The most common cause of failures when jacking a car is that the jack isn’t stable. If you’ve ever tried to operate a jack by placing it under the bumper where there are no good structural members, or where there isn’t enough room between the bumper and the pavement, you probably know what I mean.
When you pump the jack handle, either it doesn’t go up at all or it lifts on one side more than on the other, making a noisemaker of your vehicle. It’s also dangerous if you try to work under your car when your jack isn’t firmly in place.
Do Jack stands ever fail?
When you’re using jack stands, you’re mostly driving on the threads of the stand. In other words, if the threads are badly worn or a bit cross-threaded, it will be difficult to get any torque out of them. You can also lose your grip on them if they aren’t in a good place to spin freely.
There are two exceptions to this rule: when you have a hydraulic floor jack instead of a scissor-arm one and when you have a hydraulic lift.* These kinds of jacks, which include models from companies like Air Lift and Accu-Lift, eliminate some of the effects wear and tear can have on your jack stands.
Are Jack stands safe to work under?
There’s a delicate balance between the torque and pressure you put on your jack to raise your car and the stability of the jack itself. If the jack is too out of balance, it will either lift on one side more than the other or fall on one side when you pump it. If you take a friend along with you to test this out, make sure he lifts at least 10 pounds before turning his wheel so he doesn’t fall under the car.
Is it safe to have a car on 4 jack stands?
The main problem with this is that there’s no way to completely be sure that the jack stands are fully in place. There is always a chance that they will slide out of place while you’re working on your car, particularly if you’re working under the car. The same goes for when you’re working on your truck and try to set up your jack stands for the engine hoist setup.
If you do a side-by-side comparison of your jack stands and those used by someone else, it’s not a coincidence if some of them aren’t completely level. You should always check all 4 jacks before you start working on your car, but I’ve seen these kinds of things happen more than once.
How are Jack stands rated?
The rating of a jack stand is based on how much torque it can withstand before it collapses. The most common stands are rated for around 2 tons, which means they can withstand at least 2000 pounds of pressure or 100 pounds per square inch.
There are also some heavy-duty types that can hold up to 5 tons. There is also a rating for the maximum height the jack stand is capable of raising the vehicle to, but this doesn’t take into account the wear and tear that comes from actually driving on it.
As long as all jacks are inspected before you start working on your car, which is something you want to do anyway, you should be fine.
What are the safest jack stands?
Most of the jack stands you buy should be fine if you use them properly. You should try to get one that’s rated for 2000 pounds of pressure or 100 pounds per square inch, if possible. Stands that are rated for 5 tons of pressure are definitely pretty heavy duty.
If you have a hydraulic lift, you can look for one with a gauge and torque readings to see how much tension is put on the jack when it’s being used. The best kind will have a cable-and-bracket system so it’s as easy as possible to adjust tensions on the stand itself and on the power cable going to the lift arm.
Is a 2-ton jack enough for SUV?
It’s pretty much a myth that a 2 ton jack is necessary for SUV. The manufacturer of a 2 ton jack usually specifies this on the box, but you can usually find models that are rated for 1800 pounds of pressure instead, and it’s safe to use these.
Whether or not the amount of pressure your jack can stand before it collapses is enough for your SUV, you should always do a quick check on your stands when setting them up.
Is a 3-ton jack stand enough for a truck?
3-ton jacks are usually sold for big trucks and SUVs, but they’re still safe to use on vehicles that aren’t quite as heavy. They might not be up to the amount of pressure your jack stand should have before it collapses, but they should be pretty close.
When you buy a 3-ton jack, make sure it’s rated for 2 tons pre-load and at least 1\2 ton post-load pressure. That means it should be at least 2000 pounds or 100 pounds per square inch under the weight of your vehicle.
If you’re going to work on your truck with a scissor-arm jack instead of a jack stand, you can also look for a model that’s designed especially for this purpose.
What can I use instead of jack stands?
You can also use scissor-arm hydraulic jacks, hydraulic floor jacks, or engine hoists. A scissor-arm jack is easy to set up and you have a better view of your work area.
This kind of jack is safer than a jack stand because it doesn’t have to balance on one side or the other as it works. A hydraulic floor jack has an additional weight that helps with stability, and it also has more pressure than a scissor-arm jack does.
The downside is that they’re not as maneuverable and you’re limited in the amount of height they can reach when lifting your car.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.