Accidents do happen. At times, when working on the car, the unthinkable happens and the car falls off the jack stands. What do you do in this instance? Several things need to be done depending on the situation at hand. Whether someone is injured or not, these steps should set you straight.
In case of an injury
God forbid that the car falls off with someone under. It can be you or someone else. What should be done here? If you are alone, the first thing you should do isto call 911. In most instances, we usually work with our phones in the pocket. If you can reach it, please make the call and try to shout out for help.
If it is someone else under the vehicle, call 911 and then try to jack the car up. If you have any first aid skills, please go ahead and administer as you wait for the emergency services to arrive.
Depending on the severity of the injuries,observe caution when moving him or her, lest you aggravate the situation.
Check the Jack Stand
Is the jack stand broken? If so, it might have been of low quality or had seen better days, either way, it’s a health risk. Ensure that the jack used is of high quality since you are betting you limbs and life on it.
Raise it again
In a situation where no one was hurt, you can proceed to raise the vehicle again. After inspecting the jack stand,and it is faulty, replace it immediately. Use quality jack stands that are of the right load capacity (the jack stand should have a load capacity that is double the car’s curb weight).
Follow these steps when jacking up the car:
- Study the car owner’s manual to ascertain the curb weight. This will inform on the right jack stands to use.
- Ensure that the car is on a hard flat surface, clear of debris.
- Fully engage the parking brakes and place the gear lever in the park (automatic cars) or gear (manual vehicles) and add some wheel chokes.
- Identify the safe lift points on the car from the owner’s manual and use a quality floor jack.
- Employ at least two jack stands to prevent the car from rolling off.
Check the Stability
There is an unwritten rule in jacking up a vehicle. “Never ever go under a vehicle that is not held up by jack stands.” It is important to follow protocol when raising the car up and inspect the vehicle’s stability.
After lowering the floor jack and the vehicle is resting on the jack stands, inspect theirstability by shaking them.Shake the vehicle too with your hands to see if it wobbles. If it does, raise the vehicle afresh and reset the jack stands.
Extra Safety Measures
This includes placing wheel chocks to prevent the vehicle from moving once it is jacked up. The other thing you should do is to use tires with rims. These, you place beneath the car, close to the jack stands, to catch the vehicle in case of a repeat accident.
Inspect the Vehicle for Damages
Your inspection should be done immediately to ascertain the extent of the damage. If there is any, it will be immediately apparent. Get a good mechanic to look at the car starting with possible cracks on the brake rotor. It is very important to correct this because if the damage is extensive, the wheel could suddenly lock up while driving.
With that done, you can do a wheel alignment just to reset everything in order. The drop could have knocked it out of alignment.
Call Your Insurance
If there was damage to the car, you can call your insurance and file a claim. The claim will be a collision claim, and collision deductibles will apply.
To prevent future accidents, it is advisable to set a few things straight. For one, get the procedure of raising a vehicle onto jack stands straight. Secondly, procurea quality floor jack and jack stands.
It is advisable not to use the standard jacks that come with the car for they are preferred for emergency tire changes only.
If in doubt, consult a qualified mechanic to help you in the future. Be safe.