How to Safely Use Car Jack Stands

jack stands

Source | Ryan Frost

Protect yourself by learning how to safely use a jack stand for your next automotive DIY project

When you need to get under your vehicle to work, nothing beats the safety and security of a sturdy set of jack stands. You need to learn how to use them properly though to prevent serious injury, damage to the vehicle or worse. Failure to observe jack safety can result in the vehicle falling, pinning you or someone else beneath it. Let's talk about proper jacking techniques, so you get the job done and get back on the road.

Vehicle System
Tools & Parts
Skill Level
Intermediate

This is a project that needs some know-how

Time to Complete
15 minutes
    Caution

    A bottle jack or your vehicle’s jack should never be relied upon for support if someone must work beneath the vehicle. Similarly, bottle jacks are unstable and can easily slip.

  1. Position your vehicle on a flat section of pavement. Avoid using jacks on dirt or gravel where they can sink in. Engage your parking brake.

  2. Use the wheel chocks to secure the tires on the side of the vehicle you aren't lifting.

  3. Position a floor jack beneath the vehicle frame at the manufacturer's recommended jacking points. Frame members or front suspension A-arms are usually the desired spots for jacking points (the oil pan and transmission pan aren't). Consult your owner's manual for details.

  4. Inspect the floor jack, making sure that it lifts, releases, and lowers properly before proceeding.

  5. Use the jack to lift the vehicle.

  6. Adjust the jack stand to the proper height and fit securely beneath the vehicle.

  7. Release the jack lift to lower the vehicle to rest on the jack stand.

  8. Before working beneath the vehicle, lean against the car to check that it's secure.

Last updated July 5, 2017

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