Selecting the Right Jack Stand for Your Car
Lifting your vehicle during repairs and maintenance is made possible with the use of jacks and stands. They usually come packaged with new vehicles these days, although getting a second or a replacement jack stand may be necessary for some DIY tasks. To help you choose the best jack stand for your car, here are some things you can consider:
Some jack stands come with a fixed height. This gives them the advantage of safety, since there are no movable parts that are prone to fail. However, they are not as versatile as the adjustable jack stands. One thing you can consider is how you plan to use the jack stand. If your sole purpose is to use it in a single location with just one or similar vehicles, then a fixed stand may be best suited for your needs. But if you need a portable stand that you plan to use on different vehicles, then it's best that you get a compact, adjustable jack stand.
Commonly sold in pairs, adjustable jack stands come with lift heights. Their usual adjustable height ranges from 13 to 21 inches, and can lift a weight of up to 3 tons. Meanwhile, the stand height can be anywhere from a few inches to over 6 feet.
Jack stands come in different ratings in tons, based on the weight they can support. Ratings range from 0.5 ton to over 25 tons. Just be sure that the jack stand you purchase are rated for the weight of the vehicle you intend to raise. If you plan to lift a commercial truck, for example, you will need a stand that has a much higher rating than that of a typical sedan.
If you prefer to have an adjustable jack stand for lifting multiple vehicles, then you should get one that allows you to adjust the height easily.
- Tripod - Among the types of adjustable stands, the tripod is the most common. It uses a notched center column to change height, and allows you to choose the desired height by simply releasing a ratchet.
- Pinandhole - This type of stand adjusts its height using a steel pin chucked into holes in the center column. Its design is most commonly used in heavier jack stands. If you plan to get this type, search for one that has a second safety pin to secure the first pin in place.
- Rotation - From the name itself, a rotation type of jack stand can be adjusted higher or lower by simply turning the center column either clockwise or counterclockwise.
Examine the type of metal used in the jack stand that you plan to buy. Take note that the metal that composes the stand should be appropriate for its capacity. Aluminum or light steel material should only be used in small jack stands. For heavier stands that support much larger weights, cast iron or heavy steel should be used. You can also check with your mechanic to determine which jack stand material you should purchase for your lifting needs.