What’s Up With “Junkyard Jack Stands?”

Take a look around your average self-service auto junkyard and you might see row after row of cars that seem precariously perched on old steel rims. This surprisingly common approach to automotive elevation seems like something that should turn you off of climbing underneath it to reach a hard-to-get part. However, there's a lot about this particular setup you might not know that makes it relatively safe to deal with.

It's All in the Welds

If you see a junkyard car perched on old steel rims, don't worry – they're not going anywhere. That's because the rims are usually tack welded to the car's frame at the rim lip. Welding the wheel lip and frame together insures that the car won't roll off the rims or otherwise collapse. Given how strong steel wheels must be to withstand ordinary weights and loads when mounted, it's no surprise that they're strong enough to hold up a vehicle under junkyard conditions.

When the car's finally ready for its date with the crusher, the welds are often cut off the frame and likely reused for future vehicle stands.

Why Steel Wheels?

Alloy wheels may be a popular option on most cars, but there are quite a few that offer steel wheels as standard equipment. As a result, steel wheels are a common sight in most junkyards. To keep steel wheels from piling up, many junkyards have breathed new life into them by giving them a supporting role in ordinary junkyard operations.

Ways You Can Protect Yourself

  • Take a look at the ground the car sits on. If it appears damp, soft or otherwise not solid, you might want to pass up on crawling underneath.
  • Before you work on pulling your parts, give the car you're working on a good shake. A car with well-positioned jack stands shouldn't budge when you give the car a nudge or two.
  • If you're still understandably leery about the junkyard's own jack stand solution, don't hesitate to bring your own. You can place your own set of proper jack stands on all four corners of the vehicle for added stability and reassurance.
  • If all else fails, you can always have a junkyard specialist remove the parts for you. Keep in mind that some shops might not be willing to extend this courtesy to its customers.

These helpful tips can save you a lot of trouble and help you keep some peace-of-mind when harvesting used auto parts from your local pick-and-pull junkyard.

To learn more, contact a company like Southwest Auto Salvage