If your tripod or light stand costs a lot of moolas, you don’t have to worry, it should last. This tip is for the average tripods and light stands and those below average aka cheap. It comes from my own experience dealing with both items.
Basically, my principle in buying product is cheap and good, or as others say, best bang for buck. The important things for me are function, built quality, performance and price. No point in buying cheap but not good. Those high-end tripods and light stands, you pay premium for not only the quality but also for the brand name.
The tip is just a fairly simple thing to do, that is, don’t stress it when not in use. So, when in storage or travel, release all the locking mechanisms, free it whenever possible. The locking mechanisms are probably made of plastic albeit a strong plastic and others may be of metal, usually not of a strong metal as in steel, considering the price paid. Plastic will increasingly becomes brittle and constant stress on metal will weaken it. When this happened, it will crack and later on break. This applies for the clip-locking type only, as for the twist-locking, I don’t have it long enough but still, it can be stressed out and break especially if it is made of plastic. The other problem that I could think about is that the wedge/grip inside the twist-lock mechanism might lose its elastic nature after being held down constantly for a long period of time. Probably, it is still a good idea not to tighten it so much when not in use. (Note: I saw a newer tripod with a single twist, might also be a good idea too just not to lock it while in storage or travel.)
That’s all about it, let it free, or in the case of the twist-locking type, let it loose.