You never know when you’ll have to jack up a car. Whether it’s to change a tire or to do routine inspections on your vehicle, it is important that you know how to properly jack up a car. Using a jack is easy to do when done safely and correctly.
Never drive anywhere without a car jack, as you never know when you might need one. The jack for your car should always be stored in the trunk of your car. It should be easy to get to in case of a roadside emergency. A good driver will always know where their car jack is located.
The first step in learning how to use a car jack is to know how to take it out of the car trunk and put it back in.
After finding the jack, determine how the jack mechanism works. Different jacks work in different manners, so spend a few moments understanding the way that your jack works. Read the instructions that came with your car jack. You should be able to find the part of the jack that takes on the car’s weight. It is known as the base plate.
Place the jack on flooring that is as even as you can find. The base of the jack should be on firm ground.
A jack with a crank-based mechanism requires that you raise the lever by turning it clockwise. You turn it counter-clockwise when lowering the car jack. If you have a newer hydraulic jack, then you will use a lever to raise the jack and then loosen a valve screw for lowering it.
Make sure that the vehicle is secured before performing any type of work on it. If possible, park it on firm and level ground away from the flow of traffic.
Ensure that the car is in the park (for automatic transmission) and in reverse or neutral (for manual transmission). Always put on the safety brake when working on your car.
Next, you should immobilize the vehicle by using a wedge, wooden triangle, or brick.
The wedge should be placed on the tire diagonal or opposite from the one you are lifting. Depending on the slant of the ground, if any, you may place the wedge in front or behind the tire. If unsure, then place a wedge on both sides of the tire.
You need to place the jack near the area to be lifted and under the car’s frame at a right angle.
A jacking support point needs to be located, and this is done by placing the jack under the reinforced lip that is found on the underside of the car. If you have a car without a lip in the underside, then place the jack in the sturdiest section you can find.
Lift the car after the jack is firmly locked into the lip of the frame of the car.
Follow the instructions of your jack to determine how to best lift up the car. Be careful to observe any tilt motion by the car.
For safety reasons, you should never go underneath a car with just the support of a jack. The use of a jack stand is highly recommended. When finished, place all the car jack parts in their proper place so you know where to find them next time you need to use them.