A jack is a mechanical device used to raise and suspend heavy objects, especially vehicle, to change the wheels or fix a component underneath. Usually, a jack stand is used to hold the car up after lifting it with the jack.
The jack lift is useful when handling any repair that requires accessing components underneath your vehicle. Since the jack is built with the capacity to lift heavy objects, most people are sceptical about its endurance ability.
If you’re asking, “How long can you leave a car on a jack?” This post provides a perfect answer to resolve your contemplations.
How Long Can You Leave A Car On A Jack?
You can leave your car on a jack for a few minutes to a couple of hours, provided the jack stand is sitting on a plain (flat) concrete surface and placed on the right spot beneath the vehicle.
However, the jack may not be able to hold the vehicle for too long because the component is not designed for that purpose. The jack is meant to lift the SUV and do the repair – maintenance jobs, while a jack stand is required to hold it up firmly for as long as you desire.
So, if you were wondering, “How long can you leave a car on jack stands?” Jack stands can suspend and hold a vehicle for days, several weeks or months, and even years, as the case may be. A jack stand is built with a solid capacity to hold heavy objects relative to the size of the thing it is designed to hold.
Meanwhile, jack stands do not necessarily fail when you use them to hold a vehicle, no matter how long. However, the surface on which the jack stands sit has a role in how well they hold an object. There are various jack stands with different bases. While there are car jack stands on wheels, others have a standard base.
Expert auto mechanics recommend using a jack to lift a car, while the jack stands are used to suspend the vehicle perpetually. However, both devices must sit on a flat solid surface, preferably a concrete surface.
In other words, using a jack or jack stands on sand, gravel, or sloppy ground can make the vehicle fall off. This is because the base of the devices may dig into the soil or slip when sitting on sloppy ground.
Such occurrences make some people believe that jacks and jack stands cannot hold a car up for a long time. However, car jack failure is mainly due to a user’s error, just like a jack stand can also fail in some cases. Meanwhile, leaving a car on one jack stand may not be as balanced as leaving a car on 2 jack stands.
Is It Illegal To Leave A Car On Jack Stands?
Generally, leaving a car on jack stands does not attract any legal penalty. However, it is essential to verify if a particular bylaw prohibits the act in your location before attempting to lift your vehicle and hold it up with jack stands for days or weeks.
Meanwhile, what’s the point of holding a car up for weeks? Jack stands are supposed to help hold your car firmly while you work on the components beneath the car. Then, once you finish with the task, kindly drop the car.
Types of Car Jack
There are various types of jacks in the automotive industry. However, let’s look at the three types of jacks every car owner should have or use. They include the following:
A trolley jack is a hydraulic jack designed with wheels for easy movement, used to lift heavy objects, most vehicles. It is also referred to as service jack or floor jack because of their similarities.
Trolley has a relatively low jack profile and is suitable for lower vehicles like sports cars. The jack has a unique handle used as a pump handle. You can pull the jack’s handle in any direction to lift your vehicle to gain access when you need to work on components beneath the vehicle.
A trolley jack can lift objects weighing between 2 – 4 tons. The jack also features a manual or automatic braking system that helps to lock the device when in use. Trolley jacks are arguably safer and more stable than most of their counterparts. However, they can be relatively expensive.
As the name implies, a bottle jack is designed with a shape that looks similar to a bottle. It is also a hydraulic jack a handle and pressure pump mounted by the side. The jack can lift vehicles weighing around 3 – 20 tons.
There are various kinds of bottle jacks. Some bottle jacks are built with an incorporated stand; others are designed without the stand. The jack is fitted with a vertically aligned piston – that’s the bottle.
The pressure from the hand pump fitted on the side helps to pump oil to the bottle, resulting in a vertical movement of the bearing pad. While some bottle jacks are operated manually, others are automatically driven. Bottle jacks are more suitable for truck owners because they can lift heavier objects.
A scissor jack is one of the most common jacks, especially because of its simple operation. The jack is designed with a screw at the horizontal axis. The screw is designed to lengthen or shorten the horizontal diagonal of the parallelogram.
Scissor jacks consist of four metal pieces, and two base ends. The metal parts are connected with bolts at the corners. The jack operation involves injecting a crank into one of the scissors and turning the crank.
As you turn the crank, it turns the screw and causes the jack to rise. This process can lift a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds. However, the jacks are relatively simpler to use and maintain than their counterparts.
Can I Leave Car On Scissor Jack Overnight?
No, you can’t leave your car on a scissor jack overnight. A scissor jack is not designed to hold a vehicle for a long time.
If you intend to work on a component underneath your car for a long time such as replacing a tire or changing oil with the scissor jack, ensure to hold the vehicle with jack stands after lifting it.
The scissor jack is mainly meant for emergencies, such as replacing a flat tire on the highway. However, in this case, kindly ensure that you place the jack on a flat concrete surface instead of putting it on the soil or gravel.
How Much Can A Scissor Jack Lift?
A scissor jack can lift loads weighing between 500 and 2,000 lbs. In addition, the jack lifter can raise loads to around 20 inches, depending on the model. Meanwhile, some sophisticated scissor jacks can lift heavier objects, weighing up to 5,000 lbs.
However, no matter how much load a scissor jack can lift, auto technicians’ advice never to use them to hold vehicles for too long, especially for days or weeks. They are not built for that purpose.
Undoubtedly, it is possible to leave your car on jack stands for a long time. However, if you’re asking, “How long can you leave a car on a jack?” kindly note that a jack is not designed to hold a vehicle up for too long.
If you have a flat tire or a faulty component underneath your car, carefully lift the automobile with a jack and hold it up with jack stands to fix the parts. Meanwhile, putting a car on jack stands will help protect the tires and rims from damage if you have any reason to store your car.