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I have a 2013 2LS Camaro and I am looking to change the rear differential fluid and need to jack up the rear end of my vehicle.

Based on videos and enthusiast forums, people achieve this by putting a block of wood between the jack stand and the car along the side of the vehicle. For example: enter image description here

It seems like the wood could shift or split with the jack stand digging into it. Is this considered safe, or is this an indication that your jack stands aren't where they should be (if you need a piece of wood to distribute the load)?

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This is a good recommendation

The wood will compress a bit when you lower your car down onto it. The jack stand will dig into the wood as well.

The benefits related to this related to the vehicle slipping on the jack stands. I've never had a piece of wood fail doing this, although soft white pine sometimes comes out looking pretty beat up.

To answer your question.

Is it safe to place wood between a car and a jack stand?

YES, absolutely.

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    I did it all the time for lift arms, I used 2x4's though, kept plenty new ones around and threw used ones on the burn pile regularly. I do not recommend anything thinner than a 2x4. (1 5/8) 2x6 is good also. – Moab May 13 '16 at 22:31
  • I did try this briefly before posting this question, so maybe I was a bit too cautious. While the wood was settling the noise seemed off and the wood was indented after. This was only after a few seconds of being on the stands. Maybe I should try with harder wood, or is this a pretty standard result? – William May 13 '16 at 23:04
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    yes, it is. It should get compressed a bit. you are good. :-) – DucatiKiller May 13 '16 at 23:07
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    Spreading the weight is not a bad thing either. You want to spread the weight wherever possible. For example, in some vehicles you need to lift the motor via the oil pan, However a typical jack may punch straight through or damage the pan during the process. Spreading the weight increases the contact patch and reduces the pressure on a given area. This makes it much safer. The wood will settle and crackle a bit. Try to align the woodgrain against the jack stand when possible, The sharp points should not be in line with the grain (lines) of the wood or you may split the wood. – Jeep Cherokee Rescue Society May 14 '16 at 6:24
  • I generally like to go with 3/4 plywood if I'm using the wood to spread a load. You can easily get a large enough piece to spread the load without the tendency to crack like you get with pine scraps. – Lathejockey81 May 14 '16 at 15:23
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It is ABSOLUTELY safe. I do this all the time. Mind you I usually use a piece of 2x4, though. It spreads the load over more of the frame or body and keeps the jack stand from doing any damage. The jack stand does dig into the wood, which is much better than digging into your vehicle. The wood can crack. The wood can do a lot of things. But once the wood is settled, which is before you ever crawl under the car, it's good to go. If something should happen, it's before you ever get under the car.

EDIT: I wanted to add a picture of just what I've done in the past. I will almost always use a piece of 2x4 between jackstand and the vehicle. Waste 2x4 is cheap ... getting dents in the bottom of cars is not so cheap. This is the bottom of my previous Camaro Z28. If I didn't trust it, it wouldn't happen.

enter image description here

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I'm going to take a different approach to this. As pictured, it's perfectly safe, and sometimes recommended to spread out the pressure to avoid damage.

However, I've also seen a pile of wood used to extend a jack's height...and then fall over. Don't do that! (The car in question landed on the freshly-unpadded jack with the oil pan...messy.)

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It’s probably safe - if you make sure the grain of the wood is aligned perpendicularly to any small pressure points - for example, the recommended jack points on most cars. Otherwise, it’s at risk of splitting, which would result in the car falling the height of the wood, and perhaps more. Some pieces of wood could have structural vulnerabilities - do this with due caution.

Against the grain - ok. With the grain - not safe.

The exception is if the pressure is evenly distributed along the piece, like @Paulster2’s photo shows - that’s ok.

wide vs thin support area

While it has to be wider than it is tall, it should be thick enough too, especially if the weight is bearing down on a small area. I agree that in the picture in the OP, it is not thick enough. A 2x4 would be good, or 3x6, or 2x6. I would avoid 2x2 and even 4x4. Obviously for the same reason, the longer side needs to be the side in contact with the jack stand and car...

Of course finally: you do this at your own risk; I’m not responsible for any damages incurred from following this advice. This is merely a description of what I myself have done, and the logic behind how it was done.

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