How to Jack Up Your Car Safely

Whether you are performing regular maintenance on your car or you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, it’s important to know how to lift your car up safely using a car jack.

How to Jack Up Your Car Safely

In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of car jacks and how you can use them to lift up your car quickly and safely.

What is a car jack?

A jack is a mobile tool that enables you to lift your vehicle in a safe way to carry out work underneath. That could be to change the tyres, work on brake assemblies or carry out just about any other repair on the underside of your car.

What are the different types of car jacks?

Hydraulic jacks

These are the safest type of jack available and are mainly used for planned maintenance rather than during an unexpected breakdown. They work by using a hydraulic cylinder to lift a plate that is placed at various points underneath the vehicle. Plus, most hydraulic car jack models include safety features such as overload valves to ensure safety is maintained within the workplace.

Bottle jacks

Bottle jacks have the power to lift vehicles of all weights, in comparison to other types of jacks. They are very heavy-duty and can usually be found as a standard piece of equipment in heavier vehicles, such as commercial trucks. Also, their strong construction and overload safety valves ensure safe operation in the workplace.

Scissor jacks

This type is made of diagonal pieces of metal that contract and expand in a way similar to a pair of scissors. They are the go-to choice for more professional car inspections and repairs and are very easy to carry around as they are compact when in the contracted position.

How do I use a car jack to lift my vehicle?

Follow the steps below for everything you need to know.

1. Place the jack under the part of the vehicle that it should contact when raised. Please note that placing the jack incorrectly can damage your car. To find the proper place to position the jack for your particular vehicle, check your owner’s manual.

2. Lift the vehicle using the jack by using nice, even strokes to pump the jack handle up and down.

3. Now it’s time to place the jack stands. Place the jack stands under the vehicle, near to where the jack is touching it. Raise the stands until they’re high enough to just fit under, then lock them in place.

4. Lower the jack until the vehicle is resting on the jack stands and begin the work you need to complete on the vehicle.

5. Once you have finished, replace the jack, remove the stands and slowly lower the vehicle to the ground using long, gentle strokes. If you’re using a scissor jack, you can simply turn the crank in the opposite direction. If you’re using a hydraulic jack, use the rod to turn the pressure release valve and bring the vehicle down.

Safety tips to keep in mind when jacking up a car

Always park a vehicle on level ground before you jack it up.

Put the car in ‘park’ mode if you drive an automatic; if it is a manual, do not forget to apply the handbrake.

Never work on your car, either under the bonnet or underneath the body, while it’s still hot. You could severely burn yourself if you attempt to do so.

Never change a tyre on the motorway or a busy road, always call your breakdown service or the highway patrol and follow their instructions.

Use the jack only to get a vehicle off the ground, never to hold a vehicle in place.

Never jack up a vehicle without blocking the wheels to keep it from rolling. You can use bricks, wooden wedges or metal wheel chocks to block the wheels while you work.

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