How to Safely Lift Your Car for Maintenance

Summer is here, which means it’s the perfect time for road trips and car maintenance. Whether you’ve just returned from a cross-country journey or you need to change a flat tire, jacking up your car is a simple and safe process if you follow some basic precautions. Here’s all you need to know.

What You Will Need

The only tool you’ll need is a jack. Most cars come with a factory jack, usually stored in the trunk. However, aftermarket options are often sturdier and easier to use. If you frequently work under your car, we recommend investing in a hydraulic jack. Here are some common types of jacks:

  • Floor jacks
  • Ramps
  • Jack stands

You can find these tools at auto parts stores or online. It’s important to choose the right jack that matches the weight of your vehicle.

What to Understand Before Jacking Up Your Car

Before you begin, identify which part of your car needs to be lifted. If you’re changing the oil, raise the end of the car that houses the engine. For a flat tire, lift the corner that needs replacement.

Keep in mind that your car’s weight is distributed among the four wheels, so each wheel carries a portion of the weight. Floor jacks and stands have different weight capacities, so make sure to choose one that can handle your vehicle’s weight.

Step 1: Park Your Car on Level Ground

Always lift your car on level ground to prevent it from rolling or slipping off the jack. Ideally, park on a hard surface like tarmac.

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Step 2: Secure Your Car in Place

Straighten the steering wheel, put your car in park, and engage the parking brake to prevent any unexpected movement during the lifting process.

Step 3: Locate the Suitable Jack Points

Every car has specific jack points where the jack plate is welded to the body. These points are load-bearing and should be used for lifting. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or online.

Step 4: Position the Floor Jack

Place the floor jack under the appropriate jack point. To protect your vehicle, you can use optional pieces of wood between the jack plate and the jack.

Step 5: Slowly Raise the Jack

If you’re using a traditional floor jack, make sure the release valve is closed and start raising the jack until it makes contact with the part of the car that needs lifting. Check that everything is stable before proceeding.

Step 6: Raise the Car

Continue raising the jack until you have enough space to work comfortably. Avoid raising it too high or too low; find the right balance for your task.

Step 7: Test the Stability of the Raised Vehicle

Shove the car firmly atop the jack to ensure stability before working underneath.

Step 8: Use Extra Jack Stands

Unless you’re changing a wheel, it’s recommended to use jack stands to secure the car in position instead of relying solely on the jack. Place the jack stands correctly before taking the weight off the jack.

Step 9: Lower Your Car

Before lowering your car, remove the jack stands first. Then, carefully lower your car until the tires make contact with the ground. Once the car is in a comfortable position, tighten the lug nuts with a wrench and perform the previous steps in reverse order. Take your time throughout this process and ensure everything is secure before removing the floor jack.

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Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of safely lifting your car, you’ll be ready for any maintenance task that comes your way. For more information on car maintenance, visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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