Jack Stand Safety Procedures

What are Some of the Common Jack Stand Safety Procedures?

Jack stands are one of the most essential items in garages – something you know well by now if you have been on this site for a while. It lets you do the small repairs and maintenance yourself, saving you a trip to the mechanic or garage and, of course, saving on costs too. 

But there is a catch. Even though this is a very handy tool, it can be dangerous when used incorrectly. It can cause damage to the vehicle, to the ground, and, most importantly, to the user, from minor injuries to large ones and, in the worst-case scenario, even death. 

Now that we have your attention on the seriousness of the situation let us dive right into the details. In this piece, we will discuss the importance of safety procedures with jack stands, how to prevent these accidents, and how to use this cool tool properly. 

Why Learn Jack Stand Safety Procedures?

Why should we learn so much if we simply use them once in a while at our own garages? Well, the frequency of use does not matter here, but more so, how you use it. Using it wrong once is enough to cause you distress in the long run. 

Take a look at some of the reasons why it is important for you, me, and everyone else who will be using a jack stand to know the rules:

Accident Prevention

Jack stands have been designed to keep vehicles off the ground so you can move in and work on them. When not knowing the safety procedures, you may make a dangerous move without even knowing it. You literally put yourself at risk while being under an entire vehicle. 

Stability

The importance of stability is twofold when it comes to jack stands. It is highly important for the user who falls in danger when the jack stand is unstable and the vehicle itself may crash. 

Every little detail matters, from understanding how to ensure stability to knowing where and how to place them while using the jack stand to avoid these problems. 

Vehicle Damage Prevention

Not only is it a safety issue for the user, but the vehicle also faces considerable damage if it crashes or slips. And this will happen when you need to use the jack stand properly. It could be because the hoisting was done wrong, or you used the wrong weight capacity, or a bunch of other issues. 

Preventing Extra Expenses

All of the above problems we mentioned take money and time to recover. Knowing and understanding the rules allow you to save this precious time and resources by doing it right the first time. 

Jack Stand Safety Procedures

Explaining Jack Stand Safety Procedures for Newbies

Onto the main point, let’s take a look at the safety procedures to be maintained while using a jack stand. 

Protective Equipment

The first step is to ensure that you are well-protected before starting. This means having the right protective gear.

Get your hands on some approved protective footwear. 

This is because foot injury is very common when using jack stands. Sometimes we slip, or the ground is uneven, and it can cause damage to our feet. 

Damages can range from a crushed foot, receiving high temperatures, puncture hazards, and receiving electric shocks to coming into contact with corrosive substances, depending on the maintenance you perform. 

The second part of the protective equipment includes work gloves and safety glasses, which protect you from the same hazards mentioned above, except this time, it is for your hands and eyes. 

Double Jacking

Double jacking is when you leave the floor jack on the ground after using it to hoist the car up on the jack stand. Since its being used twice, it is also known as double jacking. 

This is a very simple but effective step towards securing the structure. Since you do not have to do anything extra, simply leave it be. 

Now, how does it affect the maintenance work or activity? It is true that, in some cases, the floor jack may get in your way of work. But try to change the angle at which you work. 

We are stressing this because there have been multiple cases where even a brand-new jack stand slipped or fell under pressure. Double jacking simply reduces the chances of that happening altogether.

Use An Even Surface

It is very important to use the jack stands on a flat and even surface at all times. Using them on even the slightest slope can be dangerous as it will allow the vehicle to slip. Moreover, it is also recommended to keep the ground clean where you use the jack stand to prevent any other particles from affecting it. 

Other forms of surfaces that you should avoid include grassy ground and asphalt surfaces. Even more so if the temperature is especially cruel as it can cause the asphalt to melt and the ground to get softer, both of which will cause the jack stand to sink. 

If you find yourself in such a situation where you simply cannot avoid it – for example, having a flat tire in the middle of a road trip – then try to use metal plates under the jack stands, which will reduce the chances of it sinking. 

Secure Jack Stands

Double-checking whether the jack stands are secure before starting your work is like a sin in the auto world. Once the jack stand is set up, try to shake or move it to see if it budges or stays strong in its position. 

If they wiggle, then there is something wrong. Do a thorough check-up, and wait to start your work until they are sturdy. The height of all the jack stands used should also be the same. If not, the vehicle will not be sturdy and can fall.  

Another thing to check here is the car part on the jack, which should be kept flat and in the middle of the cradle. 

Maintain Weight Capacity

We have spoken about this in our other pieces multiple times, and we do so again here. Maintaining the weight capacity is of utmost importance if you do not want the vehicle to collapse on you. 

For this, you must refer to the weight ratings provided on the jacks and on the vehicles. Together, these will ensure that the jack stand can hold up the car securely. 

In general, jack stands can keep up to 200% of their rated load for around 10 minutes without deforming. For floor jacks, this is 150%. 

Do Not Move the Vehicle

Once you have secured the vehicle and know that every protective and safety measure has been taken, you can start working. But there is one place where people often make a mistake, even more so when they have been cautious with the other steps. 

This happens when a user gets under the car and starts to move or shake it. By doing this, the part of the car resting in the cradle, keeping it secure on that jack stands, can move out. Once they move out, they can slip, and the entire car can fall right on you. 

Never shake the car while it is on top of the jack stands. If necessary for any maintenance work, use multiple jack stands to ensure it does not budge. 

Use For Less Time

Have you ever wondered; how the jack stand holds up the weight of such a huge vehicle? Well, it is the cylinder in the middle that does the job. 

All these cylinders in jack stand come with a seal on the end. This seal maintains the hydraulic pressure, allowing the stand to hoist the car up and keep it in that state. 

However, these seals are designed to carry the weights for a short period. This is why it is important to use jack stands for maintenance purposes that take little time. They are the perfect thing for short jobs, but for longer fixes, opt for something more secure like a car ramp. 

To Conclude

Mentioning death at the beginning might have scared some readers, but it is for the greater good! Now, for the good news. The number of times people have died from these causes is exceptionally low. 

Most accidents are caused by blocks or wedges, and the ones with jack stands are only when users are extra careless. 

Nonetheless, the risk factor remains even if it is low. And this is where prevention comes in. Safety has to be the top priority when using any of these tools. We will stress maintaining these prevention measures and safety procedures, saving you loads of time in repairs and hospital bills in the long run. 

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