When saving money by working on your car yourself you will need to do it
safely by raising your vehicle off of the ground using a floor jack. Every person who has a vehicle
should know how to lift it for themselves and for his/her friends that are less
endued. Saving money is the name of the game, and getting the job done right
using quality parts and supplies you can purchase yourself from Amazon which
gives you wholesale prices many time even cheaper than the garages and
dealerships can by them for.
I don't have to tell you what can happen at unscrupulous repair shops, from not changing your oil and
just topping it off, to using cheap products and charging you for high end
products, to leaving bolts loose, the list goes on and on. This is not typical at all repair shops of course and honestly most repair shops are legit; it’s just the
few that can give the hard working honest mechanics a bad rap and you a bad
experience. But, if you are a DIY kind of person this is video and article is for you.
Self service car repair is the ONLY way to protect your investment, the beloved
car, that's what I do.
Your vehicle is responsible for getting you to where you want to go, and
safely and taking care of your vehicle with general maintenance and repairs can
save you thousands of dollars throughout the life of your vehicle and prolong
the dreaded trip to a dealership to purchase a new vehicle. Nobody ever says
Yippy! I now have a vehicle payment of $???, every month for the next 60 months.
The cost of a hydraulic floor jack and
jack stands doesn't seem so bad now does it? I purchased mine from
Amazon.com, they offer top quality parts at a great price with fast and
sometimes free delivery.
Think of all of the money you will save when doing your own repairs and services you can perform easily by following
these repair and service guides. Of course it’s going to be a bit of work, and
you might get your hands dirty if you don't wear gloves. These are things that
can be done by anyone, if you have the gumption and a mechanics
Now that you are ready to save some money and to make sure the job is done
right (no loose bolts etc.) with quality parts, let’s get started by jacking up
and lifting your car the proper way.
Make sure to have a high quality jack stands, never get the cheapest ones you
can find, after all it is holding up the car while you are underneath it.
The first step in this process is to lift the anvil of the jack stand while
working the adjustment lever this will show you how they work. Once the desired
height is achieved push the lever down to lock the top in place. To re-adjust
the top, lift the lever to free up the top and then once again lock it back
down. To prevent failure never use old rusted or cracked stands.
Next, inspect the lifting plate, this is what will be contacting the vehicle
to raise it off of the ground so make sure it is free from grease oil and dirt.
One important note here is never use a block of wood or any other material
between the lifting plate and the vehicle frame, as this object will have a
tendency to slip out and could cause problems, metal on metal is the preferred method.
The metal wheels are important and you should make sure they are in good
condition because once the vehicle’s weight is on the jack it will have a
tendency to roll slightly as the vehicle raises
up. If the wheels are stuck use WD40 are other lubricates to loosen them, if the
wheels are missing or broken replace the wheels or get a new unit, check
all four wheels.
The next piece you need to know about is the handle, this
handle controls the up and down movement. To make the jack go up the handle must
be turned clockwise to tighten the fluid valve in the internal hydraulic pump.
To have the unit go down, loosen the valve by turning the handle counterclockwise.
Once you have it positioned under the car I will give you more instructions
on the do's and don'ts of the operation, but these are the basics.
This is the valve U joint, when you turn the handle this joint turns as well
which is connected to the handle. Sometimes the handle is not completely engaged so there is no connection between the two. If
you have tightened or loosened the handle and nothing has happened, check to
make sure this U joint is rotating with the handle, if not, re-secure the handle
down into the bulkhead, you may need to loosen the bulkhead/handle
The opposite end of the U joint is connected to the hydraulic pump valve
which controls the fluid flow and the up and down movement.
Now that we have a good idea on how it works let's test it. First close the
valve by turning the handle clockwise until tight. Next
push the handle down repeatedly, this will cause the lifting plate to rise with
each pump of the handle. If when the valve is tight and the lifting plate will
not rise up while you are pumping then it's either
broken or low on hydraulic fluid.
To check the fluid level, locate the fluid
fill plug (usually at the rear of the hydraulic pump or near the U joint) and remove
it, then add hydraulic oil or automatic transmission fluid works well as well. You
will need a small funnel or tube to connect to the container to add fluid.
Before you begin raising your vehicle you must install wood blocks to the
wheels of the opposite end of the vehicle being lifted. This is because if you
raise the vehicle by the wheels that are keeping the vehicle from rolling such
as the rear wheels on a rear wheel drive vehicle, the vehicle will want to move
on you because the tires that were holding it in place are now off of the ground
and the front wheels will let the vehicle roll freely.
Pay attention to the drive
wheels or the emergency brake wheels to help hold the vehicle in place.
Now you know how the floor jack works and how to block the wheels. It is time
to know where to and where not to place the jack stands when holding the vehicle
once lifted. In
the picture below it shows safe places which are shown by the blue dots and the
arrow shown. The left blue dot near the control arm works well when you are just
removing one tire, if you are lifting the complete front end of the car the
right dot works best.
The arrow also works well to raise one side of the
There are a lot of places that you can do damage to your vehicle when jacking
it up, be sure you NEVER place the lifting plate on the engine or
transmission (red dots) to raise the vehicle.
To add to this list: fuel lines,
emergency brake cables, CV axles, drive shaft, exhaust system and suspension
components such as control arms and sway bars will cause damage.
Here is another example of where NOT to place the lifting plate, on plastic covers, these covers are held in place usually by flimsy metal
which holds the radiator and air conditioner condenser and can be easily damaged
by the force of the jack. In general if you hear a crunching sound when lifting
the vehicle up, it’s causing damage, once you learn where and where not to lift from you will be able to spot safe places more easily.
On uni-body vehicles there will be a front frame bulkhead which is the
strongest place to lift the vehicle, there is a bulkhead on each side. Some
vehicles will have an arrow or markings to indicate where to place the jack.
Trucks, SUV's and larger vehicles will have a more pronounced frame which will
be easy to see and is where the floor jack’s lifting plate should be placed.
It takes a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it you will
be able to instantly locate these safe spots to place the lifting plate.
Every vehicle is constructed and welded at the bottom edge which connects the
body to the bottom plate of the vehicle. This pinch molding as they call it, is
welded together at the factory and provides a great place to lift the vehicle
from. Never lift the vehicle from the running boards or side steps on SUV's and
If you are still not sure where to lift the car from,
check the diagram on the vehicle’s spare tire jack, or in the owner’s manual
which is normally located in the glove box. This will give you specific places
to lift the vehicle from.
To lift the rear of the vehicle up to work on the rear brakes, shocks, fuel
or EVAP system etc., locate the rear frame member for front wheel drive car’s.
Position the lifting plate directly under this frame, tighten the
handle and start to pump until contact is made, be
sure the lifting plate is centered on the frame, this will help it
become more secure while lifting.
Do not add wood blocks, these can break and
split, causing problems, metal on metal is the safest way.
On rear wheel drive vehicles and trucks the center of the differential is the
safest place to raise the vehicle from. Center the lifting plate
directly under this point to raise the entire rear of the vehicle. This position
works on both straight axle and independent rear suspension vehicles.
This is how the vehicle should look when properly lifted
and secures with jack stands. There is no need to remove the hydraulic jack, you can just leave
it there if it’s not in the way while work is being done such as replacing brakes.
GET UNDER A CAR WITHOUT JACK STANDS!
A vehicle is very heavy and trusting the floor jack alone is not wise. I want
you around fixing your vehicles for many years to come without getting hurt.
Once the front is lifted, position and adjust the jack
stands under the main frame, bulk head or pinch welds of the vehicle. Here’s a
great safety tip; when you are working on a job that includes removing the
tires, after you have removed them lay them down flat under the vehicle,
this will give an added layer of protection against the vehicle falling all the
way down to the ground.
This is how the front of the vehicle should look when lifted and secured with
jack stands, much like the rear of the vehicle, leave the floor jack under the
vehicle, as long as it doesn't get in the way of the repair or service being
Once the job has been completed it’s time to lower the vehicle down. First
raise the vehicle up and off of the stands then remove the stands and slowly lower the
handle completely and slowly turn the handle counterclockwise. This can take
some practice because if you loosen the handle too quickly the vehicle will drop
abruptly; the best practice is to lower the vehicle slowly. The reason for the handle being low
is to avoid contact with the vehicle when it’s being lowered down.
You are all set better informed about how to raise and lower a vehicle then
most, I hope you enjoyed this article and video please visit use anytime we are
here to help you fix your car right.