Jack Stands

Something many car owners do not have these days, that was very common to see in a garage back in the day, is jack stands. A few decades ago it was much more common for your average car owner to know how to do some work on their own vehicle. They could change oil, replace spark plugs, and any number of other fairly simple jobs that we just do not see done by the average vehicle owner today.

Aside from a box of tools with your basic wrenches, sockets, and screwdrivers, quite possibly one of the most important tools you should have in your collection is a good solid jack stand. With various types from various manufacturers available, jack stands range in both price and use. The basic function of jack stands is to get a vehicle elevated so work can be done underneath with more ease. With some cars that are built with mere inches in between the undercarriage and the ground, jack stands are essential for many of the jobs that need to be done on vehicles, from major repairs to simple upkeep such as changing oil.

Your car may have an emergency jack with your spare tire, meant for use in emergency situations. Jack stands should not be confused with a simple jack used for roadside service. When a car smart person says jack stand, they are referring to heavy duty jacks that are meant to lift entire vehicles and hold them there for extended periods of time. A good jack stand will be made of solid metal and not have plastic, or at least won't have plastic on the main structure of the jack stands. Imagine getting under a five-thousand pound truck being held up by jack stands. Would you feel more comfortable with solid metal, or just metal with some plastic? Aside from a solid metal structure, many who look for jack stands want rubber bottoms. Having thick and wide rubber bottoms, or feet, allows for less chance of slipage on hard surfaces. Metal and concrete do not grip each other that well and can create a danger when supporting large weight that may shift. Rubber bottoms on jack stands can also provide a more solid placement on dirt ground that can actually sink a little when the weight of a vehicle is spread out amongst the small area that makes up the base of jack stands.

When buying jack stands, in addition to the qualities mentioned above, perhaps one of the most important things to look at is the SWL. The SWL, which stands for Safe Working Load, is a weight measurement that shows how much weight the jack stands are rated to hold. Make sure that you always consider the weight of the vehicle you plan to do some work on and check that the SWL for the jack stands you purchase will safely support your vehicle. If you ever work on another vehicle you should be sure to check the weight for that vehicle against the SWL for your jack stands before attempting to lift the vehicle.

In all fairness to the dwindling number of people who work on their own vehicles, cars have come a long way in terms of technology. More and more components within a car are becoming complex machines and computer controlled. It is good news for repair shops because being a certified automotive technician will be more and more in demand as cars advance even more from where they are at now in terms of complex components that require expert knowledge to work on or replace.

Even with the technology we see in the cars of today, there are still some things that you father or grandfather may have done themselves, or maybe even you yourself know how to do, which do not require knowledge of complex machinery and computer systems. If you are interested in saving some money on things like oil changes or tire replacement, especially if you have more than one vehicle that needs work done, getting yourself some jack stands may be able to save you thousands of dollars in the long term.

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