That’s the Jack Fact!
Do you love to work on your own car and the satisfaction of a job well done? Do you love the feel of a wrench in your hand and the smell of oil on your clothes? Do you love being crushed under 2 tons of steel, glass and plastic? Many of us who enjoy taking the repair and maintenance of our vehicles into our own hands fail to protect ourselves from a number of potential hazards to be found in and around a car.
This week, we want to discuss the importance of jack stand utilization.
A jack is a great tool for raising and lowering your vehicle and is a great emergency roadside tool in the event you need to change a tire. Outside of an emergency tire change, a jack should not be used to support your vehicle—that is what jack stands are for. Jack stands will provide your car with significantly more stability and will provide you with greater confidence when working underneath your vehicle.
Proper use of jack stands is imperative if you want to be able to comfortably and safely work under your car. We recommend the following procedures for jack stand usage:
1. Park your vehicle on a level and solid surface.
2. If you are forced to work on a soft surface (like asphalt), we recommend you place a sturdy piece of plywood at least ½” thick under the jack stands to help distribute the load evenly.
3. Make sure the car is in park (in gear for manual transmissions) and the emergency brake is set.
4. Place chocks on the wheels at the end of the car not being raised.
5. Use a good floor jack to raise the vehicle at the jacking point referenced in your owner’s manual. Make sure you avoid positioning yourself under the vehicle while raising and lowering.
6. Place the jack stands (adjusted to the appropriate height) under appropriate support points on your car. In most cases, the car’s frame will be sturdy enough; however, you should follow the recommendations contained in your owner’s manual. Make sure the saddles on the jack stands are shaped and positioned correctly to mate with the support points.
7. Slowly lower the vehicle until it is resting on the jack stands. When possible, leave the jack in the factory approved jacking location (just short of contact with the vehicle) as an extra measure of protection in the event that a jack stand fails.
8. Be sure to “shake” the car a bit to ensure that the jack stands are securely supporting the vehicle load before putting yourself underneath your car.
9. Once you have completed your work, simply reverse the above procedure in order to safely bring your vehicle back to rest.
10. Jack stands should not be used to simultaneously support both ends of the vehicle or just one side of the vehicle and you should NEVER exceed the load rating of your jack stands.
At StreetSideAuto.com, we appreciate all the do-it-yourselfers out there. We admire your efforts and we want you to be safe. Happy wrenching!