It’s every driver’s nightmare: you’re driving down the road and suddenly your tire goes flat. You pull off to the shoulder, but then what?
Hopefully, you’ll have a spare tire (or at least a donut). The problem: getting a tire on requires jacking up a car. If you’ve never dealt with this situation before, you might not know how to jack up a car.
Lifting up a car with a car jack isn’t as tricky as it might seem, but there are a few safety tips you need to know before you try it. Read on to find out the safest, best way to jack up a car.
What You Need
The most important tool you need to jack up a car is a car jack. That sounds pretty obvious, but it’s a little more complex than it first appears; there are many different kinds of car jack, each with unique pros and cons.
There are two main kinds of jack: the mechanical car jack and the hydraulic car jack. There are several types of each, such as mechanical scissor jacks or hydraulic bottle jacks.
Most cars come with a simple mechanical scissor jack. All you really need to use it is the jack itself and a handle, which should be stored with the jack.
Aside from the jack, you might also need car jack stands. These are important if you’re doing work under the car. They support your car after it’s been jacked up.
Finally, you need a flat, solid surface to work on. This is extremely important; a jack or jack stand slipping on an uneven surface could be catastrophic!
How to Jack up a Car Safely
To start the jacking process, park on a solid, even surface, as we just covered. Then, check your car’s manual to see where your vehicle’s lift points are.
These might differ depending on what exactly you need to do. For instance, if you’re changing a tire, you’ll want to find the point closest to the tire in question.
If you’re jacking up one end of the car, make sure to block off the wheels at the other end so the vehicle doesn’t start to roll away!
Once you’ve located the right point, you can start jacking up the car. If you’re using a scissor jack, this is as simple as turning the handle. Make sure that the jack is secure and stable before moving on.
It can also help to give your car a little shake at this point. If it feels secure, you’re good to go!
If you’re doing maintenance work beneath the car, now is a good time to secure the car with car jack stands. This adds another layer of protection in case the jack slides or malfunctions.
Once you have a stable jack, jack stands, and blocked tires, you’ve optimized your car jack safety!
Keep Your Car Running Smoothly
Whether you’re changing a tire or doing other maintenance, you need to know how to jack up a car. Safety is always important when working with something as big and heavy as a car, and now you know how to jack up a car safely!
If you’re looking for more great automotive tips, check out our blog, where you’ll find more information about maintenance, safety, and more!