How to Safely Use Car Jack Stands

jack stands

Source | Ryan Frost

Learn how to safely use a jack stand for your next automotive DIY project

When you need to get under your vehicle to work, nothing beats the safety and security of a sturdy set of jack stands. You need to learn how to use them properly, though, to prevent serious injury, damage to the vehicle or worse. Failure to observe jack safety can result in the vehicle falling, pinning you or someone else beneath it. Let's talk about proper jacking techniques so you can get the job done.

Vehicle System
Tools & Parts
Skill Level

This is a good project for new DIYers

Time to Complete
15 minutes

    A bottle jack or your vehicle’s jack should never be relied upon for support if someone must work beneath the vehicle. Bottle jacks are unstable and can easily slip.

  1. Position your vehicle on a flat section of pavement. Avoid using jacks on dirt or gravel where they can sink in. Engage your parking brake.

  2. Use the wheel chocks to secure the tires on the side of the vehicle you aren't lifting.

  3. Position a floor jack beneath the vehicle frame at the manufacturer's recommended jacking points. Frame members or front suspension A-arms are usually the desired spots for jacking points (not the oil pan and transmission pan). Consult your owner's manual for details.

    proper jack placement under the front frame

    Source | Lisa Kowite

  4. Inspect the floor jack, making sure that it lifts, releases and lowers properly before proceeding.

  5. Use the jack to lift the vehicle.

    jack in raised position under the front of the vehicle

    Source | Lisa Kowite

  6. Adjust the jack stand to the proper height and fit securely beneath the vehicle.

    jack stands placed under the pinch welds before lowering the floor jack

    Source | Lisa Kowite

  7. Release the jack lift to lower the vehicle to rest on the jack stand.

    vehicle lowered onto jack stands

    Source | Lisa Kowite

  8. Before working beneath the vehicle, lean against the car to check that it's secure.

Last updated June 22, 2021