How to Jack Up a Car: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide
There are some obvious reasons to jack up a car, the top one being to change the tires. There are also times when you need to do it in order to check the brakes or some other general maintenance.
We often tend to assume that this is mostly meant for professionals at a workshop to do, but learning how to jack up a car is not the most challenging thing in the world. While jacking up a car is quite a simple process, it is labor-intensive.
The most important thing to keep in mind through the entire process is safety. That should be your main priority. After all, you are going to raise a massive thing weighing thousands of pounds, which means it does come with risks. Hence, we will guide you to jack up your car like a pro.
Top Reasons to Jack Up a Car
As mentioned earlier, the most common reason why people jack up their car is to change their tires. Some of the other reasons include changing the engine oil and getting access to parts located on the under-carriage. These include the transmission, exhaust, and so on.
Regardless of what the reason may be, if you have a car and deal with it regularly, it is essential to know the correct and safe way to jack up a car as it will be helpful in an emergency.
Things You Need
Whatever make and model of vehicle you own, there are a couple of tools you will need in order to jack up your car. Obviously, among them is a jack. There are different types of jacks, such as hydraulic jacks, hi-lift jacks, scissor jacks, motorcycle jacks, and more.
These are priced anywhere between $40 to $250. When buying one, we recommend that you don’t cut costs here and buy one that is popular and made from durable materials.
While a jack is the most important thing you need, there are other items too. Some of these items are optional, but having them will ensure that the process of jacking up your car is much smoother.
These other items include:
- The car owner’s manual to refer to the bolt torque ratings and the engine oil types
- Jack stands for extra safety and stability
- Cinder blocks or something similar to chock the wheels
- A bright LED light if you are working in the night
- Heavy-duty utility gloves to protect your hands
Taking the Necessary Safety Precautions
Before we start talking about the process of jacking up your car, we first need to shed light on the safety precautions that come with using a jack. Here are the most common and most important ones:
- Always begin by parking your car on a hard and even surface as you wouldn’t want it to roll or slip off the jack. This is not only dangerous to you but even others.
- To further be careful, you can use a block and chock the wheels. Set them in front of all the four wheels at the other end of the car from where you plan on lifting it.
- Next, ensure you have pulled up your hand-brake. If you own an automatic car, make sure that the transmission is in “P”. For those with a manual car, put it in the lowest forward gear.
How to Jack Up a Car
Below, we will give you a step-by-step guide to jacking up your car. Simply follow these steps, and we can guarantee that you will have no problems.
Step 1: Start by finding the jack point. All cars come with numerous points under them where you can place the jack. These are typically in front of the back wheels and behind the front wheels. Alternatively, there will be some located near the rocker panels.
Step 2: You can always refer to the owner’s manual to know exactly where the jack points are. Do note, however, that fitting the jack where you’re not supposed to can result in damage to the car. It might also slip from the jack, making it dangerous.
Step 3: Slide the jack at the point where you will be lifting it and begin to raise it. If you are using a scissor jack, slip in the rod tool, which comes with it through the hole. Then, turn so that you can pull the sides of the jack towards the inside and push the bottom and top of the jack apart.
If you are using a hydraulic jack, then know that it comes with a slot to slip in the rod. This rod comes included on one side. Crank this up and down continuously and steadily to pump the hydraulic fluid to raise it.
Step 4: You can now lift your car. When the jack makes contact with the car’s underside, it gets challenging to raise. You will need to keep working the jack upwards until you find that the car’s corner is beginning to leave the ground.
Step 5: Stop jacking up the car when you feel that it has enough clearance and that you can do your work. Ideally, a few inches from the ground is more than sufficient to do change your tire.
Step 6: Do pay close attention to the jack. If it makes the slightest movement or sound, that means it is shifting.
Step 7: If you are particularly working under the car, then we would recommend using jack stands. These stands will offer a much wider and secure base to hold the weight of a vehicle than a regular jack.
Furthermore, it is unsafe to rely entirely on jacks when you are working under the car. Stick two jacks under the car where the jack is supporting it.
Step 8: Once you are done with your repair work, it is time you start lowering the car back down. Make sure you do this gradually. If you are using jack stands, take them out first.
Step 9: For scissor jacks, all you need to do is simply reverse the process, and it will bring your car down. For hydraulic jacks, you will need to open the relief valve so that you can let the fluid drain from the hydraulic cylinder. Ensure that you do this very slowly to avoid the car from suddenly dropping down.
With all the tips and the step-by-step guide we have listed above, you now know how to jack up a car. As you have realized, this is a fairly simple process, but what you need to pay close attention to is your safety. For this, ensure that you are following all our safety tips to the T.