How to Safely Jack Up a Car

Lifting your car can be necessary for a broad array of functions, from repairing brake discs to fixing a flat tire. Even if you have connections to a full-size hydraulic lift, such as one seen at an automobile repair shop, this would include the use of a jack.

Jacks are usually simple to use, but caution must be exercised to guarantee your protection, particularly if you’re planning to work beneath the vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Administration states that over 4,800 people 100% of them being male are always sent to the hospitals on yearly basis due to jack failures serious injuries. Furthermore, 82 percent of individuals injured in jack collapses were between the ages of 15 and 45. Only 2% of the participants were under the age of 15. By the age of 54, the proportion of injured victims over 45 years old had significantly decreased.

Injuries suffered from unsafely jack up a car

There are many reasons why car jacks fail and this can be found on the chart below.

Reasons for jack failures graph

Therefore, knowing the safety measures to take while jacking up a car is very crucial.

Fortunately, all you have to do is follow a few simple tips, I have compiled here for you.

To Safely Jack up a car, it is imperative to locate a safe space to stop, get the vehicle into position and gather the right equipment. After finding the jack point and placing it in the designated spot, the required maneuver can be performed before slowly lower the vehicle afterwards.

Continue reading for a more in-depth tutorial on how to use a car jack safely.

Locate a Suitable Stopping Point

Move off the path as fast as possible and as far away from cars as possible. Take the nearest exit if you’re on a roadway. The target is to get completely off the path and into stable, flat land, such as a car park, where you can easily use a car jack.

If that fails, you’ll want to locate a lane or street with little to no cars so you have some space to pull over away from the rush of drivers, and be on a stable enough place to accommodate a jack. If you’re stranded on a roadway and can’t take an exit, you’ll have to make do with whichever spot you can find.

You cannot travel for long distances on a flat tire without ruining it and potentially endangering the car. If you suspect a flat tire, do whatever you can to pull over as soon as possible.

Check if you’re on a high, flat surface so the jack doesn’t collapse into the pavement instead of raising the vehicle. Soft or uneven ground can often lead the jack to fall to one side when raising the car, causing the vehicle to slip.

Get Your Car into Position

Check that the ignition is turned off, the transmission is in P, and the parking brake is applied. Place the car in the lowest forward gear if it has a manual transmission.

Whether you have a rock, a chunk of wood, or a pile of bricks that can be used to blockade a tire, position it under the tire on the other side of the vehicle from the one you’re about to jack up.

For example, if you have a flat tire on the right side of the vehicle, you need to place something for the wheels on the left side. This provides further assurance that the vehicle would not roll off the jack. It’s a smart idea to make everyone leave the car before using a jack, but it’s not completely required.

Determine the Location of the Jack and Jack Points

In most cars, the jack is kept in the cabin or, in the way-back of an SUV, under the cargo-floor sheet. Once you’ve found everything, you’ll need to identify the jack points on the vehicle’s chassis, which are where the jack interacts.

Many automobiles’ jack points are hardened metal ribs that are specially built to securely raise the car. Many cars have several jacking locations.

They are mounted under the rocker panels of the vehicle, immediately behind the front wheels and ahead of the rear wheels. Review the instruction booklet for the precise position of your car’s jack points.

Set up the Jack

Many car jacks have a space at the top of their engagement flange that slides into the hardened rib of the jack point, but your car might have a different configuration, so review the owner’s manual to ensure you understand how your jack functions with the jacking point.

Jack Up the Vehicle

Slowly switch the jack handle clockwise before the flat tire is raised off the surface. Don’t rush yourself, and ensure the jack is perfectly straight while it raises the vehicle.

The jack won’t safely lock the car in place if it is not in a proper and straight position. You could put a jack stand under the rocker panel by the jack and squeeze it up to the car’s body while you’re lifting the car. This ensures that the vehicle would not crash on you if the jack slips or fails completely.

If you’re jacking up the car at home to operate on it, use a sturdier floor jack, the sort with the long handle that you push. Since it is both heavier and more robust than a jack that typically comes with a car, this is the sort of jack found in body shops and pits at racing events.

Lower the Vehicle

When you’re about to lower the vehicle, gently wind down the jack handle in the reverse direction until the tire is securely in line with the pavement and the jack can be withdrawn.

When you’re done, make sure to put all your tools in the correct place as well as the flat tire. Also, before you start the car, make sure you detach anything you used to block a tire.

What It You Have to Jack Up a Car in an Emergency?

If you are unable to follow the above requirements but must jack up the engine, you must take extra care. If you have to jack the car on a soft or fractured floor, create a sturdy base for the jack with a thick, smooth block of plywood.

If you have to jack the car up on a gradual incline, you can prevent your vehicle from going out of control by positioning the wheels next to a curb.  It would protect an out-of-control vehicle from hitting anyone if it slips off the jack.

Never jack up a vehicle on a highway shoulder. Put on the warning lights if you have to jack the car anywhere close traffic.

Can the Jack Point be in Multiple Spots?

There is usually a jack point on either side, just behind the wheels and in front of the rear wheels. This is often located near the rocker plates, which are the metal or plastic stripes under the gate.

There could be two additional central jack points situated right below the front and rear bumpers. If you can’t find the jack points, aim for a smooth metal region around the pinch weld that runs down the side of the car under the doors.

A notch that fits the form of the jack’s top, a cutout in the plastic skirt that reveals metal, or a solid plastic block fixed to the frame can also be present. There might also be a “jack” mark on the undercarriage.

What Kinds of Car Jacks Are Available?

There are two kinds of jacks you can have. The scissor jack is the first and most widely used and hydraulic jack is the second type of car jack.  

The scissor jack is so commonly used that you might even have this in your vehicle. These jacks resemble two horizontal metal plates joined by a diamond-shaped framework. A metal opening on one side of the jack connects to the primary screw drive.

Insert the optional rod tool into the hole and switch to draw the jack’s sides inward and the top and bottom apart. The chassis is lifted as a result of this.

A hydraulic jack is the second type of car jack. These can be described as metal base pieces with a lever-like base that stretches to one foot. On one hand, there is a slot for inserting the included rod tool. Pump hydraulic fluid into the cylinder and lift the jack by cranking the rod up and down in slow, continuous strokes.

Final Thoughts

If your car breaks down or you have a flat tire, make sure you follow all the tips in this post. With these safety tips, you can change tires like you’re in a pit stop in a Formula One race! Good luck on your travels!

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