how to put a car on jack stands

Jack stands are a must-have item in any driver’s arsenal as they can be invaluable in many situations that you may encounter on the road. Even if you are a novice and you plan to use a professional’s help for anything problem you can, having jack stands at your disposal is still crucial for those rare occasions when you might not have a choice.

With that in mind, you also obviously need to know how to put a car on jack stands. Most of the experienced car owners among us won’t need this guide but they will attest to its importance – too many accidents have happened by people trying to get underneath a vehicle with just a car jack and with no jack stands.

So, how to use jack stands and what exactly are these devices? The simple answer is that jack stands are sturdy stands that are capable of withstanding the weight – or a portion of the weight – of an entire vehicle and that are meant to be placed underneath it once it has been lifted by a car jack. Jack stands can’t be used to lift the vehicle but only to support it so having both a car jack and a pair of jack stands is a must.

Safety first

As with a car jack, using jack stands is 100% safe when done correctly but can lead to a lot of accidents because too many people fail to notice when there is a problem with the jack stands or simply use them incorrectly. So, before we go into where to place jack stands and how to use them, let’s go over the safety tips first:

  1. Make sure the car is safely parked. Whether you’re on the road on in your garage, there are safety concerns with the position of your vehicle. On the road, in particular, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve parked your car in accordance with the U.S. road rules and your state’s particular safety rules. In short, always make sure that you’re not in the way of the traffic and that you’re not in a position that might cause an accident. Always make sure that you don’t stop near road turns or crossroads.
  2. If you’ve had to stop in traffic, always use your car’s hazard lights as well as flares, cones, or pylons to help prevent accidents.
  3. Whatever you do, if you’re going to use a car jack and/or jack stands, your car should always be 100% level on a hard, flat surface. Especially in traffic, never stop on the shoulder of the road or on an uneven surface if you’re about to use jack stands. Even in your garage, it’s important to make sure that your car is well parked – even the slightest of angle in the surface beneath it can cause a disastrous outcome.
  4. Carefully check the wheels that are supposed to stay on the ground before you start lifting it with a car jack.
  5. Double-check if you’ve parked your car properly. It sounds like a silly reminder but a lot of accidents happen because the driver has thought they’ve left the transmission on P but they really hadn’t.

Lift the car with a car jack so you can use the jack stands

Unlike a car jack, the jack stands can’t be used to lift the vehicle – they only have the ability to be set at a certain height and maintaining it despite the weight of half a car on top of them. So, before you can use your jack stands you’ll need to first lift the vehicle.

  1. Place the car jack adequately under the right spot on the car’s jack spot. Every car has several points where it’s meant to be lifted from without falling and without damaging the car’s frame. They are usually just behind the front wheels or in front of the back ones but they can be elsewhere as well. If you’re not sure where your car’s jack spots are check for the flat metal plates underneath the pitch weld that runs beneath the car’s doors. These jack spots are not only where the car jack should be used but also where you should place your jack stands after that.
  2. As you start raising the car with your car jack make sure that you’re working slowly and carefully. Having a friend with you is always of great benefit as they’ll be able to look from the side if everything is going well. If you’re alone, it’s best to take a break after every inch and look around the vehicle if everything is in good order.
  3. Check each of the jack stands carefully before you use them. Do this every time you’re going to use your jack stands – just before they were ok last time doesn’t mean they are in order now.
  4. Once you’ve lifted the car to the desired height lift it a bit more so you can fit the jack stands underneath it. Don’t try to put the jack stands under the car and then lift them to the needed height, it’s safer to raise the car a bit higher and then just bring it down on top of the jack stands with the car jack. As for where to put jack stands – place them under the same jack spots you would place a car jack – as there are several such places on a car, only one of them should be taken by the car jack and the rest will be left for the jack stands.
  5. Carefully shake the car to make sure that the jack stands are well-planted on the ground and will hold the vehicle whatever happens.
  6. Go to work!
Billy Miller
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