Unless you're okay with the thought of having a serious backache every time you need to check the parts underneath your ride, you have to do yourself a favor and start looking for a good-quality creeper. But, with the lots of choices out there, you may be confused as to which one will serve you best and will offer the greatest possible value for your hard-earned bucks. If you still find it hard to make a decision, here are some helpful tips:
Know the advantages of each type of creeper and go for the unit that will give you the most benefit.
Creepers come in different types, and each of them has its own share of advantages.
Plastic creepers are light and portable, so you can easily carry them from one place to another. Even if you're very particular with the weight of the components you add in your car, you won't mind stacking such a creeper in your trunk knowing that it's super lightweight. Bone-shaped creepers are designed with larger wheels that allow smooth rolling on irregular surfaces. Such creepers are perfect for a DIYer with an average height. Foldable creepers, on the other hand, are easy to store as they won't eat up much space in your garage or in the vehicle's trunk. Some foldable types come with headrest and can even work as a stool when you need to work on your brakes or wheels.
Consider the floor clearance.
A creeper with lower floor clearance allows you to creep on tight openings, making you capable of checking even hard-to-reach areas. Lower clearance also translate to more room for you to maneuver well, particularly when you're reaching for your tools and doing some tasks where you need to move your hands a lot.
Make sure the backboard is sturdy and comfy on your back.
It will be your back that will be in direct contact with the creeper, so it's important to make sure that its backboard is strong enough to support you while you do your thing under the vehicle. Besides being sturdy, the backboard should also be comfortable enough and must not cause stress on the muscles of your upper and lower back. The bottom line is to choose a creeper with a reinforced and padded backboard that will properly and comfortably hold your back and shoulders even for long hours.
The creeper's wheels matter, too.
You may not think that they're important, but the wheels should also be considered when selecting a creeper to purchase. Wheels with urethane ball bearings are better than steel wheels as the latter can get stuck on floor cracks. Bigger wheels ensure smooth rolling, and they won't easily get caught up on loose stones. Recessed wheels are also advisable as they ensure lower ground clearance, so you have more room to move comfortably.
Choose a creeper with wear- and oil-resistant fabric or material.
Creepers made from wood usually absorb coolant, oil, and other fluids, so every spill you make can stay on the wood and possibly damage it in the long run. Since you will be spending your hard-earned money, better get one that's designed to be resistant to grease, fuel, and other automotive fluids as well as chemicals. If the creeper comes with a padding, it should be wear- and oil-resistant too.