How to Jack Up a Car In 5 Steps

Almost every driver runs the risk of getting a flat tire, and need to jack up their vehicle. It is, therefore, pertinent to know how to do it right. Jacks also come in handy beyond those wonderful and frustrating times when you’re forced to use them. They are useful for performing repairs and maintenance tasks like changing your oil. Ensure you understand how to jack up a car safely if you’re going to take on those less complicated repair and maintenance tasks yourself.

How to Jack Up a Car

It isn’t likely that you’ll need to get under your car very often since vehicles are far more reliable these days. You can often go 8,000 miles or more before needing an oil change. And you can go several miles or more before requiring a tune up.

Still, no matter how often you use a jack it’s essential that you know what you’re doing. Using the jack improperly when changing a flat and especially when getting under the vehicle to work is dangerous first of all, but you also risk damaging your car.

The following are the crucial steps on how to jack up a car properly and keep you and your vehicle safe.

⇒Step 1: Remove the hubcap and loosen the nuts.

If you need to remove a wheel or you have to change a tire, remove the hubcap if present and loosen the lug nuts or bolts before jacking up the vehicle. Once the car is in the air the wheel will turn freely which makes getting the hubcap off a much more difficult task. Trying to start taking the lug nuts or bolts off after the car is in the air can be nearly impossible.

Step 2: Put the jack at the right place under the car.

jack points on a car

jack points on a car

Putting the jack in the right place is the first thing you need to figure out how to do. There are a couple of places you can check for this information on the proper place to jack up your particular type of vehicle. The most key is consulting your owner’s manual. But it may also be on the jack or the back side of the spare tire cover. In case you don’t have one or lost it, just ask the service department of your local dealership.

It’s important to look this up for every vehicle because where and how you place the jack differs depending on the type of vehicle you have. With most vehicles, there’s a spot to position the jack located directly behind the front tires and also a little in front of the rear tires. You should be able to see a thicker portion of the weld in these areas.

Put the jack where it should touch and press on when raised. If you are using jack stands, which you should be, bring them near the jack. Where you place the jack depends on if you are anticipating on doing one wheel or two wheel job, if not an entire front end repair.

Step 3: Lift the car using the jack

The operation of the jack will vary depending on what kind of jack it is. For a tripod jack, just turn the crank. A scissor jack just inserts the rod or wrench and crank away. With a hydraulic jack, just pump up and down in nice even strokes.

How to Jack Up a Car

Step 4: Place jack stands under the vehicle.

If there are jack stands presently, which they should be, place them under the vehicle at this time. You need to put them near where the jack is touching the car. Extend the stands up until they are high enough just to lock them in place. Then lower the car until it is resting on the just on stands and nothing else. Do not substitute anything for a proper jack stand!

Step 5: Give the vehicle some wiggle before you start working.

You should do this to make sure that the vehicle is secure on the jack stands. By doing this you know whether your wheels are blocked properly. This will assure you proper safety while working under your car.

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And there you have it. Jacking up a car requires only the above five steps assuming that you will have to remove one of the wheels. The biggest thing to remember is safety.