Jack slipped! Humbling: PSA

CajunWon

Well-Known Member
I've had a car slip off the jack only once before, decades ago. Since then always used a stand when available.

Had just removed the wheel to chase a squeak in front bushings. My 1st time using this hydraulic jack, with some wood to protect frame from dings. Stand was 1/4" under frame. Wood crunched and jack, on wheels, shot out while I was in wheel well.

PSA: always use a jack stand!
Might save your life! Might save from unnecessary car damage. Totally worth the extra minute or 2.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Glad to hear no one was hurt. Damaged parts can be replaced. Damaged people... :worried:

I'll share something with you that I'm not proud of, personally, but maybe it'll make you feel better.

Had a new Civic hybrid some years back. I decided I was going to not only change my oil, but also rotate my tires. What I didn't have was a layout in tools / equipment, like I have now.

So... our setup is one of those cheap-ass Torin 'Big Red' jacks that you get at Pep Boys for $20. No stands, b/c I'm not getting under the car. Get the jack under the car, and find out that the ram isn't long enough to lift the car high enough. I don't have any wood, and this was my only car at the time. So I put a stack of free weights on top of the ram. Yeah... the round weights that go on barbells. Jack the thing up, and... it's all good! I'm a genius!:wooot: For about 10 minutes. Then the car slid *sideways*, off the weights / jack. And I hadn't touched the car -- it fell off on its own accord (no pun intended). I had one of the back wheels' lugs loosened; it fell on the wheel / tire, which landed on an angle. I was damned lucky I didn't damage the car -- or me

That was the last time I was stupid about working with a car, and having the right tools for the job.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
A lot of times, I'll even double safety by using the jack stands and also leaving the jack there in the middle of the frame, not holding any weight, but just there just in case. Another thing is to put removed wheels under the car at the frame. If the worse were to happen, the wheels may get damaged but I'll probably survive.

A buddy of my son's had a jack stand fall and basically his head got caught between the ground and the car. IIRC, he was doing it on either grass or unstable ground. He's very lucky to be alive.

Whenever putting a vehicle on jack stands, I always give it a good shake test.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
A buddy of my son's had a jack stand fall and basically his head got caught between the ground and the car. IIRC, he was doing it on either grass or unstable ground. He's very lucky to be alive.
The soft ground might just be why he didn't get his noggin' crushed. Lucky, indeed. 😇
 

Mounce

Well-Known Member
I've always been paranoid about getting under vehicles... Was taught at an early age how to be safe with it. I always use jack stands, sometimes two sets, AND leave the jack under the frame (when possible/if it's not in the way) with about half a pump on it so there's no jarring effect if something were to fail. I also give them a good shake and shove test after supported.

Just this year I had a friend lose her fiance under a car. Reignited my huge fear and paranoia.

If at all possible I'd warn you to stay away from using a floor jack on gravel/dirt/grass/anything soft that doesn't allow the wheels to roll as it lifts. If the jack doesn't roll in to offset the non-vertical direction that the lift pad takes you're relying on friction to keep the lift pad in place. I've seen them slip in these scenarios.
 

hockeyman

Silver Supporter
I was much more reckless when I was younger. I'd lay under vehicles and work on them with simply a hydraulic jack. And a cheap one, too. I had it in my mind that I was indestructible.
Nowadays, I do exactly what Mooseman mentioned by utilizing two j-stands, a wheel, and a hydraulic jack (with light tension for safety). It's sometimes difficult to move around under my vehicles when doing something, but it's better than the alternative...
 

TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
My neighbor had an '80s Camaro up on a bumper jack doing fuel line work. It went sideways. Were it not for the fact that the gas tank was out of it, he would've been crushed. When we finally got the car off of him he was in the fetal position where the gas tank would've been. None of us got under a car again without putting the wheels under the frame (like @Mooseman above).

"Near misses" remind us to use "Best Practices."
 
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Dadwagon

Active Member
What brand/size jacks have you folks found fit for our size vehicles? I bought a heavy duty 6000lb jackstand pair and found out the stock Buick jack doesn't lift the vehicle high enough to get on it. Have to buy a higher-lift jack now.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Most 3 ton floor jacks work fine on these. All fit under for sure. Look at the total lift height, not just tonnage.
 

Mounce

Well-Known Member
What brand/size jacks have you folks found fit for our size vehicles? I bought a heavy duty 6000lb jackstand pair and found out the stock Buick jack doesn't lift the vehicle high enough to get on it. Have to buy a higher-lift jack now.
I've got the yellow Daytona that harbor freight sells, snap on copy and they got sued by snap on for it being as such. The other 3/4 ton steel jack's they have appear to be just as good of quality and are cheaper. Don't forget to look for coupons if you go that route.
 

C-ya

Well-Known Member

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
HF here, too. I actually have two of their floor jacks - a 3-ton steel, and a lightweight aluminum (I used to use it for track days). The 3-ton was purchased after a fairly pricey Craftsman jack sh!t the bed after about the 3rd time I used it. Out of warranty. No more Craftsman after that, except hand tools.

On the 3-ton, it's a Central Hydraulics - *that's* how old the thing is (probably nearly 15yrs old by now). It will lose height after a few hours now, if weight is left on it. Other than that, it's been a great jack. And I've never maintained it (change / add jack oil, put a grease gun on its zerk fitting). It has a large round pad on the end of the ram (they used to sell them; no longer).

Two ways to go about determining the needed jack height, in my mind...
- Take your jack stands, put them at the highest position you envision using them at, and then measure that distance. Add at least 1", and that's 'how much' lifting height you need.
Or...
- Compare the max lift height of all the jacks you're looking at (with HF, they give the height in their catalogs, which are (only) online, now), and get the highest lifting one they have. This is the "better to have too much, than not enough, and I've got a 'no exclusions' coupon" school of thought. (side note: it's rare to see a HF coupon that doesn't exclude 'Daytona', or 'floor jacks', specifically)

A 'long reach' / 'low profile' tends to be the jack that has the highest lift. Downside is that they do take up a bit of room, both for storage and in using them. If you've got a vehicle with low ground clearance, they're worth their weight in gold.

The next best thing to have is a foot pump, which can be useful in tight spaces (my 2pc handle hits the garage door when I'm pumping up the jack, especially when I have the Sierra crew cab in the garage.) My 'next' jack (if I ever need one) will have this.

Re: that two piece handle - I've used the (hollow) top section many times as additional leverage with my breaker bar! (e.g.; 'cheater bar') :laugh:
 

JayArr

Well-Known Member
Just bought a set of four 12 ton jackstands. The Envoy is only three tons so I've got 45 to spare LOL.

The reason I picked these was because they have a massive 28" height and I needed that to get the transmission out. My Performance floor jack only goes to 21" so I had to lift in stages and I built some cribbing out of 4X4's to raise the floor jack by 10" for stage two.
 

aaserv

Well-Known Member
You have to be VERY careful when using wood to help out a jack. Some of this wood out there today will split under the slightest pressure. I had picked up some 1ft pieces of 4x4 that someone had discarded after putting up a fence. put them between the jack and the frame and they split on the 1st use. I have some very old pieces maybe 10-15 years old and the jack doesnt even put a dent in them.
During the 10 months or so my truck was on jack stands I had the recalled HF stands under it, didnt trust them from day 1. Found some stands used for houses, made from 2' pipe and 3/8' angle iron . Had I not had these under there also Id probably be in bad shape right now. You can find these used for next to nothing and they'll support all 4 wheels off the ground in a windstorm.....
 

Dadwagon

Active Member
C-ya...That 3 ton jack is on sale, I'm going for it. Heck yes

EDIT: That jack is no longer available, been clearanced and done away with. But it's still on their website.
 
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C-ya

Well-Known Member
C-ya...That 3 ton jack is on sale, I'm going for it. Heck yes

EDIT: That jack is no longer available, been clearanced and done away with. But it's still on their website.
I saw that it said "Clearance" but I figured there would be some stock or it wouldn't be there, but what do I know... Just checked - website says "Store only". Have you checked with your local store, if you have one?
 

Stugar

Member
If you can, wait for the parking lot sales, they'll typically be liquidating open box items (usually things people bought, used, then returned like it was the borrow-a-tool program at autozone) that have been refurbished. I got a 3 ton long reach low profile jack and a 2.5hp 21 gallon compressor a while back for about $75 each, normal price was around $200 each. Sure I had to buy a 2 year ITC membership, but it more than paid for itself with that purchase, and paid again thanks to several other items I wanted coming up for sale.
 

JayArr

Well-Known Member
You have to be VERY careful when using wood to help out a jack. Some of this wood out there today will split under the slightest pressure. I had picked up some 1ft pieces of 4x4 that someone had discarded after putting up a fence. put them between the jack and the frame and they split on the 1st use.
A 4X4 between the cup of a jack and the frame of a car ends up with a couple of tons of pressure on it, often with a very narrow contact point, so it's not too surprising it splits. You need to raise the jack from the bottom not extend it from the top. Take another look at the picture. The cribbing I built is a large platform that sits on the ground and has a plywood top to it that the jack goes on. Pressure is distributed through four wheels from the jack to plywood then through multiple 3x3s and 4x4s to ground. This kind of cribbing holds very large boats up all winter long.

The jacks sit on a piece of plywood on the driveway but not for the purpose of raising the car, the plywood is only 1/2", it's just there to prevent the jack stands from digging holes in the driveway ashphalt.
 

Dadwagon

Active Member
Is there a danger of using a jack stand without the movable platform installed? In other words, removing the movable piece and just having the base in place. The weight is still focused in the same place, right? Talk me out of trying this.
 

Stugar

Member
Typically the adjustable part of the jackstand has lips on it that prevent the frame/pinchweld from sliding off to the side, the rest of the stand doesn't.

What situation do you find yourself in where you need LESS space under the car? I'm just curious.
 

Dadwagon

Active Member
See Post #15, it isn't available any more. I've been to two local HF stores and they have Zero jacks in stock, it's wild, must be due to COVID work stoppage.
Amazon is sending me a 6-ton ProLift bottle jack soon, hopefully that can replace the stock scissor jack for my car repair fiascos. I do all my work on the street without a garage so have to be able to pick up the jack and store it. So it goes.
 

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