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How To Use A Car Jack: Step By Step Guide

Taking your car to the mechanic every time a complication occurs is not practical. Especially when it comes to changing a tire or brake pads, you will need a jack to lift the car up.

Knowing how to use a car jack properly and safely is important for everyone who owns and drives a car because this tool will be a hero to most of your vehicle issues.

By following simple steps and keeping some rules in mind, you will learn to jack up a car all by yourself. But before getting into the steps, there are a few things you should take into consideration first.

To go on ahead with a task, there are always some tools and equipment needed to execute it. For you to understand how to jack up your car the right way, you will first need a couple of items.

1. Jack

Obviously, you will need a jack. Jack that comes with car and other similar vehicles are good for changing tires, but not when you need to go under your car.

Working beneath the car would mean the jack has to be able to hold onto that load of weight. So, it’s best that you own a good quality car jack that acts as reliable support for such tasks.

Carrying a relatively small but sturdy enough jack in your garage or car trunk is always a good practice.

2. Handbook

You’ll be in trouble if you don’t have the owner’s manual for the car jack. As it is written specifically for the model of your car, the handbook will guide you through the notches under your car and thus explain how to lift a car with a jack.

If the placement of the jack is wrong, the car can drop at any moment and cause serious injuries. Also, if you don’t follow the instructions correctly, the jack won’t be fitting correctly, and you won’t be able to complete the task.

Handbooks usually depict how to jack up front of car, so once you know how to do that; you’ll know how to jack up the other sides too.

3. Wheel Chocks

Although you should always jack up a car while it is on a level surface, it doesn’t hurt to stay extra cautious.

Placing rubber or wooden wheel chocks along your car’s wheels will ensure that the vehicle won’t slide down or cause any sort of movement while you are working.

If you already know how to jack up a car on an incline, you know why chocks are of critical importance to prevent the car from sliding downwards.

How To Use A Jack On A Car?

Now that we’re through with the preliminary parts, you’re still wondering, how do you jack up a car?

Let’s now go right ahead with step-by-step instructions.

How To Use A Jack On A Car?

Step 1: Park On A Flat Surface

It is essential to park your car on a smooth, flat surface away from traffic. The ground needs to be steady and sturdy and provide enough stability for the car to stay still and level.

Never try to use a car jack while on dirt or gravel as these will cause the car to move around, and it is very dangerous.

For automatic transmission cars, make sure it is set to parking and put on the parking brake. If your car has a manual transmission, shift it to first gear. There should not be anyone inside the car while using a jack.

Step 2: Place The Wheel Chocks

Set those wedges in contact with the front and behind the wheel which is diagonally across from the wheel you want to lift. This will ensure that the car has no room for movement.

A good alternative is bricks if you don’t have proper chocks. Just make sure that they are sturdy enough to hold the weight of the car from the wheel.

Place The Wheel Chocks

Step 3: Take Out The Jack

For the jack that comes with your car, you will most likely find it in the trunk along with the handle used to raise it. Sometimes the jack is screwed inside the truck, so you need a screwdriver to take it out.

But if you have a separate jack in your garage, just go and bring that out, and you can skip this step.

Step 4: Locate the Jack Point

Older cars used to have solid frames where you could just place the jack on. But modern cars have thinner metal welding inside. So if you just randomly place the jack on the frame, it will bend.

Check the owner’s handbook to find where the jack point is. If you feel around under the frame, you will find a notch, which is the jack point.

Commonly, the jack point is located on the frame behind the front wheels and the front of the back wheels.

locate the jack points before place the jack

Step 5: Place the Jack Under the Point

Once again, look at the user manual for instructions on how to properly slide and place the jack right under the jack point. The handbook will have pictures to guide you better.

Step 6: Raise the Jack

How you will do this will actually depend on the type of car jack you have. The steps are a bit different for both hydraulic jacks and scissor jacks, so keep reading to find out.

Step 7: Lift The Car

As you keep cranking the rod or hook steadily, you will see that the wheel is not touching the ground.

If you are changing a tire, keep cranking till the car body lifts about 6 inches from the ground. Now you longer have to worry about how to lift car with jack.

Because once it’s lifted, you can use jack stands under the car, so it stays raised while you work under the car.

How To Use A Hydraulic Car Jack?

A hydraulic jack uses a piston and a rod for which you need to push up and down to raise the jack. This type of jack is also called a floor jack.

All you need to do is insert the rod into the slot on the side of the piston, and move the rod up and down steadily.

This will get the hydraulic fluid running inside the piston cylinder and slowly raise the car jack accordingly.

Using A Hydraulic Car Jack

How To Use Car Jack With Hook?

Typically, car scissor jacks are used in emergencies and not for long projects and fixtures. Four pieces of metal are placed in a diamond shape with a threaded rod in the middle, which is used to tighten and loosen the structure like scissors.

At the end of the threaded rod is a hole through which you need to insert the hook and rotate it accordingly using one arm. Turning the hook to one side will tighten the rod and raise the jack.

And you will obviously know how to make a car jack go down, because you just need to turn the hook to the other side.

Final Verdict

Most car enthusiasts like to take matters into their own hands when it comes to fixing things, and jacks are a major tool in this case. But whether or not you are into cars, being able to change a tire is a task everyone should know, and knowing how to use a car jack is one of the basic steps to achieve this.

The process may feel intimidating at first, but once you know how to jack up one side of a car, you will know how to do all the sides and carry on with your work.

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