Guide: Choosing the Right Jack Stand For You
If you like to work on your car, then you know that minor mishaps occur from time to time. A skinned knuckle, a minor burn, or a pinched finger can certainly be painful. But they aren’t life threatening.
In fact, most of the time it’s just a lesson learned. Next time you’ll look down at your hand and remember not to do that. However, it’s best not to forget that more serious injuries can occur.
It doesn’t take a trained mechanic to know that working under a jacked up car can be dangerous. An accident involving your jack stand can land you in the hospital or worse. So it’s a good idea to be working with the right one.
Here are some things to think about while choosing the right jack stand for your needs.
Why Use A Jack Stand?
First, let’s cover the basics. A jack stand is an adjustable mechanical structure that supports your car while it’s lifted. It’s not to be confused with a standard floor jack.
Floor jacks are great for getting your car off the ground. They’re not as great for ensuring that it doesn’t come back down on top of you.
A cheap jack, or a hydraulic floor jack that begins to lose pressure can be an accident waiting to happen. Even if you aren’t getting under your car, you should still use a stand.
The reason is that a floor jack only provides one point of contact between your car and the ground. That can actually make it somewhat unstable. If your vehicle falls or tips over, you’re likely looking at unnecessary damage.
A jack stand provides multiple points of contact to keep your vehicle supported and avoid tipping. Once your car is lifted, you place the stands underneath it to ensure that it won’t be coming back down.
What To Think About When Buying
So you know you need jack stands. What should you look for?
First and foremost, think about what type of vehicle you’re using it for. As you may have guessed, a heavier vehicle is going to need a stronger stand. Your Ford Explorer will likely need a different stand than a Miata.
Depending on what you need, you might want to look at stands that are rated for two tons all the way up to six.
Also, remember that the height of the stand is of equal importance. A car that’s very low to the ground won’t need the tallest jack stands possible. But that Explorer we just mentioned is going to need taller stands to reach the bottom of the vehicle once it’s been lifted.
Next, you want to take into account the quality of the stands you’ll be using. Typically speaking, a cheaper jack stand may be more attractive now, but it probably won’t last as long.
Look at the finish and the fit of the jack stand. Corrosion is going to be a big enemy when it comes to keeping your stand in working order. If the finish is uneven with cracks or gaps, you should probably pass. It’s just not going to last as long.
Also check out the welds. The weld beads need to be even if you want a stand that’s going to last you. Of course, you may not have the time or ability to go check out jack stands. That’s why most of us rely on reviews.
Some Well-Reviewed Stands
Torin 3 Ton Double Locking
The Torin “Big Red” stands are well known as quality stands that you can trust. They have a three-ton capacity and a maximum height of 16 inches. That makes them useful for sedans or economy cars.
They also have a self-locking ratchet and come with a secondary pin to give you added peace of mind while under your car.
Wilmar 6 Ton Heavy Duty
These are the stands for you if you’re working on something a little heavier. Or a lot heavier. They’re rated up to six tons and have a maximum reach of 23.5 inches.
Remember though, they also have a pretty high minimum reach at 15.5 inches. So they might not be able to do double duty with a much smaller car with lower clearance.
But if you’re working on an SUV or truck that needs the weight capacity, you shouldn’t have any clearance issues.
Jack Stand Safety Tips
Before we go, we want to leave you with some safety tips for working with stands.
Always Use A Jack Stand
The simple truth is that you can’t trust your standard floor jack to hold your vehicle up for you. The moving parts of a floor jack can wear down over time. You don’t want to find out their condition the hard way.
Lift your car up with your floor jack, keep it up with your stands.
One Stand Per Wheel Off The Ground
This is a pretty standard rule that should keep you safe and happy. For every wheel that’s off the ground, add a stand to support the vehicle. You want the maximum stability that comes with four points of contact with the ground.
Use The Right Jack
For the utmost safety, it’s a good idea to use a jack that’s rated for double your vehicle’s weight. If your car is two tons, then try to get jack stands rated to four tons. It might sound like overkill, but it’s an added safety factor, especially if your car is off balance when lifted.
And keep an eye on what the capacity rating says specifically. Does it say that one stand is rated for that amount, or that the pair of them are? That’s an important point.
Also, keep in mind your vehicle’s height and which stands will accommodate it. Never try to make something work that isn’t quite right.
Ready To Choose A Stand?
Now that you’ve got an idea of what you might want, why not check out some more reviews? Best Floor Jack Reviews is your one stop shop for everything related to jacks.
Have any questions? Contact us today and we’ll get you the answer you need!