Working on a 4 door sedan in the garage.

Need to go under the car to replace the ABS module.

Right now I can reach most of the screws, but if I could get just a few more inches of clearance it would help a lot.

Would over inflating the tires work or putting the front wheels on 2X4's?

...or are there any other safe methods?

Are wood planks equivalent to wood blocks, anything unsafe with this set-up, I tried pushing the car around, nothing seems to be moving:

enter image description here

  • 4
    The wood planks give you another failure mode compared to blocks-the planks can slip between themselves. That doesn't seem likely as long as the car is reasonably flat. In either case you should block the other wheels so the car doesn't slip off the wood. Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:31
  • 2
    The planks aren't too likely to slip with the car on them, especially on a flat surface – but it is never a bad idea to block the wheels. Where you need to worry with planks like this is when you're driving onto them. You may kick one of them out. A couple of nails or screws would help with that.
    – dlu
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:36
  • 3
    Why not just buy a jack and a couple of axle stands? When you do get a set of axle stands make sure they will hold your car and what ever you get in the future (I bought a set that can hold 3 tonnes despite my car being just 2 tonnes). Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 8:42

3 Answers 3


You're not likely to be able to get inches by over inflating the tires, and if you try you're likely to exceed the design pressure and run the risk of popping the tire off of the rim. That would be dramatic.

Things you don't want to do:

  • Trust a jack of any kind when you're working underneath the car.
  • Trust concrete (cinder) blocks (they may be ok if they are oriented so that the load is taken in compression; they are not ok when the load is applied to the unsupported sides).

Thinks that are likely to be safe:

  • A properly supported jack stand. On many the load bearing area is small and they can sink into soft surfaces such as dirt or hot asphalt.
  • Wood blocks under the tires or the frame - as long as they are stable. Jack up the car and place the wood and the lower the car back onto it.
  • Parking over a depression in the ground.
  • Ramps designed for lifting a car to work under it.
  • are wood planks equivalent to wood blocks? please see update.
    – P.S.
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:24
  • 1
    Yes, that looks great. Just be aware that if the pieces of wood are light and small they may get kicked out as you climb up onto them. It would help to run them the other way and to arrange them in a ramp. Screws or nails wouldn't hurt either.
    – dlu
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:33
  • 5
    @dlu Jack up the car wheel, stack the wood under it, remove the jack. That's much safer than trying to drive up a woodpile!
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:25
  • 1
    @alephzero, great point. I've updated the answer.
    – dlu
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 21:47

I have in the past used the spare wheel laid flat to support a car after lifting it with the jack. especially when working on a dirt surface.

another trick is to drive one wheel up onto the curb, or park the car over some other natural hollow.

  • 4
    Being shadetree since birth; the second suggestion is exactly what I would suggest. I acutally had to buy a landlord a case of beer once because I got caught "over using" a particular parking lot depression that was almost as useful as the ancient grease pit. Seeing as how I didn't live there, a case of beer was well worth the price to a shadetree like myself. A bottle of whiskey and I think he would have blocked off the space if I gave him advance notice. All over a parking space that sucked otherwise as it flooded and froze over...
    – SteveRacer
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 3:26
  • @SteveRacer If you don't mind me asking, what is a shadetree?
    – Dent7777
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 13:56
  • 1
    @Dent7777 - a 'Shadetree Mechanic' is a person who does a lot automotive work without the support of a full on garage. Such a person may or may not be a trained mechanic, but because they are working without benefit of a custom facility, they often have to improvise on certain things. I believe the label comes from the habit of working in the shade of the largest tree you've got, because otherwise you're out in the sun. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:15

Ramps, like these; it's what they're made for. Just be sure to block the wheels to keep the car from rolling back down. I think the top platform has a small lip/depression to keep the wheel in place, but I wouldn't trust it.

enter image description here

  • 3
    A word to the wise, don't ask…, have somebody spotting for you as you drive up onto the ramps, it is all to easy to go too far. Also make sue that they are aligned with the wheels as you go up.
    – dlu
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 23:26
  • 3
    @dlu Yeah, they get the job done, but have their issues. Not good for cars with low ground clearance, air dams etc. which can create all sorts of clearance/interference problems getting the car up on them, they can slide along the ground (tires can push them rather than climb them), and as you point out, can easily go off the end, but better/safer than improvising from bits of lumber.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 0:33
  • Even if you can't drive up onto ramps (neither of my cars can do so due to clearance issues), you may still be able to use them by jacking up the car and shoving the ramps under the wheels. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:12

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