Your automotive floor jack is probably not going to fail, but you should always treat it as if it will.
Never EVER put any part of your body under a car, truck, or other load that is solely supported with a floor jack. Why? Because your vehicle could – and likely will – crush you if the jack fails.
This isn’t a hypothetical; people are injured and even killed by jack failures. The saddest part is that many incidents might have been avoidable.
Sometimes there are mechanical failures, other times user errors. A lot can go wrong when a car is supported by a jack.
Always read and understand the user manual that comes with floor jacks.
For instance, here is part of the important safety information that Harbor Freight provides in their Daytona 3-ton floor jack (shown above):
10. Never work on, under or around a load supported only by this device.
Husky says similar:
This is a lifting device only. Immediately after lifting, support the vehicle with jack stands.
Automakers’ owners manuals provide similar advice. For instance, GMC says:
Getting under a vehicle when it is lifted on a jack is dangerous. If the vehicle slips off the jack, you could be badly injured or killed. Never get under a vehicle when it is supported only by a jack.
There are other safety guidelines that should be read, understood, and followed. I won’t go over it here – it’s your responsibility to learn safety information from authoritative sources, such as equipment user manuals.
Jacks are used to lift vehicles, and jack stands – among other devices – are used to support lifted loads. Jack-makers also often recommend the use of wheel chocks or blocks.
Jack stands and other support accessories have their own safety information and guidelines that should also be read, understood, and strictly adhered to.
There are other means of elevating cars for maintenance or repair tasks, such as ramps.
Always prepare for the worst. Will it happen? Probably not, but it could, and for some people it does.
Be safe out there!
If you have any questions, consult an expert, which I absolutely do NOT profess to be. Equipment user manuals should all have phone numbers you can call for technical information and advice.