How to Safely setup Jack Stands on Blacktop, Stone, Dirt

Posted: October 6, 2015 By: MattM

We all wish we could have “TV quality” fully equipped garages with fancy lifts and all of the tools a guy could dream of, but in reality many of us (me included) are still working on our backs under a car in the driveway once in a while. Every time you get under a car lifted up in the driveway it can be very risky. There’s a few precautions you can take to assure your car is properly supported before doing work underneath of it.

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Obviously jack stands are necessary when setting up a car to work on it in the driveway, but one thing many people forget is to make sure that the surface you’re setting the jack or jack stands on is solid and won’t sink. Obviously dirt will sink when you put a jack stand with weight on top of it, but a lot of people don’t think about what it does to blacktop.

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On a hot summer day blacktop actually can tend to soften from hours of the sun beating on it. Add the weight of your car finely focused on the feet of the jack stands and you have a recipe for disaster. The jack stands will sink and dig into the blacktop and can start to tilt over time and could make the car unstable. The other thing that happens is that you ruin your nice blacktop driveway! It WILL leave marks and I’ve even seen the jack stand take some blacktop with it when you remove it. Over time this can cause the blacktop to erode and fall apart. NOT GOOD!

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The easy solution is to keep a few thick plates of steel laying around (I prefer 12″X12″ at minimum) to set underneath of the jack stands. This spreads the weight/force of the jack stands across the entire plate. This way you’re less likely to damage your driveway and your jack stands won’t sink and start to tilt. Use this quick tip and you can save your driveway and yourself! TheYavapai Classic Cruisers Club has a good list if you’re looking for the best aluminum floor jacks. We highly recommend checking them out.

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-Matt/EW

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