Flat tires, damaged shocks – these are not rare occurrences that people face at some point with their vehicle. Again, sometimes you may need a significant or minor upgrade that requires you to go under your car. Just like them, a wide range of automotive tasks may require you to lift the vehicle. And, as it’s never a wise idea to do that by hand, the best way is to use a car jack and you also need to know, how to jack up a car safely.
Car jacks are widely used devices or tools that use mechanical or hydraulic power transmitting mechanisms to lift heavy objects using very little force. It is one of the best ways to ensure safety when you have to operate underneath a vehicle. But, making sure that you are using it properly is crucial as when you are under a heavy automobile that weighs some 2000 pounds, the only thing that's keeping the vehicle up from smashing down on you, is your jack stand. Therefore, knowing how to jack up a car is a must before you carry on with the process.
How to Jack Up a Car
Here we have added a detailed insight on how to use jack stands as well as the precautions that you must take before using the best car jack.
These are conditions that you must satisfy to ensure safe raising automobile with your vehicle jack. We have broken them into some easy steps for your ease. Follow them correctly before you proceed with the floor jack.
Step#1. Park your vehicle on a hard and flat surface
- The first and foremost condition is to stabilize your vehicle firmly. To do that, you're your car on a hard and flat surface as parking your vehicle on a slippery surface may cause it to slide, and on the other hand, an inclined surface may cause it to roll down. Either way, you don't want that to happen. Just imagine the SUV moving when you're below – that's a practical nightmare.
- You can choose a hard driveway or workshop garage to park your car. But make sure that the surface is hard and flat. Don't park your vehicle on a yard as it cannot support the vehicle.
- However, if you cannot but jack the SUV on a soft or broken surface, try using a thick, flat piece of wood or board to make a rigid platform for the bottle jack.
Step#2. Wedge the wheels
- You must make sure that the wheels are unable to roll even on a flat surface during the procedure to ensure safety. To do that, wedging the wheels is an excellent idea. You can use chocks to do the trick. These are triangular-shaped blocks built from rubber and metal that prevents the wheels from rolling in any direction. Place a wedge or chock in front of each wheel in the opposite direction of the vehicle from where you are to lift.
- However, if you can't manage to find any chocks, you can simply use wedge-sized rocks, woods, or metal pieces to wedge your car-wheels.
- In case you must park your automobile on an inclined path, try parking it next to a curb and turn the wheels into the curb so that it can restrain the wheels from rolling over.
Jack up a Car: The safe Way
After ensuring all the necessary precautions, you can now proceed to the next step that is using the jack safely to jack up a car. Follow the steps mentioned below to carry on with the task correctly -
- First, you have to locate the jack point underneath your vehicle. Most vehicles have more than one jack points where you can attach the jack for lifting. It’s wise to use the dedicated jack points as lifting from some other point may cause the car's own weight to damage the frame. It may even cause the vehicle to slip off the jack. Check your car manufacturer's owner's manual to find the exact location of these points.
- Most automobiles contain a jack point on car sides behind the front wheels and ahead of the rear wheels. It can be beside the hard metal or plastic strips under the doors, also known as rocket panels. You may also find two more points behind the front and rear bumpers.
- However, if you're not familiar with jack points, look for a welded metal ribs beneath your car. You may also find them by looking for a notch that matches the pattern of the top of the jack. Your vehicle may even have a spot levelled "jack" on the spot places.
- After locating and selecting a jack point, place your car jack under the jack point. If it doesn’t line up with the sedan, that’s normal as you can move it around until it is getting the vehicle.
- Make sure you’re using the jack in the proper orientation. Many jacks come indications with "this side up" warning. However, if yours don’t have that indication, check the owner's manual for guidelines. A jack stand usually has a broad plain base and a smaller upward-facing arm with "teeth" at the edges that face up towards the body of the vehicle.
Step#3. Elevate the car jack
- The correct way of raising a jack depends on its type. There are numerous types of car jacks available in the market. They often work on different mechanisms. However, we'll discuss the two most used types of floor jack that are the scissor jack and the hydraulic jack.
- Scissor Car Jacks: These jacks have a collapsible mechanism that’s very similar to how a scissor operates.They have two parallel metal plates with a triangular-shaped arrangement between them. One side of the jack contains a metal hole that is connected to the main screw drive. In order to use it, you need to slip the included rod tool through that hole and turn it to raise the jack.
- Hydraulic Jacks: These are also called floor jacks. They have a handle like base extending mechanism to one side. You can find a slot to slip the included rod tool into on one side. Move the rod up and down to pump hydraulic fluid into the cylinder. As you pump, the quality jack will rise and lift your vehicle.
Step#4. Elevate the car
- You’ll find the jack harder to raise as it touched the vehicle. Keep raising the jack upward until the corner of the car leave the ground. Continue the process until your vehicle has achieved the desired ground clearance that the task requires. Typically, you only need a few inches of raise to do almost all sorts of modifications.
- While lifting the jack or after you have finished lifting the vehicle, listen carefully for any screeching or "thud" sound from either the vehicle or the jack. It may mean that your jack hasn't attached to the automotive correctly or that it's failing. Working under this condition may cause fatal accidents. So, always be sure before you go underneath the vehicle.
- Never try lifting the car while you're under it. A slight slip may cause the vehicle to fall directly on to you. Always lift your vehicle first and then check whether or not the automobile is secured and supported by the jack correctly before working underneath.
Step#5. Place jack stands underneath the car
- Always use jacks stands when you have to put any of your body parts underneath a vehicle. Jack stands offer a broader, more secure base and supports the car’s weight better than a single jack base. It’s never a good idea to work below a automobile.
- You need to place at least two jack stands for secure hold. Lift the jack stands until they almost touch the underside of the vehicle. Then lower the jack carefully until the sedan rests on the jack stands.
Step#6. Lower the Jack Stand
- After you're done, it's time to lower the vehicle down. Just like lifting the required two different methods for two different types of floor jack, lowering the jack also have different ways for scissor and hydraulic.
In the case of scissor jack, all you have to do is turn the rod in the opposite direction that you used to lift it.
- In the case of a hydraulic jack, you just need to release the valve. It will drain the fluid out of the hydraulic cylinder and lower the jack in the process.
And congratulations! You've successfully used your floor jack safely.
Every year, there are numerous accidents due to failing car jack. Tragedies like these often leave permanent physical damage to the victim. In the worst cases, many people have also lost their lives to such catastrophes. Therefore, knowing how to jack up a car in the safest way possible is something you should never ignore like checking brake fluid, engine oil.