Shade tree mechanics, don't forget to put the wheel under the car for safety

Needed to work on the front wheel well area. Not under car, no need for jack stand. Customer is hanging around and doesn’t know what a floor jack is. Much less what happens if you twist the handle. Suddenly the jack is down and the front of the car is almost on the ground. It happend so fast!

Did you remove the wheel? Then yes, Jack stands were needed.

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I have a buddy whose jack failed before he could get a stand under the car. He was very close to the car when it dropped. Almost soiled himself. No hesitation to tell that story to anyone he sees working with only a jack.

First mistake.

Second mistake.

Third thing, if I saw someone using one of my wheels as a jack stand I would ask for my car back and leave. I can see it now…“Our floor jack failed but luckily we damaged your wheel and tire.”


Exactly why almost all shops DO NOT let customers in unsupervised. And mostly liability issues even with insurance.

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Who uses a jack stand to change a tire?

I wouldn’t want to go to your shop because it probably costs a forture by having everyone follow unneeded rules, the customer can’t see what you’re doing to their car so I could be getting ripped off, and you care more about a wheel than safety. Doesn’t everybody know that you put the wheel under the car but you don’t rest the car on it?

Changing a tire (especially roadside) is just a bit different then being in a shop getting work done inside the wheel well, which the tech would most likely use a lift. And if a shop doesn’t have jack stands I would question the lack of them.

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i DO. Because if the floor jack fails the vehicle will come crashing down and damage your rotor and who know what else can break. not to mention the possibility of you getting hurt

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How are you going to mount a new tire on that wheel if it is under the car?

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More nonsense from the Snowman .


I’ve never put the wheel under the car, but I don’t trust pinch welds any more than jacks. So yeah a couple Jack stands or separate bottle Jack. I just kind of expect the car to come down so stay clear of it most of the time.

Yes, in some cases more than the dealer would charge. And yet many people still find value in it. The shop is still booked out 7-10 days.

You can’t walk around the kitchen of a restaurant to make sure they’re preparing your food properly, you could be getting ripped off. In fact, the shop is far more transparent than the restaurant. We send you pics or videos documenting any recommended service or repair, and will gladly escort you through the shop to show you anything you have a question about. But you see the inherent flaw of having a customer around, don’t you? Your wing-nut customer who lowered a floor jack could easily stick his hand in the deep fryer in a kitchen.

Nope. I care enough about safety to use a device that was intended specifically to be used in conjunction with a floor jack to keep the car raised. I will not risk damage to a $500 wheel by failing to use a $50 stand.

As a side note, as of 10 months ago I’m no longer active in a retail shop. Now I’m trying to provide more qualified technicians to an industry that sorely needs them.


When a car falls off a floor-jack (or any jack)…many times it doesn’t fall directly straight down. Sometimes it’ll fall outward. If you’re in the way you could be seriously injured. There are times I didn’t use jack stands when using my floor jack. But when I did - I used a small bottle jack as backup. Both jacks under the vehicle.

Fixed it for you.

I use a jackstand when I remove a wheel. All my cars have wheel and tire assemblies that weigh 50 lbs or more. I put myself at risk anytime I remove a wheel. The jackstand minimizes that risk.

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What if it falls off the jack stand? Have you tried to use a jack stand on anything other than concrete that is in good condition? A wheel won’t fall over.

Yup, grass or asphalt paddocks when racing. Not always perfectly level.

The trick is to place them of a square of 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood… or even ty-wrap the plywood to the bottom of the stand like we did racing. I still have a couple with the 30 year old plywood attached. Use a larger piece with a stop attached to one end for the jack so it won’t sink into the grass.

Still safer than using a jack alone.

Anything to prove your beliefs. What if there’s an earthquake, tsunami, firestorm, zombie attack. Get off it. Even if a wheel is better than nothing the car will still come down far enough to cause bodily damage.

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Yeah that’s the whole point of me posting this. I forgot to put the wheel under the car. Do you argue with nobody when nobody left to disagree with?

A floor jack is for lifting only, and should be removed before doing any work–even changing a tire. If I am removing any wheel(s) then the support device is a set of jack stands. If I am not removing any wheels, then I jack up each corner one at a time (perhaps just both front corners if I’m only raising the front) and I stick a wheel under each tire (or front tire).

I have a set of 4 steel wheels for a Ford F250 which I bought on Craigslist for just this purpose. If I have to get under the car, I feel much safer with it raised on spare wheels than I would with it raised on jack stands. The wheels have a big advantage, which is that they can be safely used even on dirt driveway, whereas jack stands cannot (unless you put a thick metal plate or thick piece of plywood underneath to prevent sinking into the earth).