp the two pieces together, you'll need 2 or 3 screws, evenly spaced, drill small countersink holes about 2mm deep with a large drill bit, then join the 2 pieces together with your screws. Remove the clamps and repeat the process with the top section. Take note of where the screws are positioned that join the bottom and middle sections so that you put the ones joining the top to the middle sections in a different place. We made a 'stop' for the top section of the ramp from an offcut and attached it in the same way with countersunk screws. All that's left to do now is go and test out your new creation! For longevity, it would be a good idea to treat the wood with a varnish or stain, just try and use something that isn't too glossy as you don't want to reduce the grip levels and make it harder for the car to drive up the ramps. If all that sounds like way too much effort you can check out our range of off-the-shelf car ramps, jacks & axle stands here!