This article will tell you how to jack up your car safely. But first take other factors into consideration before going into the action of jacking up your car. What type of car do you have? Is it a big and heavy car? Or is it a small car and low to the road? What is the specific weight of the car?
The weight of the car will be given in the car’s manual. The type of jack for your specific car will also be mentioned in your manual. You might already have the right car jack for the job since usually a new car comes with a car jack and a spare wheel.
But in case you don’t have a car jack, then you must also know some details about car jacks, before you learn how to use a car jack safely.
Types of Car Jacks
Following are the common car jacks that are used frequently around the world. Their basic features and how they are used are mentioned below:
The Hydraulic Car Jacks
These car jacks are very common. They can be used in a variety of situations. They are very easy to use, a person just has to put the bottle shaped jack under the car and start pumping a handle up and down to lift a car. They are good for cars that have bellies high from the ground. They are also called hydraulic bottle jacks. They are tall standing tools and can easily fit under vehicles like jeeps. Bottle jacks come in different sizes to deal with different lifting capacities. They can lift anywhere from a 2-ton vehicle to a 20-ton vehicle. They are not good for small cars that are low to the ground.
The Scissor Jacks
The scissor jack is a very simple working device. It is an old design that is still used everywhere. This jack is just as effective as ever. Many new cars come with this type of car jack. It is comprised of four interlocked prongs with two hinges at each end. It has a base on one interlocked part, that’s facing out. And a saddle on the top of the other interlocked part that’s facing out. Through the middle of the jack runs a rod connecting the hinges of the scissor. One end of the rod is further extended through a hinge. This part of the rod ends as a threaded screw part of the rod. The base is of course set on the floor/ground. When you turn the screw, the two scissors open up and start raising the saddle that has to be place under the jack point of the car. In this way the car is lifted. Scissor jacks come in different sizes. Usually, how much a scissor jack can lift will be mentioned on the tool. They can handle from 1 to 2 tons, but it really depends on the size of the scissor jack. You have to be careful handling these types of car jacks because their bases are quite small and the car can suddenly get destabilized causing injuries and damages.
The Floor Jacks
This type of jack is good for low set vehicles. They can lift small and medium cars. This jack is used for sports cars, or any vehicle low to the ground. The jack is set on four wheels. You just slide it under the car and it has a long handle attached to it that you just have to pump around 8 to 10 times to raise or lower your car. It’s very easy to use. You do not have to bend down to get it under the car. Nor do you have to be down to work the machinery to raise or lower the vehicle. These floor jacks can lift from 1 to 4 tons depending on the capacity of the floor jack.
The High-Lift Jacks
This jack is different. It’s for those people that intend to drive off road a lot like the country sides, forest areas or marsh places. This jack will provide a maximum lift of any one side of the car. It could be used to lift the front two wheels or the back two wheels of a car high up. That is, it will lift the car very high, making it easy to get to the underneath of the vehicle. It’s ideal for emergency and recovery situations, like if some animal is under the car and has to be removed or helped. Moreover, if mechanics have to work under the car on the road to get it running again, then high-lift jacks are ideal. These jacks are long, slender tools. Some can be folded and put into the trunk. Other models have to be strapped onto the outside of the car.
Because they have a very small footplate, they are not so stable on paved roads. They are great on muddy grounds where they can easily sink into the soil and become more stable. Handling the ratcheting operation is simple and strong, but it can also disable the balance too. You have to make sure the jack is well set up to take the weight. This kind of car jack can handle up to 3 tons and a little more.
Now you basically know the different types of car jacks out there, let’s learn how to safely use a car jack.
Follow These Steps To Jack Up Your Car Safely
The first four steps deal with where to jack up a car.
If it is possible, make sure you park or get your car onto solid, study ground. A paved road would be ideal. Get to one side of the road so that other vehicles don’t cause any trouble. Avoid any type of distractions, disturbances, or interferences, like loud music or children playing. Make sure nothing will disturb you or be ready for interference, do not be taken by surprise. Make sure you have enough lighting. Do not park the car where it might cause other people inconvenience.
Do make sure you have put your car in neutral and have locked the car with the hand brakes pulled up. Set chokes, bricks or stones in front of the front wheels and behind the rear wheels. This will now not let the car move suddenly.
Make sure that the transmission is in “P”. With a car that has a transmission that is controlled manually, put it in the lowest setting forward.
If you are stuck in a bad setting, then follow these steps:
If you have to jack up your car on soft soil, then get some flat wood or flat but strong piece of stone to put under the footplate/ resting base of the car jack. This should give some stability to the car jack.
If you are stuck on some slope, then make sure you get your car to the curb of the road. Turn the wheels into the curb. If anything goes wrong, the car will not go straight down or roll backwards out of control. It will go off the road. Definitely try using something to choke. If you have no chokes or anything to act as such, turn the wheels into the curb or just turn the wheels and pull the hand brakes.
Avoid jacking the car on the shoulders of a road. If there are other vehicles passing around you, try to put up signs to alert them of your car problem. This way they will steer clear of you.
How To Now Jack Up The Car Safely?
Get out your jack. It should be the right model to deal with the weight of the car. According to the car’s manual, you will know where to place the jack. Usually, the points where the jack will push up will be behind the front wheel or in front of the back wheel. There will be more than one jack point behind each front wheel and more than one jack point in front of each back wheel.
Place the jack underneath the jack point under the car. The large base of the jack rests on the floor. The small base is usually for pushing up on the car.
You should know how to operate the car jack. It depends on what type of car jack you own. So it was imperative that you should have learnt how to do it. Nevertheless, you might still have the manual to the car jack. Read it and follow the instructions. Raise the car slowly.
You might hear metallic sounds as you raise the car. Pop sounds and thud sounds come from the jack and other sounds come from the car. It is completely natural. But do pay attention to the sounds. Make sure you are not too close to the car. Make sure no children or animals are near the car. No one should be in the car.
You need the car to be lifted a little bit for a tire change. But if you are going to work under the car, make sure you have jack stands. Place them underneath the car close to the jack points. Lower the car jack till the jack stands are holding up the car.
If you have jack stands under the car, again use the car jack till it’s holding up the car. Remove the jack stands. Lower the car down slowly. Remove the car jack.
It is important to thoroughly know what kind of car jack is needed for the job and how to jack up a car. You should have some practice first. If you are stuck in such a situation, don’t try it for the first time on the road without some assistance.
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