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Tips for Buying a Mechanic's Creeper

Padded undercar creepers are worth the investment, even for amateur mechanics. You’ll enjoy changing the oil and working on the engine more when you’re comfortable.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

What's the difference?

If your idea of changing your own oil is to grab a piece of cardboard and slide under the car, it’s time to get with the program: Save your back and invest in a creeper. They range in price from $20 to $200, but you don’t need to spend a fortune. You can get a darn good creeper for $50 to $100. Here are the four features to look for in a creeper:

1. A sturdy backboard reduces stress on your upper and lower back muscles. Economy models are built with a thin sheet of plywood. Look for a reinforced backboard that will support your back and shoulders.

2. Steel wheels make for rough riding and they get stuck in every crack. Rolling off your creeper to free up a stuck wheel is a real drag. Shop for a creeper that has urethane ball-bearing wheels.

3. Make the best use of limited workspace with a low-profile design. Recessed wheels get you closer to the ground and give you more room to maneuver tools and parts.

4. Wood creepers absorb oil, coolant and fluids, making every spill last a lifetime. Instead, look for a creeper with a heavy-duty chemical- and oil-resistant fabric and firm padding.

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