You might be surprised to know that one of the most important safety products in a garage is also the one that many people overlook. We’re talking about wheel chocks. When your car or truck is jacked up or on car ramps, chocks prevent it from rolling. Just because your vehicle is in gear or has the emergency brake applied, there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. Think of wheel chocks as a backup safety device the same way we use jack stands even though a floor jack may be supporting the vehicle. Even the best wheel chocks are inexpensive and will last you for years.
The reason chocks are often taken for granted is because it’s easy to overlook something that prevents an accident in the first place. Some people will simply use bricks or blocks of wood behind the tires thinking it’s enough but is it really worth it to save $10-$20 when the bricks could get crushed and the wood could slip? Simply put, wheel chocks are the cheapest of insurance.
Whether you’re looking for your first pair of wheel chocks or replacing an old set, a few things need to be considered.
The size of the wheel chock is important, because choosing one too small for your tire can mean your vehicle simply rolling over it. The generally accepted rule is to make sure the height of the chock is equal to a quarter of the full height of your tire. So, if you have a 16” tire, for example, you want to make sure your chock is at least 4” high.
Wheel chocks are made from a variety of materials, including, wood, hard plastic, and rubber. All of them do the same basic function, but choosing the correct one is based on what surface it will be used on. The smooth base plastic chocks will increase the chance of slippage on paved surfaces, so if you’re working on pavement, we’d recommend a rubber chock, with a tread on the underside. Chocks should always be used in pairs. Sometimes these pairs are connected with rope for easy removal, but often they are sold as separate units.
Chock safety is directly related to how level your work surface is. On an even surface when the vehicle is on a jack or ramps, the pressure placed on the chocks increases because your vehicle is tilted up at an angle. So, an uneven surface (ie: sloped driveway) can increase the chock pressure even further, resulting in the possibility of your vehicle overrunning the chocks. To avoid this, make sure you have large enough chocks or that the work area is level.
Whether you’re using a floor jack, jack stands, or ramps, you should always chock the tires that are making contact with the ground. The parking brake is usually linked to the rear wheels, so, anytime those are off the ground you can’t rely on the parking brake. If your front tires are on a ramp, make sure both rear tires have chocks behind them.
Wheel chocks serve an important but often overlooked function in keeping you safe. Properly sized and placed chocks will prevent your vehicle from rolling during builds or maintenance. When you purchase a good set of wheel chocks, you are making a direct investment in your safety that should easily last you many years.
In our opinion, rubber wheel chocks are the best to use in almost all cases. They are the most secure and non-slip on smooth surfaces which is what most people will be using them on. Here are our two favorite wheel chocks:
Ernst Manufacturing 980 – Best for compact cars to small trucks. Inexpensive set of 2.
Race Ramps RR-WC – Best for mid-size cars to SUVS and mid-size trucks. Heavy duty set of 4.
RV, Camper, and Trailer Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks for RVs, campers, and trailers in general are similar to car/truck models although they tend to be a bit larger and more heavy duty in some cases due to the extra weight they need to be able to hold. The best RV wheel chocks are the “X” type which are placed in between wheels for ultimate stability. They will get rid of the typical rocking and swaying when walking inside the camper. For your recreational vehicle needs, we highly recommend the X-Shock wheel stabilizers. Find more information about them HERE.
Motorcycle Wheel Chocks
A wheel chock for a motorcycle serves a different purpose. Instead of safety being the prime benefit, transportation stability is its main purpose. While the wheel chock will keep your bike from rolling, it’s designed to keep it upright and securely in place. The best motorcycle wheel chock will include all necessary parts to allow it to be easily mounted in your truck bed, trailer, or floor. Keep in mind that some models may not be wide enough for dirt bikes or sports bikes.
A favorite of motorcycle enthusiasts is the Condor PSTK 6400. It’s a bit spendy but if you want the best, check out more info on the Condor wheel chock HERE.
For another good and less expensive option, the MaxxHaul 70075 is also quite popular. You can get additional info about it HERE.