How To Jack Up Your Car Safely

If you jack up your car incorrectly this can lead to your vehicle falling, damaging the car or even worse injuring the person working on the car so it is important to know how to do this correctly and safely.

You will need to jack up your car if you have a a flat tyre and need to change the wheel, if you plan to change your brake pads, check your exhaust yourself or any other jobs where access to the underside of the car.

Most cars come equipped with a car jack and a wheel brace but these are mainly for just changing a wheel and not recommended for work under the car.

Types of Jack

There are many different types of jack available,

Trolley jack:- More suitable for working on cars, are hydraulic and raise the car quicker than scissor jacks
Bottle jack:- Similar to trolley jacks and are quite small so are easier to store in the boot of the car
Scissor jack:- What is usually supplied with the car, are quite slow and take a lot of effort in use.

Most jacks that come with the car are designed to fix securely into specific indentations behind the front wheel and in front of the back wheel. It is important that the head of the jack does not shift when the car is being raised and lowered.
The most important thing when jacking up your car is to find a flat, solid surface to jack up your car. Avoid any Sandy, grassy, sloped and uneven surfaces and could cause the jack to sink, slip or the car to topple over.


How to Jack

Make sure you put the car in gear and have the handbrake secure. Ensure a wheel is secured on the opposite corner to the side from which you wish you are jacking. This 'chocked' wheel will help to prevent the car from rolling when lifted on the jack.
Slide the jack into position, make sure it is located in any special locations and jack the car up slowly. If you are changing a tyre then take the weight if the car only slightly and loosen the wheel nuts a little before lifting the car totally off the ground.
If you are working on a classic make sure that the area you have chosen as your jacking point is solid and rust free otherwise you will put the jack straight through the car.
If you are working underneath the car make sure it is supported by inserting one or two axle stands to support the load, never relief on the jack alone but it is helpful to leave it in place as extra safety in case one of the axle stands fail.

Once you have finished the work you need to do on your car remove the axle stands and slowly lower the jack until the car is back on the ground.


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Copyright Classic-Car-Magazine 2013
| Updated 03-May-2008 |