Are you researching jack stands to buy?
Confused as to how they are rated and what the weight ratings mean?
I found it confusing as well. So I did some research and compiled this guide to understanding how jack stands are rated, and why it is so important to understand when buying jack stands.
After ASME PASE-2014 became effective in 2015 all jack stands must be rated per pair and not per individual stand. Previously, some companies were advertising jack stands with individual ratings, but in 2019 you will always be seeing jack stands rated as a pair. Therefore, a 6-ton rated jack stand has only a 3-ton maximum load individually. Therefore, make sure when buying jack stands, you get a pair with a weight rating higher than the vehicle you will be using them under. Also, even if a jack stand is individually stamped as “3-ton or 6-ton” it is still referring to its weight rating as a pair– confusing, to say the least.
How Jack Stands Are Tested:
How do they measure whether or not a jack stand fails the ASME test? The jack stand must not have a permanent reduction in overall height, measured after the removal of the load, at the point of load contact shall not exceed 0.125 in. Source.
However, each individual jack stand is NOT tested before it is sold. That is why I stress buying jack stands for a quality brand is so important, they will have their own quality assurance procedures. Typically the way it works is companies send in a pair of jack stands for testing, and also test them in house, but once they are certified there doesn’t seem to be any regular interval that they are checked.
Jack Stands Quality & Weight Ratings:
Jack stands literally keep your car or truck from falling on you while you are under it. You are trusting your life to them, and therefore you have a couple options. You can either buy the cheapest of cheap jack stands and figure they ought to work okay. Or you can spend a little bit more money and get a much higher-quality jack stand that you will confident getting under.
As a general rule of thumb, the heavier your car or truck is the more dangerous it is to be under. When we used to race stripped out Mazda’s at Laguna Seca (chump car) we would literally just lift the back end of the car onto jack stands with two or three guys. For that car, any jack stands would work, but when you’re talking about getting under a Ford F-350 Dually Diesel truck you need to be way more careful what jack stands you are using.
Things to Look for when Buying Jack Stands:
- Weld quality. Most jack stands will have a seam running down the middle of the stand where the two parts were welded together. Are people complaining about the weld quality here? This is the only thing keeping the jack stand from splitting in two while you are underneath it.
- Anti-sink feet. Does your jack stand have really pointy feet? Unless you want to have to always put down a piece of plywood under the jack stand to prevent it from slipping or digging into the ground/asphalt, buy jack stands that come with anti-sink feet. They have a greater surface area which allows the feet to spread out the weight. Preventing them from sinking in hot asphalt or if you happen to be working on dirt/gravel from sinking.
- Warranty/Brand. Do not buy the cheapest Chinese jack stands! Yes, many people have survived using these. But the second you push them over the limit you’re risking your life. Working on cars is dangerous, no need to make it more dangerous by using cheap jack stands.
- User Reviews. What do people have to say about the jack stands? Read the reviews and look for people that mention they are professional mechanics. If professionals are buying the jack stands and like them, then feel more reassured. Unfortunately, there are plenty of bad quality jack stands with decent reviews simply because 90% of the time they are okay. But look closer and you will find plenty of people complaining about weld qualities and cracking.
What Jack Stands Weight Rating For A Car?
Are you looking for the right jack stands for a car? Let’s use a 2016 Cadillac CTS as an example to figure out what would be a good weight rating for that car. I chose the CTS because it is a fairly heavy four-door sedan, as a comparison a 2016 Honda Civic weighs around 500-1000 lbs less depending on options chosen.
2016 Cadillac CTS weighs 3,646 to 4,030 lbs (that is the total weight if you were to lift it in the air and place it on a scale.)
The most common jack stand size for most DIYers and home mechanics are the classic “3-ton Jack Stands.”
1 ton = 2,000lbs
3-ton jack stands are rated to hold a maximum weight of 6,000lbs.
Leaving you 2,000 lbs of extra carrying capacity for the jack stand pair. Therefore, for basically any car a 3-ton jack stand pair will be enough to raise and support it. I don’t necessarily recommend buying 3-ton jack stands simply because I am not a fan of pushing jack stands anywhere near their max. But, 3-ton jack stands will work for any car, small truck, or mini-van.
The important thing to keep in mind is once you have the right weight rating for your vehicle that you need to focus on actually getting a quality jack stand pair. If you buy cheap, the weight rating is meaningless, as you are just increasing your chances that there may be a defect in the manufacturing which can endanger your life.
What Jack Stands Weight Rating For A Large Truck?
Let us take one of the beefiest new dually trucks on the market and figure out what jack stands are best. So, for this example, we will take the 2019 Ford F450 Dually which weighs in at 7,730 to 8,600 lbs.
If we were to jack the front end of that truck up and put it on our pair of 3-ton jack stands would it hold?
Once again the 3-ton jack stands can hold 6,000lbs as a pair. Since we are only lifting the front of the truck up we can assume a thousand or so pounds would still be resting on the rear tires.
But is it safe?
Not really. The 3-ton jack stands would be probably at maximum height and they would be in way over there head. I would NOT get under a big truck sitting on 3-ton jack stands.
I have personally seen jack stands start to crimple and bend over time when pushed not even near their “rated” limits. Why? Because they were cheap, and not the right tool for the job.
In my view, if you’re working on anything larger than a honda civic or a Toyota truck, you need to be buying jack stands over 3-tons. For this Ford F450 truck, we used as an example above, I would only get under it using 6-ton jack stands.
But here is the important thing to keep in mind, the quality of the jack stands is almost MORE important than their weight rating. This also assumes you understand how to safely use jack stands and put them underneath a car properly. Jack stands aren’t the easiest things to line up when you’re trying to get a car to sit on them. Make sure you understand choosing jack points and jack stand locations before even attempting to get under a car.
Cheap Jack Stands VS. High-Quality:
Photos speak a thousand words right?
Just check out these photos and see if you can guess which ones are cheaper and which are more expensive.
Please don’t risk your life under cheap jack stands. Or doing some homemade DIY jack stands that aren’t actually safe.
People don’t die all the time under failing jack stands, but it does happen. People get hurt and there are even lawyers that specialize in representing people injured by jacks and jack stands that fail. Click here to see for yourself.
From their website:
“Even with many years of quality assurance and lawsuits that target companies that market and distribute faulty products, many cars and auto parts make it to the American market only to be recalled because of defects. “
Please be safe. These OTC 6-ton jack stands are professional level and absolutely PERFECT for professional mechanics and DIYers alike.
Click here to read the top 10 inventions that have made car repair easier in 2019.