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I recently went from owning an SUV as my primary vehicle to owning a Corolla iM hatchback. This car gets amazing gas mileage but in order to do that, it sits very close to the ground. This lack of ground clearance is not unique to this vehicle. It seems a great many of these fuel efficient sporty compacts sit only a few inches off the ground.

The lack of ground clearance didn’t become so apparent until the day I had to change my oil. My old ramps won’t fit under the front air dam and getting a floor jack under it is awkward. Not to mention now I have to tote a floor jack, two jackstands, and a wheel chock if I want to safely get the car up high enough to change the oil. Ummm no!

I raided a local construction dumpster and scrounged up some 2x6 plank scraps and furring strip scrap. A rummage through the random screw drawer at home and some wood glue and wallah! Car ramps in 30 min!

No place to scrounge wood near you? No big deal. The wood needed to build this should cost you about $13 at the local mega hardware store. Don’t despair if you cant find the exact same stuff I used. 2x6 worked for me but you can use 2x8, 2x10, and even 2x12 as well. Sometimes scraps of suitable size are left behind in crawl spaces under homes that have had floor joists repaired. The construction site dumpster isn't your only source. The furring strip material can be substituted by numerous other wood materials if you have a saw. Scrap dog ear planks from a wood fence install can work nicely for example.

These ramps are intended to get your car up just enough to easily change your oil. Being made of solid wood planks, I personally trust them more than the cheap stamped steel ramps commonly sold at discount stores.

Step 1:

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Tools and skills needed to complete this task.

Besides suitable wood, you’ll need a way to cut wood (circular saw, sabre saw, reciprocating saw, or even an old fashioned handsaw), wood glue, a measuring tape or yard stick, (8) 3”-3.25” wood screws, aprox (20) small finishing nails at least 1.25” long, a hammer or nail gun to drive them, and ideally a drill with proper bits to pre-drill the holes for the wood screws and run them down. The screws can be run down by hand but it is quite labor intensive.

My choice of power tools was a Ryobi 18+ cordless circular saw, drill, and nailgun. Having the power tools made this a quick job.

As far as skills required, this is an entry level project. Precision is not needed. If you can safely operate a circular saw, drill, and nailgun you are ok. The nailgun can be skipped and just do it the old fashioned way with a hammer.

Don't forget the safety glasses!! You only get to poke your eye out twice in this lifetime!

MrPapaya6 months ago
I'm planning to build these to go along with the "compact car jack stands" I already built. (wood & hockey puck). I think I would just make the top most section longer so there is less worry about rolling off the ramps. Perhaps just make some extra sections of 2x8 piled three-high. You could use the inclined ramps to drive onto these sections, then just remove the inclined sections.

There is a whole market wide open for Craftsman or whoever to make jack stands and ramps that fit under low cars.
gotcha6401 year ago
I beveled the front edges of all the steps, and eventually got bored enough to make a jig on the table saw and cut them closer to 30 degrees. Much easier to tell when I'm at the top. I also cut a piece of 1x2 to correctly space them apart.

Great Idea! My minivan always scrapes a little when I use regular ramps.