Planning on getting under the car to change the oil, work on the transmission, or some other task, and you don’t have a car lift? Then in addition to using a floor jack, be sure to use axle stands. Raise the car with the floor jack, and slide the axle stand underneath the axle. Put one near each wheel. Jack stands are known to fail, and an axle stand will prevent the mechanic from being crushed. Whether working on damaged cars for fun or profit you should always put safety first.
Axle stands come in many different models. Before buying one ensure they include the following safety features.
*Make sure the axle stand is made from sturdy materials and of a good quality by checking its appearance. The stand should have no jagged edges that can snag the mechanic’s clothes while under the vehicle. Check the welds, a heavy vehicle could cause shoddy welds to fail, and the car to fall. If buying a used one, make sure there is no rust as it could signal weakened metal.
*Axle stands come with two kinds of support, pegs and ratchets. The preferred type is the ratchet because it provides a more concise mechanism for holding the vehicle at a particular height. Although a little less expensive, peg systems are more difficult to use. Should a peg stand be used, ensure the stand has a safety catch to hold the pegs in place, and that the pegs fit properly.
*Before using or purchasing a stand, check to see it has stabilizing feet. These help support the axle stand, and keep it from slipping on soft surfaces. Although one should avoid working under a car on soft surface if at all possible.
If you are going to buy axle stands, make sure they have these safety features which will only add a couple of dollars to the cost. Not having the safety mechanisms could cause serious injury or even death should the stand fail and the vehicle fall. No sense in risking life or limb to shave a few dollars from the price.