Auto PartsTech Tips

Lifting a car

Although you drive with all four wheels on the ground, there are times those wheels will have to be off the ground. Whether you’re doing repairs in the driveway, changing a tire on the side of the road, or putting the car on a four-post lift for heavy underside repairs, there’s a bit you need to know about lifting your car safely and properly.

If you have a flat on the side of the road, you’re most likely going to want to put on the spare tire. I order to do that, the appropriate corner of the car will need to be lifted. For that, you’ll want the factory-equipped jack. But, before you use it, make sure you check your owner’s manual. Chances are, there are factory-approved and intended jack points for the jack. Once you’ve determined that, you use the jack to raise the car and change the wheel. However, be careful. Never, EVER get underneath a car supported only by a jack.

Let’s suppose you’re at home, and need to do some work on your car – let’s say something underneath the car, such as the shift linkage. You’re going to want enough clearance to get under the car. A good option, in this case, is a set of ramps. If you’re using ramps, make sure they’re placed square in front of the wheels, and that once you’re on the ramps, set your parking brake immediately and chock the wheels that are still on the ground.

What if you’re in a similar situation, but you need to do some work on the front end of the car. Perhaps you need to do some suspension or brake work. The wheels will have to come off, so ramps won’t do you much good. In this case, you’re going to want to put the car up on jack stands. You start by jacking the car up, either with a floor jack or with the factory jack, and then place the jack stands under a strong, structural part of the car. Jack stands are also a good choice when you need to do work under the car, but as with ramps, you’re going to want to chock the wheels on the ground for added safety and be sure the parking brake is on.

One aforementioned pitfall to watch out fo

r is proper lifting points. When using jack stands, it’s easy to be careless when using a floor jack, and to dent the car’s rocker panel. Or course, if you think ahead and pick a strong lifting point, you can avoid that.

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