Do You Really Need Jack Stands?

Jack Stand

Jack Stand

Jacks are excellent tools for lifting a car so you can access the undercarriage. However, they are not designed to hold your car off the ground for prolonged periods. Instead, this is a job for a high-quality jack stand or two.

The key difference between a jack and a jack stand is that the former is designed for lifting a car (or other heavy object) while the latter is for supporting it once elevated. There are two main types of jacks — mechanical and hydraulic — and neither is designed to hold weight for a long time.

Risks of Not Using Jack Stands

Relying on a jack to keep your car off the ground can end up in disaster. The biggest and most obvious risk is that your equipment fails and you end up with a two-ton vehicle on your chest. Maybe you can get part of the way out and only crush a leg or arm, or you could notice a sign of trouble and get all the way out, but your car still takes a serious jolt, possibly damaging components that aren’t fully installed.

Mechanical jacks can snap and break, causing your car to fall suddenly. With a hydraulic jack, you are more likely to notice a gradual lowering due to seal leaks. However, they could burst and result in a  quicker fall.

That is why you always want a sturdy stand under your car when you work on it. Consider investing in something like a Duralast 2-ton jack stand 1 pair to ensure your car or truck is securely elevated before you get under it.

Proper Use of Jack Stands

Jack stands are pretty simple to use, but you want to get it right for safety reasons. Follow these steps for success:

  • Lift the car using an appropriate jack
  • Locate a solid part of the vehicle chassis to place the stands (frame rails or parts of the unibody are good choices)
  • Place the stands at the correct height
  • Slowly lower the car so it rests on the stands

You will reverse the steps to take the car off the stands. Keep in mind that while the frame is ideal for supporting a car, it should be free of serious structural rust or you could find yourself in a bad situation. Additionally, you want to ensure that the stands have a relatively level and smooth surface for stability.

How To Choose the Right Jack Stands for Your Car

Load capacity is the biggest consideration when choosing a set of stands. You want a product that can support your car with room to spare. You also want to try to find a set with a good size and structure to match your vehicle.

Before shopping, learn the differences between a jack stand vs. a ramp stand so you can make an informed decision about which is best for your needs. Ramps can be easier to set up and don’t require an extra jack, so they can be ideal for maintenance tasks like an oil change.

Don’t risk your safety sliding under a car raised on a jack. Instead, visit an online auto parts retailer to find a high-quality set of stands for better safety.