Everything You Need to Know about Car Jacks and Stands

maintenance guys fixing a car

Beginner drivers dread the day they have to change a flat tire or two. And for seasoned drivers and professional, tire changing is an annoying necessity. Most drivers carry a spare tire with them in case of deflation or a blowout. But fewer realize the need to bring their own jack. After all, they cannot lift their vehicle off the ground without a jack.

Car jacks and jack stands are not just used for tire changes, however. If you are a hobbyist or mechanic looking for four post automotive lifts for sale, then you probably have an array of jacks and stands in your arsenal. Any car workshop has at least a few lying around. If you want to perform car repair and maintenance in your workshop, then you need to get a set or two.

A car jack or jack stand from a reputable brand should be safe and reliable to use. That said, you still need to do some research to find out whether the type you have is compatible with the vehicle you want to use it for. Using a machine without preparation is dangerous.

Here is a quick guide to car jacks and stands.

woman with an overheated car

What is a car jack?

If you have wondered how car jacks lift vehicles, then you need to read up on hydraulics. Hydraulics is the reason why a small metal machine can lift a portion of a car. Without the lift, people cannot access the vehicle’s undercarriage to perform repair and maintenance and tire changes. 

Car jacks are available in a variety of weight ratings and models. You must select the right type of jack for the work to be performed to ensure the safety of the vehicle and the person.

New vehicles often come with a standard jack when they roll off the car lot. While these standard jacks are capable of lifting an automobile a few inches off the ground for basic maintenance work such as tire replacements, you need to get a second car jack or a jack stand for more advanced work.

Always get a jack that is rated to support double your vehicle’s actual weight. For instance, if your car weighs one ton, get a jack that can lift at least twice that. Never use a car jack to lift something it is not rated for.

What is a jack stand?

Jack stands are devices that are shaped like a tripod or a tower. They are designed to provide additional support when lifting a vehicle. Stands are often placed under the raised vehicle’s frame or axle to improve stability and support when lifting a car off the ground.

Once an automobile has been lifted off the ground, jack stands are then deployed, and the car lowered onto the stands. A stand possesses a top shaped like a saddle, which is designed to hold the axle. Jack stands can only be applied on hard, level surfaces such as concrete and asphalt. Note the rated capacity of the stand as well.

Stands come in a wide array of types and models. Just like car jacks, they can be categorized by rated capacity and maximum height. A stand’s rated capacity uses tons, and height is usually in inches or centimeters.

Knowing the similarities and differences between car jacks and jack stands will allow you to choose the right tools for repairs and maintenance work. Beginners might find car maintenance daunting, but with the proper guidance, you too can perform essential maintenance work in your home.

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