About 4,822 people across the United States have received emergency medical treatment for injuries sustained when a car fell because of jack stands failing. (according to the National Center of Statistics and Analysis ) Most of these individuals were struck by the car as it fell from the jack stand.
These alarming statistics should grab your attention. It’s vital to understand how to use a jack properly and know what to do if a car falls off the jack.
See Related: The #1 Car Mechanic Injury
What To Do if A Car Falls off Jack Stands
If your car falls off jack stands, what should you do first?
#1 Inspect Car for Damages
If the car you are jacking falls off the floor jack, check for injuries and make sure everyone is fine. Then search the jack stand for signs of damage. Any signs of damage indicate that you need to replace the jack stand.
#2 Use a Low-Profile Floor Jack to Get Underneath the Car
Check the vehicle’s owner manual to determine the correct lift points of your car. Using the wrong jacking points makes it more likely the car can slide off the jacks. The jack points are generally behind the front wheels or in front of the rear wheels and may have a small arrow stamped into the metal to help you find them.
#3 Raise Car At Pinch Welds Point
It is best to make sure your car is jacked at the pinch welds.
You should always use at least two jack stands when lifting your car. If you are worried about the vehicle rolling off, use another jack stand for stability.
Once you have the vehicle resting on the jack stands, it is essential to check the car’s stability before crawling underneath. Try shaking the jack stands and the vehicle to make sure they are stable. Your life may depend on the stability of the car.
Bonus Tip: One trick is to place a tire by each jack stand as an extra safety precaution. If the jack stands were to fail or the car rolled off, the tires would catch the vehicle’s weight.
See Related: How To Lift 4 Wheels Off The Ground
My Car Fell off the Lift at a Dealership
When a car falls off a lift, it can cause significant damage to the vehicle. Hopefully, no one was hurt when the car fell.
At this point, the dealership will assign you a senior member to manage your vehicle’s repair. Their insurance should cover both the repairs and a loaner vehicle for you while your car is restored.
Ask your insurance adjuster’s advice about how to deal with the dealership. Find out if they are willing to replace your vehicle if they cannot repair it. Generally, a good body mechanic can get your car back to pristine condition. However, if the cost of the repairs exceeds the cost of vehicle replacement, you may be offered a payout for the value of a replacement vehicle.
When a car falls from a lift and hits the ground, it is similar to the car being in a car accident, and the car will not have the same quality as before. In some states, you may be able to sue for “diminished value.”
See Related: How To Lift Your Car Really High
Why Do Cars Fall Off Jacks?
Cars can fall off jacks for various reasons, such as using a bottle jack or a scissor jack which tends to have a narrow base and be more unstable. Other reasons include:
Jacking Car on Soft Ground or on a Slope
Sometimes you can’t help the location of where you have to jack your car, like if you have a flat tire. The ground may be soft or sloped, which will cause the car to fall. The ideal place for a car to be jacked is a level concrete floor.
See Related: How To Jack A Car On A Slope
Emergency Brakes Not Set
For safety purposes, you should also make sure the emergency use parking brake is set and put your gear lever into “park” before you start to raise the car. You should also loosen the lug nuts before jacking the car up, as they are easier to loosen when the tire is on the ground. You don’t want the car swaying when the car’s weight is perched on jack stands.
Not Using Wheel Chocks
It is imperative to place wheel chocks against each wheel, as wheel chocks will stop the car from rolling. Wheel chocks can be cinder blocks, a large wood block, or professional wheel chocks designed for this purpose.
Using a Factory Jack That Has a Small Base
Sometimes a car will fall off jacks because of jack failure. This can be a result of jack quality or when using a jack that is not rated for the weight of the vehicle.
Jacking a car is something you want to do with safety in mind because your life could depend on it.
A jack is not something you want to bargain shop for. You want good-quality gear and jack stands that will easily support the weight of a jacked car as you raise it.
A jack with a small base is more unstable and likely to tip over.
See Related: Can You Use Your Car’s Jack To Change The Oil?
Trying to Break Lug Nuts Loose While The Car Is in the Air
Loosening the lug nuts on your tire puts tremendous strain on the jack stand.
Loosen the wheel lug nuts slightly before raising the car with the floor jack.
Likewise, you should only tighten the lug nuts slightly while the car is in the air and then tighten them firmly after being lowered back to the ground.
How Can a Car Fall Off a Lift?
A car can fall from a lift. Most of the time, it is the technician’s error. A technician must determine the correct center of gravity for lifting the car safely, and if they get this wrong, the car may fall to the ground.
Technicians can also make mistakes when spotting the vehicle, as they need to position the car properly on the lift arms. If the car is not centred on the lift, it may fall off.