What Are Jack Stands And Why You Need One
So, you have decided that you need to use a jack to lift your vehicle? Perhaps you need to change a tire? Maybe you thought it would be good to change your own oil? You have seen a jack. How hard can it be?
Then there are whispers of some strange term, whispers of the words “jack stands”.
“Jack stands?” You ask yourself.
In your head you can hear a very long “ummmm…” sound.
Well enough of the suspense, here is what you need to know.
What Is A Jack Stand?
Basically, a jack stand is a fixed, stable support, that is placed underneath your vehicle when you have used the jack to lift it up. The jack stand is often tripod, or tower shaped, and is intended to prevent the vehicle from falling should the floor jack fail.
A floor jack may look like such a rugged, stable piece of equipment; however, they are actually only intended to temporarily lift your vehicle. All floor jacks, no matter how good they may be, have the potential ability to fail. If you are planning on working underneath your vehicle, or intend to keep it raised for some time; you should use a jack stand to provide support and stability to your raised vehicle.
Why Do You Need Jack Stands?
A 1998 research paper, by the US National Center for Statistics, estimated that approximately 5,000 people are injured every year as a result of jack collapse. Surprisingly, one-fifth of them were injured as a result of attempting to change a tire.
Using a jack stand may be the difference between a day like any other day, or one which you may wish had never happened.
If you plan on working underneath your vehicle, a jack stand is a must.
How Are Jack Stands Connected To Floor Jacks?
So, what is the connection between a jack stand and a floor jack? The floor Jack is the device used to raise the height of the vehicle. With floor jacks this will often be done using a hydraulic pump.
A jack stand is not intended to raise or lower a vehicle; it is intended to be a fixed support stabilizing the vehicle once it has been raised. If you want to, you could create an unstable tower of wooden blocks to do the same job, but where safety is concerned, why risk such a Mickey Mouse contraption, when there are jack stands that have been designed to do the job better, safer and more efficiently.
How To Use Jack Stands
Use a floor jack to raise the vehicle to the required height. In the case of changing a tire you will want to make sure that you have left several inches of clearance, as the replacement tire is likely to have a greater height.
The manufacturers of your vehicle will have placed jack mounting points on the underside of your vehicle beneath the car doors. If you are unsure what these are or where to find them your vehicle owner’s manual should provide you with the information you need. Failing that, a few clicks of a mouse button should also easily provide you with the information you need.
Place the jack stand on a flat, hard, stable surface directly beneath the jack mounting point of your raised vehicle.
Raise the jack stand so that it comes into contact with the jack mounting point on the underside of your vehicle.
Lock the jack stand in place using the locking pin or mechanism provided on your jack stand. If your jack stands use a series of holes on the lifting bar, for the locking pin to pass through, you may need to. There is a good chance that the hole will not be placed at exactly the height you require, in which case slowly lower the bar to the next hole available.
Once the jack stand, or stands, are in place, you will need to slowly lower the vehicle onto your jack stand/s.
Once the vehicle is resting on the jack stand/s, you should gently give your vehicle a push, using only your hand, to make sure that it is secure and stable. If the vehicle shakes you will need to read lift the vehicle using a floor jack and rearrange the jack stand, repeating the process until the vehicle is stable.