RACQ Car Safety Fact Sheet
Given the high number of deaths and injuries, there appears to be a common misconception about the purpose of jacks, and certainly about the level of safety they provide.
The jack that comes with your car has only one purpose - to raise the vehicle while a wheel is changed. And they're perfectly safe if used in accordance with instructions.
All jacks sold in Australia, including those that come with new cars, are required by law to comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2693. Trolley jacks as used in professional workshops and by some home mechanics are also required to comply with another standard, AS/NZS 2615. Both specify the requirements for the design, construction, performance and labelling of jacks and are your guarantee that the product meets the required safety standards.
Jacks of any sort are not intended to support vehicles while they are being worked on, that's what safety stands are for. Safety stands are covered by AS/NZS 2538.
The following are a few basic jack safety precautions:
- Only use a jack on a hard level surface.
- Do not exceed the jack’s specified lifting capacity.
- Jack only under the designated lifting areas to ensure the vehicle is not damaged and that the jack will not slip.
- Wedge chocks under the vehicle’s wheels that remain on the ground, so that the vehicle cannot roll while being lifted.
- If you are using a trolley jack ensure that it is free to roll as the car is raised. Failure to do this may cause the vehicle to slip off the jack.
- Never go under a vehicle that is supported only by a jack. Before going underneath, place jack stands under appropriate parts of the vehicle and lower the vehicle onto the stands. Make sure that the vehicle is securely settled before going underneath.
- Use safety stands to support a vehicle. Do not use bricks, concrete blocks or wood.
- Never allow anyone to remain in, or to get into a vehicle that is supported only by a jack.
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