Whilst using a car jack, safety should be your main concern because not only could you damage the car, you may also injure yourself. Therefore, it’s always worth double checking everything before lifting the car in the air. In order to use a car jack safely, we have created an easy to follow guide that includes pictures from jacking up my own car.
Type of Car Jack
In the UK, the two most common types of car jacks are the trolley (also known as floor) and scissor jack. Trolley jacks are the most widely used and provide the most stability as they come with four wheels and a long handle.
Scissor jacks are often found in your car’s boot/spare wheel compartment due to their compact size and they are ideal for roadside repairs. Unlike a trolley jack that uses a hydraulic pump, scissor jacks use a screw mechanism for lifting.
For this particular example of how to use a car jack, we are using one of the best rated trolley jacks, which is by the Draper brand. Due to the fact that I am jacking up a lowered car, this particular jack has a low profile entry design.
How To Use A Car Jack
1. Locate A Safe Lifting Point
In order to begin using a car jack, you will need to locate a safe lifting point underneath the car. As you can see in the below image, this can come in the form of a jacking point. Alternatively, you may wish to use the car’s chassis, which is the strongest part of your car. If you are unsure, the safe lifting point will be stated in your owner’s manual.
2. Place The Jack In Position
Once you have found where the safe lifting point is located, you can proceed to position the jack underneath. Whilst positioning the jack, you want to ensure that the base plate is located directly underneath the lifting point. You also want to ensure you have plenty of room behind the jack in order to pump it up using the height adjustment bar.
3. Pump Up The Jack & Align The Base Plate
Now that the jack is in position, you can begin to slowly pump up the base plate so that it’s in contact with the lifting point. Once it’s in contact, you want to get under the car and ensure it’s correctly aligned.
4. Continue To Until The Car Is Raised Off The Ground
You can then continue to pump up the car using the height adjustment bar to your desired height. Depending upon the jack that you are using, many have a locking mechanism that keeps the jack’s arm in place.
5. Lower The Car Once Complete
After you have done what you needed to do underneath the car, you’ll need to lower the car back onto the ground. In order to lower the car safely, twist the height adjustment bar to release the air in the pump. The car will then slowly move towards the ground and the base plate will lose contact with the lifting point.
Important Safety Tips
- Ensure the car’s handbrake is engaged and the car is locked in gear
- Only use a jack upon safe lifting points
- Only use the jack on flat and hard surface
- Use high quality jack stands if you are lifting the car for long periods
Lifting Lowered Cars
After owning a number of cars that have been lowered on either springs or coilovers, I have become a specialist when it comes to using a jack on lowered cars. Unless you are using a low profile jack with a low entry, it can be pretty much impossible to get the jack underneath the car without causing damage.
However, to get around this issue, you can purchase a set of car ramps and drive onto them before jacking up the car. This provides plenty of access under the car for the jack to reach any safe lifting points. Alternatively, you can drive onto a few sheets of plywood (or similar) to provide enough access room to use the jack.
Whether you need to change your car’s oil or replace a wheel, you may need to use a car jack to lift the car off the ground. As mentioned above, safety is paramount whilst lifting your car in the air but as long as you are using a quality jack and have located safe lifting points under the car, there is very little that can go wrong.