Hi there, today, I want us to look at how to put a car on 4 jack stands to enable you to work underneath safely.
A common question I get is, “How safe is it working under a car supported with jack stands and no lift?” it is never a 100% safe, but when done right, you can make it as safe as it can get.
The first important thingis to know how to put the car on 4 jacks stands properly and this is what we are looking at.
Since we are looking at raising a car and nesting it securely on 4 jack stands, the obvious requirements are the car itself, four jack stands (correct for the car’s curb weight), Level ground, quality floor jack, wheel chocks/locks- preferably rubber, plastic, metal or wooden. Spare tires, and or wooden blocks.
Read the Owner’s Manual
The owner’s manual is the best source of information on the safe practices for raising the car off the ground. Here, you can confirm the location of the Safe Lift Points and ascertain the car’s curb weight. This helps in selecting the right jack stands rated for that weight.
The other manual you can read is the lifting and supporting equipment’s manual for how to properly use and fasten them.
Identify a Level Ground to Park
You have to identify a flat plane to work from. Working on a jacked vehicle on an incline is placing your self at risk. Make sure that the ground is even, level and firm. This can be any surface from paved ground, asphalt or grass. For asphalt or grass, thick plywood is needed to prevent sinking.
Once you have parked the car, ensure to apply the parking brake. This prevents rolling when you start work.
With the car in place, assemble the lifting and supporting gear, ready to start. Ensure that everything required is reachable. Here, one important advice I give is to have someone else around.
Your friend can come in handy when you work. At the least, he or she will keep you company and hand you the tools and in case of an emergency, call 911, possibly saving your life.
Lifting the Car and Installing the Jack Stands
When you are ready to lift the car, place the transmission in “gear” or in “park”. To lift the car,use a quality floor jack, like a hydraulic trolley jack. Try not to use the standard jack that comes with the car since it is meant for emergency tire changes.
Place the jack on a solid jacking point, in the center of the front suspension or frame, then jack up the car.
Using the information from the car’s user’s manual, identify the safe lift points (small divots in the chassis near the wheels) to place the jack stands.
Gently lower the jack until the car rests on the stands and repeat the same process for the rear part of the car. Of note, ensure that the jack stands are set and locked on equal heights.
It’s important to do a test on the stability of the mount before going under. To test, push against the car from both sides, front and back. If it moves or shakes, jack up that corner and readjust the jack stands, repeat this until you are satisfiedthat the car is stable.
Because safety is of utmost importance, it is wise to put in additional safety measures. Raise the jack under a solid point on the side you will be working from.Have it closely touching but not supporting the weight of the car- this is the work of the jack stands.
You can also place spare tires or wooden blocks to catch the car incase of an accident.
- Never go underneath a lifted car with only a jack for support- use jack stands.
- Never use jack stands on wet ground, loose soil, or hot asphalt for risk of sinking.
- Never place a jack stand under the floorboards or moving parts.
Having gone through the steps of putting a car on jack stands, I believe that you can now confidently go at it by your self. Word of caution though, if you are not sure, get a professional to do it for you.