It was reported today that yet another death has occurred when a vehicle slipped off a jack, while being worked on.
According to the Fairfax/Stuff website, Kenneth Wood, 65, of Timaru (in South Canterbury) had been doing an oil change on his car, when it slipped off a “scissor” jack.
Despite the best efforts of his flatmate who ran to his aid, he was dead by the time Fire/Rescue crews arrived and lifted the car from him.
Scissor-jacks, similar to the one pictured at left, are the most common types provided as standard with cars, they are perfectly adequate for occasional tyre changing or home car maintenance, but like all jacks extreme care needs to be taken, and you should always “chock” the wheels on the opposite side of the car and also prop a vehicle up with something else in case the jack fails or slips.
From my own experience of rehabilitating clapped out old bangers, I have had cars topple of jacks many times but never had the jack itself actually fail.
Scissor jacks (left of photo) are considered less safe than bottle-jacks. Bottle-jacks can be either screw-type or hydraulic, the one at the right of this photo is a screw-type.
This tragedy is yet another reminder to home mechanics to be particularly careful especially if the vehicle is parked on sloping ground, and ALWAYS put something under the vehicle in case the jack slips. Axle-stands, sometimes called jack-stands are ideal but large pieces of scrap timber can also be used.