Heavy duty floor jacks and durable car stands allow you to do practically any automotive mainentenance from home, with the few exceptions of procedures that require you to lift the engine block. Of course, most people aren’t looking to do everything themselves. So what do most people use them for? The answer is mostly saving money, because you don’t have to pay the labor rates of your local garage for common maintenance and repair operations when you do them at home.
- Oil changes
- Brake work, including pad, rotor, and caliper replacement
- Radiator fluid flushes and changes
- Installing new tires
- Shock and strut work
As you can see, these are some pretty great reasons to invest in a quality floor jack. Before you start learning any of these basic repair operations, though, you need to learn how to put your car up safely.
How To Properly Install Your Jack Stands
Properly used, jack stands make it safe to access the underside of your vehicle. You can even lift the rear and put it up entirely on stands for greater stability. Safely jack the vehicle up slightly higher than needed, but only very slightly. Inspect the places beneath the jack points to make sure the ground is level and solid. Clear any debris, too.
Set the stands so they are beneath the jack points with all legs on level ground, then lower the vehicle so its weight rests on the stands. Check them for stability when they are load bearing by seeing if they move easily. If not, repeat as needed for the rear and then go to work! It’s easy to do a quick oil change and car oil filter replacement when you have the vehicle securely lifted onto stands.
Best Way To Store Your Jack Stands
Jack stands are built to be strong, but their strength is vertical. They aren’t meant to take a lot of force from the side, and the design of the stand emphasizes stability over strength from lateral pressure. That means you’ll need to avoid storing them in a way that puts weight on the sides. The easiest way is to store them standing, but that limits where you can put them.
Many premium brands of jack stand come with cases that have dedicated placements for each stand because of this. Storing them in a proper case makes it easier to bring them with you, so you have stands for any operation, even roadside tire replacement. Since the stands make repairs like a tire change a lot safer, it makes sense to have them in your road kit. Consider investing in a case if your set did not come with one.
Additional DIY Maintenance Essentials
If you’re jumping into home auto repair for the first time, the first thing to learn is that each year’s model of a vehicle has several different builds. That makes finding a store with a free VIN decoder essential to getting the right replacement part for your chassis edition, engine build, and options package. Online VIN decoders are extremely useful if you’re shopping from home, too.