We all know what a jack stand is, and we know its use. But do you know how to properly fix one under your car? What are the steps taken to see to it that the car is safe enough for you to go under? These are questions that we will be addressing here, enabling you to securely and effectively use a jack stand.
Effective use of a Jack Stand
Know the Weight Load
The first and most important thing to know is that each jack stand has its weight load. For you to use a jack stand for its intended purpose, you need to know its weight load. Use half of the same. This is to say, a jack stand with a weight load of 6 tons should be used on a 3 tons vehicle (maximum) for safety purposes.
Use on Hard Flat Surface
Select a hard flat surface, preferably one that is paved or concrete, to work on. A hard surface ensures that there is no risk of sinking under the weight of the car while the flatness is for even distribution of the car’s weight.
In a situation where there is no hard surface, asphalt can do. Where there is soil, use strong plywood, at least ½” in thickness, placed under the jack stands.
Parking the car
When preparing to raise the car, park it with the parking brake fully engaged. For an automatic vehicle, have the gear in the park while for a manual vehicle; the gear should be engaged- never in neutral.
Use of Wheel Chocks/ Locks
There are different kinds of wheel chocks, wooden, plastic, metallic, or rubber. Any of these can be used. After parking the car, lock the wheels by using these to prevent wobbling or rolling off when raising the vehicle.
This is an important precaution to observe always, especially so, if the rear wheels are raised, since the parking breaks work only on the wheels at the back.
Quality Floor Jack
To employ the jack stands; you will need to raise the car. It is important that the jack you use is of good quality. Read the jack’s manual and run tests on it to ensure that it functions perfectly. This can be done by use of your hand or foot, raise it up and press down on it. If it is not holding, replace it.
Safety Jack Points
These are the designated points on the car where it is safe to lift. By going through the car’s owner’s manual, you can easily identify these points and any other safety precautions necessary for lifting the car. For your information, the jack pointsare divots located near the wheels on the chassis.
At no point should you position either the floor jack or the jack stands on a movable part or under the floorboards. This will result in breaking through the floor.
Use Jack Stands as a pair
After raising the vehicle using your floor jack, affix two jack stands with the same height for even weight distribution. Do this by raising one side at a time, or raising the vehicle using a center located safe jack point.
Always lower the floor jack gently onto the jack stand to avoid unnecessary strain on it.
Test your handy work after fixing the jack stands.Give each of them a shake and also shake the car itself. This is to ensure that it is secure and immovable.
Since you can never be too secure, it is advisable to employ some extra safety measures. What I do is, I place tires with rims or wooden board close to the jack stands to catch the car in case of an incident.
Using jack stands is not complicated. It is, however, a risky affair if not done effectively. Following the steps above will ensure that you have covered all the bases. Remember- floor jacks should never be used instead of jack stands.