Discussing Auto Parts And Repair Practices

Why Do Junkyards Use Steel Wheels As Jack Stands?

Ever wonder why your local junkyard has its vehicles perched on top of steel wheels? It's a common practice among many junkyards and it helps make it easier for customers to grab otherwise hard-to-reach parts. But why use steel wheels, specifically? As it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons why junkyards put their steel wheels to good use.

Steel Wheels are Plentiful and Reusable

Although steel wheels are still a common sight on many cars and trucks, many junkyard shoppers ignore them in favor of better looking and more valuable alloy wheels. So it's little wonder that steel wheels often pile up in some forlorn corner. But instead of letting these wheels stack up, many junkyards reuse these wheels as jack stands. To keep the vehicle from going anywhere, tack welds are added between the rim lip and the car's steel frame.

So what happens when what's left of the car is ready for its date with the crusher? Instead of crushing the wheels along with the rest of the car, the junkyard employees simply cut through the welds to liberate the wheels from the vehicle frame. This way, the steel wheel can be reused as many times as needed to hold up other vehicles.

Is It Safe?

When done correctly, putting a vehicle on steel wheels is about as safe as using regular jack stands. Steel wheels are already designed to withstand a vehicle's weight, so it's no big deal to use a set of them to hold up a vehicle. The welds also keep the vehicle from rolling on the steel wheel, making the entire setup relatively stable.

If you're still not convinced, you can always give the vehicle a lateral nudge or two to make sure the vehicle isn't shifting on the steel wheels. You can also place your own jack stands near where you're going to work if you need to pull a part off the vehicle in question.

Why Not Use Alloy Wheels?

With a growing number of vehicles equipped with aluminum and magnesium alloy wheels, you're probably wondering why junkyards don't use these for impromptu jack stands. As it turns out, it's much easier to weld a steel wheel to a steel frame than it is to weld a dissimilar alloy metal to the frame. Welding aluminum to steel requires special tools and techniques that most yards don't have on hand or have the time and effort to do. Besides, it's often easier to sell alloy wheels to the general public thanks to their value and desirability. For more info, contact a junkyard in your area.