how to use jack stands

How To Properly Use Jack Stands in 9 Easy Steps

There are a lot of unfortunate events about men being crushed under their cars. It's such a horrific accident especially if the cause is the lack of safety. These accidents involved using a jack for holding the car and not jack stands, or the improper use of jack stands while doing repair.


As a mechanic man, I find it very important to practice safety especially that these types of things shouldn't be discarded. So, I decided to put up a guide for everyone out there so you would know how to properly use jack stands.

Importance of Jack Stands

If you're a self-mechanic, you should have a sturdy car jack with support stands. The car jack would be utilized for installing a new muffler, changing the oil, doing various suspensions or steering work, rotating tires and replacing a transmission or a clutch. The typical jack is hardly of any use, they can be risky when you try to lift a car. A support stand is needed because you can't use the, for major repair works.

Jack stands, on the other hand, are designed to hold a raised vehicle's weight. These are towered or tripod-like in shape. It is normally placed under the vehicle frame to give support to an elevated car. Jack stands have particular weight capacity. With the help of the jack, the stands are put in place to support the vehicle.

Considerations When Buying a Jack Stand

1. Variety in Stand Material

Jack stands are made from several types of materials. The ones which are made of aluminum are usually the light weight ones and for small load capacity vehicles only. The jack stands meant for heavy loaded vehicles are made of cast iron or steel.

how to use jack stands

2. Variety in Fixed Height

The car jacks’ height should be fixed if it's going to be used for the same vehicle. They are not portable yes but they are efficient. These types of jack stands lack movable parts so tear and wear is not seen.

3. Variety in Adjustable Height

There are jack stands that are adjustable for your desired height. One of the most popular jack stand is the tripod stand which has a gauged column for height adjusting. The ratchet sets the height.

Materials You Need to Follow this Guide

  • Vehicle Owner Manual
  • Jack Stands
  • Wheel Chocks
  • Floor Jack
  • Blocks of Wood or Spare Tire

Important Things to Remember Before Doing the Tutorial

1. Always Refer to Owner Manual

Don't just use jack stand without thinking about the recommended jack usage. You can refer to the vehicle's owner manual for this information. Most SUV, truck and car owners usually use jack and jack stands for changing a flat tire.

Verify where the location of the jack stand supports is. There is a recommended location of where you should place the jack and it's different in every vehicle. If you are driving an SUV or a passenger car, the location is usually noted by an arrow located the vehicle's side. This is for leverage and safety purposes.

You should also verify the maximum weight capacity of jack stands and jack. Some manufacturers will place a jack that is portable however you should still verify its maximum weight capacity.

2. The Jack is for Lifting, Jack Stand for Support

Remember on what instance you should jack and jack stand, but the most important thing is you should use them together. Most cars don't come with a secondary jack stand, the style of jack should be for tire replacement only. If you use the jack for other purposes, it should be accompanied with an equally sized jack stand. Remember too, if you go under the vehicle to do some repairs, always use both a jack and a jack stand to support the vehicle.

Step-by-Step Guide on Using a Jack Stand

A jack stand is a common tool that is used for those who have repairs or work to do under the vehicle. Putting your vehicle on a jack stand will result to either a successful repair or maintenance or a tragic accident. To avoid potential disaster while doing a mechanical repair, you can follow the guide I prepared for you.

Step 1. Locate a Level Workplace

Remember to avoid jacking up your vehicle on an uneven surface or an incline plane. Make sure that you're going to do your repairs on a level workspace. The area under your vehicle should be firmly supported and correctly paved.

Step 2. Consult Owner's Manual

Your vehicle comes with the owner's manual. It has a lot of information about the safety procedures you can do when you are going to raise your vehicle off the ground.

Step 3. Find "Curb Weight". The jack stand should be rated for that weight.

The jack stand you are going to use should have an enough safety rating for your truck's size. This information can be found in the owner's manual or on the door jamb's plaque.

Step 4. Set Your Vehicle's Parking Brake

Setting the vehicle's parking brake will prevent it from rolling while it's supported by the jack stand. Additionally, use wheel chocks on the front and rear sides of the wheels opposite to where you will lift. This will prevent your vehicle from moving backward or forward. A car which lurches backward or forward will fall of the jack stand. This will either injure you or kill you.

Why are chocks important? It is important when the rear wheels are already lifted because parking brakes usually sets on the rear wheels. If you don't use a chock, the front wheels might roll even if the parking brake is on.

Step 5. Use the Floor Jack for Lifting the Car

Other vehicles comes with a scissor jack or a standard jack and a wrench ship. However, these are not for standard use but for emergency tire changes only. Use a floor jack which is a generic jack for the regular jobs you're going to do, it is used to effectively lift all vehicles. Remember to use the jack on a level and solid surface like a concrete. Don't use it on wet ground, soil or hot asphalt since the vehicle's weight can lead to the jack sinking into the ground. The car then will fall off if they slip.

Step 6. Install the Jack Stand Under a the Vehicle Frame's Structural and Solid Piece

Most of the user manual have information about where to exactly support the vehicle using the jack stands. Generally, you can find a small divot in the chassis where the jack stand can be put. Remember no to put the jack stand under the vehicle's floorboards. The jack might break through the floor. Also, avoid putting the jack stand on the vehicle's moving part like the element of suspension.

Step 7. Take out Initial Jack. Repeat Process for the Vehicle's Other Side

A lot of professionals recommend that you should use at least two jack stands that have the same height so the support on the vehicle is equal on both sides.

Step 8. Test the Jack Stand

If the jack stands are already in place, try to lightly push the vehicle using your hand to check if it shakes or moves. Push from the rear and both sides. If the vehicle moves or shakes, reorient the car until it's already stable.

Step 9. Add Backup Safety Objects

Wheel chocks and jack stands can provide good stability, but you have to be extra careful because your line will be on the line. To add more safety, raise the jack under the car, and make sure it's on a solid point. You can also put blocks of woods or spare tire with rim so the car will be caught if it falls.

You can also check out this video tutorial

Don’t disregard your safety if you’re doing some repairs on your vehicle. If you already purchased a jack stand, better to put it in good use. Always take precaution when using it, it has its functions but it can also malfunction of you don’t follow some safety precautions. Better safe than sorry, right?

I hope you learned a lot from this article. My goal is to inform and remind every self-mechanic out there to use tools properly especially that it can lead to either the success of the repair operation or a horrendous accident.

About the Author Vince Martin

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