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  • Writer's pictureRussell Westbrook

How to Properly Jack and Lift a Car: Safety Tips for Lifting Your Vehicle for Repairs

Updated: Feb 26



When it comes to car maintenance and repairs, ensuring safety during the lifting process is paramount. Properly jacking and lifting your car is a fundamental skill for any vehicle owner or DIY enthusiast. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into essential safety tips to elevate your confidence and competence in performing car lifts.

Understanding Your Vehicle

Know Your Car's Weight Distribution

Before lifting your car, it's crucial to understand its weight distribution. Different vehicles have varying weight distributions, and knowing this information is key to selecting the right lifting equipment. Refer to your car's manual or consult with a professional if needed.

Identifying Jack Points

Locating the correct jack points on your vehicle is vital for a safe lift. These points are specifically designed to withstand the load of the car without causing damage. Common jack points include designated areas along the frame or the manufacturer-recommended points.

Selecting the Right Equipment

Types of Jacks

Hydraulic Floor Jacks

Hydraulic floor jacks are popular for their ease of use and efficiency. They provide a stable lift, making them ideal for various car models. Ensure you choose one with the appropriate weight capacity for your vehicle.

Scissor Jacks

Scissor jacks are compact and often come with the car's toolkit. While they're suitable for emergency situations, they may not provide the stability needed for extensive repairs. Reserve them for light maintenance tasks.

Bottle Jacks

Bottle jacks are compact and powerful, making them suitable for lifting heavier vehicles. Like hydraulic floor jacks, they require a level surface for optimal stability.

Jack Stands

Using jack stands is non-negotiable for safety. Once the car is lifted, place the jack stands under the designated support points. This adds an extra layer of security, preventing accidents in case the jack fails.

Executing the Lift

Pre-Lift Checklist

  1. Secure Workspace: Ensure you are in a well-lit, flat, and stable workspace.

  2. Emergency Tools: Have emergency tools on hand, including a lug wrench and a first aid kit.

  3. Loosen Lug Nuts: Loosen the lug nuts before lifting the car off the ground to ease tire removal later.

Lifting Process

  1. Position the Jack: Place the jack at the designated jack point.

  2. Pump or Crank: If using a hydraulic jack, pump it until there is enough clearance. For scissor or bottle jacks, use the crank to lift the car.

  3. Insert Jack Stands: Once the car is lifted to the desired height, carefully insert the jack stands under the support points.

  4. Lower the Car onto Stands: Gently lower the car onto the jack stands, ensuring they are securely in place.

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Safety Measures During Repairs

Stabilizing the Vehicle

Before beginning any repairs, shake the car slightly to ensure it's stable on the jack stands. If there's any wobbling, readjust the stands and the jack for stability.

Working Under the Car

When working beneath the car, always use a quality creeper for easy mobility and ensure there's enough lighting to see clearly. Keep the necessary tools within reach to avoid unnecessary movements.

Conclusion

Mastering the art of properly jacking and lifting your car is not only about repairs but also about ensuring your safety and the longevity of your vehicle. By following the outlined safety tips and procedures, you'll be well-equipped to tackle car maintenance with confidence.

FAQs

Can I use the jack that came with my car for extensive repairs?

It's advisable to invest in a hydraulic floor jack or a bottle jack for more stability and lifting capacity during extensive repairs. The jack that comes with your car is typically designed for emergency situations.

How often should I inspect my jack and jack stands?

Regularly inspect your jack and jack stands for any signs of wear, rust, or damage. It's recommended to do a thorough check before each use to ensure they are in optimal condition.

Are there specific safety measures for lifting SUVs or trucks?

Yes, for larger vehicles like SUVs or trucks, it's crucial to use a jack and jack stands with a higher weight capacity. Refer to your vehicle's manual for the recommended lifting points and weight capacities. Always prioritize safety when working with heavier vehicles.


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