Lifting up the car is one of the automotive tasks that requires you to do.If you don’t have access to a full-size lift, you’ll have to use a jack.Jacks are easy to use, but care must be taken to ensure your safety, especially if you’re working under the car.Following a few common sense rules is what this means.
Step 1: The car should be parked on a hard surface.
It is extremely dangerous to have the car slip or roll off of the jack.If you want to prevent this, always work on a flat surface.The surface you work on should be sturdy and hard to shift.A concrete driveway away from the road is a good example.Even if the yard is flat, the dirt may not be strong enough to support the car.
Step 2: Remove the wheels.
Chocks are wedge-shaped blocks that keep the wheels from rolling.The opposite end of the car is where you intend to lift it.Some sources recommend bricks, cinder blocks, large rocks, or wedge-shaped pieces of wood if you don’t have chocks.
Step 3: Make sure that the car is parked.
If the car has a manual transmission, put it in the lowest forward gear.
Step 4: Extra precautions should be taken in sub-par conditions.
The instructions in this section are intended to protect you and others if the car slips off its jack.If you must jack the car on a soft or broken surface such as a dirt shoulder, use a thick, flat piece of wood to make a stable platform.If you have to jack the car up on a slight incline, park next to the curb and turn the wheels so that they are touching it.If a car slips off the jack, others will be hurt.If you don’t have anything to block the wheels, turn the tires into the curb.Don’t jack the car on the side of the road.Put your hazard lights on if you have to jack the car up.Flares, cones, and pylons can be used to direct traffic away from you.
Step 5: The jack point can be found.
There are points along the body where the vehicle is designed to be lifted.If you lift somewhere else, the car’s weight may cause damage to the frame and cause it to slip off the jack.The owner’s manual will usually tell you where the jack points are.There is a jack point behind the front wheels and in front of the back wheels.The metal or plastic strips beneath the doors will often be next to this.There are two more central jack points just behind the front and rear bumpers.If you’re not sure where the jack points are, look for a flat metal area along the pinch weld.A notch that matches the shape of the jack, a cutout in the plastic skirt that exposes metal, and a sturdy plastic block attached to the frame are all possibilities.There is a spot labeled “jack” on the underside.
Step 6: The jack should be positioned under the jack point.
You just found a jack point, so put your jack under it.If you slide it around until it touches the car, it doesn’t need to be lined up perfectly.Make sure the right side is facing up.Look in your owner’s manual for visual instructions if the jack isn’t labeled with a “this side up” warning.The jack will typically have a wide, flat base and a smaller upward-facing arm with “teeth” at the edges pointing up into the body of the car.
Step 7: The jack has to be raised.
The exact way to do this will depend on which type of jack you have.As the jack nears the underside of the car, make last-minute adjustments so that it lines up with the point.The jacks look like metal plates with a mechanism in between.There is a metal hole on one side of the jack.Pull the sides of the jack inward and push the top and bottom apart with the included rod tool.The vehicle is being lifted.Also referred to as bottle or floor jacks.These sections have a lever-like base extending to one side.The included rod tool can be put into a slot on the other side.To raise the jack, crank the rod up and down in long, steady strokes.
Step 8: Take the car off the ground.
It will become harder to raise when the jack makes contact with the underside of the car.The corner of the car will leave the ground if you keep working the jack upward.When the car has enough clearance, you can stop.A few inches is all that’s needed for a tire change.Make sure to pay attention to the sound or movement of the car being lifted.As the jack shifts, it is common to hear a ‘pop’ or ‘thud’.Check that it hasn’t slipped out of position before continuing.All of your body parts should be out of the way when you lift the car.If the car slips off the jack, serious injury or death can occur.
Step 9: Use jack stands if you will be working under the car.
Work that requires you to put any part of your body under the car requires jack stands.The base for the car’s weight is more secure with these jacks.Detailed instructions can be found in our jack stands article.Slip two jack stands underneath the car near where the jack is supporting it is a typical use.The stands should be lined up with the pinch weld or jack point.The jack should be raised until they are touching the underside of the car.Carefully lower the jack until it catches the car.If you aren’t working under the car, you can go without a jack stand.Don’t put your body under the car as you work.
Step 10: When finished, lower the car.
You are ready to do whatever is necessary on your car.When you are done, lower the car back to the ground and remove the jack.If you are using a jack stand, you must first raise the car off of the stands, then remove them and then lower it.You can turn the rod in the opposite direction if you slip it into the screw drive hole.The arm is lowered when the relief valve is open.The lever has a small screw on it.To avoid dropping the car, open the valve slowly.