The most common scenario where you are most likely to be using jack stands is when you are going through a tire change. This is an assumption that I can make if your car is always up to date in in its service schedule. Once in a while, you may want to do other jobs such as inspecting the brakes or the underside of the vehicle. Observe all the safety rules and follow the steps I have outlined for you on how to jack up a car.
Going under the vehicle requires that you get under the car which may be dangerous if you do not take the following safety measures:
- Stop the engine and engage the parking brake or gear
- Avoid jacking up your car on a highway or a freeway
- Always park on level ground to avoid car rolling over
- Block the wheels using wheel blockers
- Jack should not be used to hold the vehicle but to raise it off the ground
- Make sure to have jack stands in place before you get underneath the vehicle
What You Will Need for This Procedure
- User’s manual for locating the jack points
- Wheel Chocks or locks ( two or more as needed)
- Jack stands ( at least two are required)
- Hydraulic Floor Jack or a scissor jack
- The Step By Step Procedure
What to do
Step #1: Find an Even Place to Park
Park your vehicle on a flat and even ground. Avoid any uneven ground that may force your car to turn on one side or overbear the jack stands and break them. The choice of ground should be firm and be able to hold the weight of the car without sinking. Therefore. avoid surfaces such as grass, sand, gravel, dirt and soft surfaces.
Step #2: Secure the Car
Put the vehicle in park or engage the parking brake. If you intend to raise the front part of the car, place the wheel chocks on the rear wheels. The chocks should be put on the front wheels if you are raising the car from the rear end.
Step #3: Find the Jack Points
If unsure of where to place the jack stands, use the owner’s manual to get the exact points. They are usually located along the rail frame on either side of the vehicle. You will have additional jack points on the front and rear axles.
Step #4: Jack up The Car
Make sure with the jack stands in position, the pressure release valve of the hydraulic floor jack is closed. (You can confirm close by turning the jack lever in a clockwise manner). Pump the floor jack downwards to create a lifting pressure. Keep pumping up to the point you get the desired clearance height.
Step #5: Place the Jack stands in Position
- Place your jack stands in corresponding jack points. If you are using two jack stands, make sure you repeat the whole process for each stand that you use.
- Remember the silent rule: jack stands are always used in pairs.
- Try to wiggle or shake the car and confirm that it is firmly placed. This will give you the assurance that the vehicle will not tip over.
Step #6: Lower the Vehicle to Rest on the Jack Stands
Slowly lower the vehicle onto the jack stands. You can easily do this by turning the lever counter-clockwise to release pressure. Raise the saddle to make sure there is contact with the car.
Step #7: Time to get Dirty
Get beneath the vehicle and start your inspection. If you intended to have a tire change, this is the best time to do so. Do all the necessary service that you had in mind. Remember to have appropriate clothing and tools to enhance your safety.
Step #8: Remove the Jack Stands
When you are done, use that jack to raise the car to a height higher than the jack stands. This move is supposed to give you space to remove the jack stands one at a time. Use the same precaution you observed when installing the jack stands to remove them.
Step #9: Drive Safely
Pack your tools back to their respective boxes and drive safely, if you had a tire change you can test the vehicle and observe if any adjustments may be needed before continuing with your journey.
A word of Caution
You will realize that in the article I have deliberately ignored the scissor jack, I will tell you why: many mechanics have the opinion that scissor jacks should only be used when you are in an emergency situation. They are considered to be weak and unreliable especially when used over time.
Another problem that you may encounter when using scissor jacks is the height limit. Some jack stands may be tall to fit in the maximum height of a scissor jack. Using jack stands needs more clearance for an exact fit.
One notable thing about scissor jack is that the same procedure I have described above is applicable when using it to lift your car. The only step you need to be wary of is using the jack points because of the glaring differences.
Other Notable Jack Point
The rarely used jack point by a DIY enthusiast is the one located in the rear differential of the car. This jack point is meant to carry the weight of the entire vehicle. Using the best hydraulic jack with the rating of the weight slightly higher than the weight of the vehicle.
Jacking up a car safely is not a trial and error thing. You need to get it right on the first attempt to avoid any casualties when working on your car. The article explains clearly on what needs to be done and in what manner in the simplest and clear step by step process which highlights the importance of safety.
The importance of such an article cannot be ignored bearing in mind that some repairs can be done at the home garage. Sometimes working at home will save you a lot of money or you may end up getting a bad service experience on something that you could have done at home safely.
If you consider the amount of money you will spend on buying a hydraulic and compare it with the frequent visits you will be making to the garage for tasks as simple as an oil change, the investment is worth it. Think of how much time you will save if you take time and learn how to jack up your car safely, now that you have an article to take you through.