21

So it's time to raise the car onto jack stands, but for whatever reason it needs to go higher than the stand height allows. How can I safely raise the height of the car?

What I have done in the past is put a 2in concrete pave stone under the stand. It's much bigger than the base of the stand, and is flat against the ground and the top surface is flat for the stand to sit on. Is that too much weight for the stand? i would hate for it to crack and drop the stand to the ground with me under the car.

What is the safe way to do this? I mean besides buying a lift.. :)

  • 8
    concrete pavers can still break - not a good choice – KevinDTimm Apr 15 '16 at 20:19
  • @KevinDTimm yep, it's concrete after all (a conglomerate rock), so all it takes is a small fracture in the right spot, and the foot of the stand will spit it apart under load. – SnakeDoc Apr 15 '16 at 22:02
  • Older garages had a pit under the car work area, for access. They are quite a safety hazard though. – Criggie Apr 16 '16 at 3:46
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    Really, I would never have thought a pit would be a safety hazard. What makes them dangerous? I was thinking of investigating what one would cost – cdunn Apr 16 '16 at 3:55
  • Jacks should really only be used for the lifting phase, hydraulics and mechanical lifts can all fail, and you really don't want to be under a ton of car 3 feet off the ground when that happens. Use solid wood or metal supports to hold the car up. If you need more height, repeat with a shorter wood block under the jack. – Leliel Apr 16 '16 at 9:34
26

You could always look into jack stands that are typically used for heavy duty trucks and semis. One time I had a lifted truck I had to go to Northern Tool and purchase high reaction jack stands:

enter image description here

Item link

That said I wouldn't recommend using anything other than the jack stand. Even if you are using a block that block could still break from the pressure being applied and you would be crushed. Safety should always be top priority. You just need bigger stands.

  • @cdunn I think this is the most sensible response. Bigger jack stands is the way to go and will probably adjust higher than you can jack the car. – Ben Apr 15 '16 at 20:47
  • 1
    I nearly fell out of the Falcon when I saw the price tag on these. They look great though. I have this guy in Carbonite in my basement, I could sell him. . – cdunn Apr 16 '16 at 3:58
  • @cdunn they make larger jack stands for light trucks that aren't $600 (TBH I didn't even look at the link until you said something about the price, lol) – Ben Apr 17 '16 at 12:56
19

Wood. It's plenty strong. Cut some 2x6 or 2x8 and stack them accordingly. This is the most cost effective way to solve your problem. The only danger you will encounter is if you used rotten wood.

I realize the picture is not 2x6's, etc, but, it displays the idea.

enter image description here

  • 3
    2x6/2x8/2x10/etc are much better than concrete blocks - solid or not – KevinDTimm Apr 15 '16 at 20:18
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    The orange jackstand in the photo doesn't look very well supported, to me. Because the diagonal of those wood blocks is only slightly greater than their height, they can roll over without needing to lift the car very much, so it seems that they could topple fairly easily. – David Richerby Apr 15 '16 at 22:06
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    @DavidRicherby I will find a better photo. The setup on the orange jack stand is not how I described. – Jonathan Musso Apr 15 '16 at 23:55
  • I agree with @David. The wood at the top isn't correctly aligned, either. You wouldn't see me getting under there. – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 17 '16 at 16:09
  • Dude. You're about to win a Darwin award. – James King Apr 17 '16 at 20:33
16

Hydraulic car ramps are a great option if you can source them.

Four ramps

They give oodles of clearance by lifting the wheels themselves. You have to drive the wheels into them before using the hydraulic pump to lift the ramp.

Montage


Drive-on ramps operate on a similar principle - just drive onto them

Rhino ramps

  • 1
    I was hoping for a solution that Jacks the body so the wheels can come off. But then I've seen these just for the frame. Problem is they're $2500 (US). – cdunn Apr 15 '16 at 19:53
  • I do like the clearance those give though. And being separates they're very flexible in how they're used. – cdunn Apr 15 '16 at 19:54
  • @cdunn yes, that is a limitation with this product; the wheels are expected to stay on. – Zaid Apr 15 '16 at 19:55
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Adding this as an additional answer since I was reminded of it after seeing Zaid's answer. Hydraulic lift jacks are fairly pricey so I always wondered of an alternative and there is an item that has come out that is on my wish list called My Lift Stand. It is great if you do not need to access the brakes or require a wheel to be off and it adds additional lift beyond a typical jack stand:

pic from site:

enter image description here

Since some recommended in comments a pic without the jack here is another reference:

enter image description here

I did look on the site for a pic if just the stand itself but I have only found pics of the jack in use. If someone can find a pic or take a pic of the stand please feel free to edit.

Screen grab from the demonstration video on the seller's site:

enter image description here

  • I understand that this product fits under all four wheels (yay, hydraulics are not safe) but the picture above needs to make that more clear :) – KevinDTimm Apr 15 '16 at 20:18
  • @KevinDTimm can you go into more detail on what you suggest? Im all for an edit to the answer if it makes it better. – Hᴇʀʙɪᴇ Apr 15 '16 at 20:19
  • 2
    I would add a picture of just the stand. I can't tell what's going on here - it just looks like the car is setting on four IKEA side tables. – JPhi1618 Apr 15 '16 at 20:20
  • @JPhi1618 Ive looked for a pic of just the stand but the site only references pictures of it in use. – Hᴇʀʙɪᴇ Apr 15 '16 at 20:22
  • 2
    @KevinDTimm edited for clarity – Hᴇʀʙɪᴇ Apr 15 '16 at 20:24
13

The safest method to increase the jack height without purchasing more equipment is to work in a level surface that provides a natural "grease pit" environment. Assuming you only need more room to maneuver yourself under the car: parking LEVEL/FLAT over a steep curb, gutter, sidewalk, gulley, etc. will give you that extra room to move.

enter image description here

From there you can jack up the car, but always use jackstands as a backup support. I've seen cars fall off of jacks. I've seen a jackstand save my brother-in-law's life. For this reason, I personally will do no more than reach under a car until I have jackstands in place.

Instead, I highly recommend that you instead use ramps or wheel stands (buy, rent or borrow) as suggested above. A car on ramps/wheel stands, over a deep gutter can be a comfortable working enviroment.

I have used a wood block to get an extra 1 1/2", but will not use multiple wood blocks (as suggested by others) because they become too unstable. A better choice is concrete blocks or large concrete pavers. Or perhaps building wooden wheel stands.

wooden wheel stands & wooden jack stands:

enter image description here

-3

Engineering Mud

Layers of sand/earth sandwiched between sheets of cloth.

I was initially quite skeptical about it, but this video blew my mind:

Video thumbnail
Sand Castle Holds Up A Car!- Mechanically Stabilized Earth

  • 1
    It's a nice party trick but you wouldn't find many people prepared to get under the car in that situation. How well does it stand up to lateral loads? Someone leaning on the car? Someone nudging the car with another vehicle while manoeuvering? – Chris H Oct 21 '16 at 8:46

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