So, a few days ago I was ready to replace an O2 sensor on my Dodge Durango, lifted the car, placed a couple of jacks under the frame and crawled under the car.
It wasn’t ten seconds when suddenly I had this overwhelming feeling that I shouldn’t be doing this. I have done this hundreds of times and never really had any second thoughts crawling under a car and working on the underside, but this time it was different. Anyways, I removed everything, let the car down and went inside to have a cup of coffee and had a good day doing something else.
The jacks I used are rated at 2 tons. This car weights about 6700 lbs. Seems that I have been playing with an accident to happen. I plan on using my son’s scissor lift which is rated at 8000 lbs. and I have more space to work. But I purchased a new pair of 3-ton jacks to be used in the future on my other cars, which are not as heavy.
I compared the new jacks with my 2-ton jacks, and I noticed something that I found very disturbing on the 2-ton jacks (the ones I have been using for over 15 years).
The locking pawl slides over the locking handle and is held in place by only a skinny pin. The locking pawl is the part that holds the ratchet bar in place. There is no other safety pin or bold to backup this mechanism. The complete weight of whatever part of the car rests on the ratchet bar and its weight is subsequently held in place by that skinny pin. In other words, in the past I had half of the cars weight rest on two skinny pins, one in each jack. Thinking back, it sounds like attempted suicide to use these types of jacks on cars.
The new 3-ton jacks (the red ones) have the same mechanism but have a heavy-duty double lock.