Different Vehicle Jacks and How to Use Them Properly

Replacing a flat tire, changing your brakes or inspecting for leakages are some reasons why one must get under their vehicle. That’s why knowing which vehicle jack and how to use it properly is important. Drivers who are new to vehicle maintenance may not be informed of the complexities included when employing a vehicle jack. One definitely doesn’t want to compromise their safety. Here’s some basic information about the different types of vehicle jacks and how to use them to get you started.

Scissor Jack

A scissor jack is a standard style of vehicle jack. The process employed by a scissor jack is easy and simple to operate. That means it a dependable choice. However, a scissor jack is not meant for everyday maintenance and is more of an option in cases of emergency. They shouldn’t lift extremely heavy loads and are typically ranked at no more 3000 lbs.

Bottle Jacks

Bottle jacks look like, well, bottles. They are a form of hydraulic car jack. They also have a small-scale structure. This means they can be easily stored.  They also have a greater lifting capability than scissor jacks. Typically, a 2 ton rated bottle jack should work well for lifting most vehicles. Bottle jacks are fairly economical and can elevate most vehicles.

Floor jacks

Floor jacks are also a type of hydraulic car jack. A floor jack sit lower and is great for cars with a lower profile. Floor jacks have a broader build, typically with wheels attached. This permits improved placement of the jack when raising your vehicle. This broader base also offers more steadiness. However, floor jacks can be cumbersome and large. Storage might become an issue.

How to Use a Car Jack Properly

If used incorrectly, lifting your car can become a dangerous endeavor, leading to cuts, bruises, and, in some cases, even death. You might be hesitant at first but consulting your owner’s manual is a great place to start.

Safety Guidelines Before Lifting Your Vehicle

  • Confirm the vehicle is on a level base.
  • Parked on loose soil or mud? Put the car jack on a broader support, like a piece of wood, so that it’s steadier.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in PARK (P) with the emergency brake engaged.

Raising Your Vehicle

Step 1: Find the Lifting Points on Your Vehicle – Your vehicle’s manual will give you various spots close to the front and rear wheels where you can place the jack. If you place the jack in another spot, you run the risk of damaging your vehicle and hurting yourself.

Step 2: Placement of Jack – Put the car jack such that it sits under the jacking points.

Step 3: Raising the Vehicle – If you have a scissor jack, use its accompanying crank to turn the screw in a clockwise direction until your car lifts sufficiently from the ground. If you have a bottle or floor jack, make certain its screw is turned clockwise before you place the lever in its position. Jerk the lever in an up and down motion to lift up your car