And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands


The scissor or corkscrew jack in your trunk is somewhat adequate for emergency wheel and tire swaps. Drive-on ramps are good for oil changes and whatnot. When it comes time to blow apart the front end, swap out some brake pads, or replace some spent struts, a floor jack and two or more sturdy jack stands are the right tools for the job.

Choose Wisely

Determining the hot setup depends largely on the weight of your vehicle. There's no need to get a 12-ton "Grave Digger" Monster Truck jack and jack stands set if you drive a 1972 Honda AN600 Coupe, while a bargain stamped steel 1-ton set won't cut it for holding up that gold-plated Escalade. Another consideration is vehicle ground clearance. Low-profile floor jacks are effective in squeezing under sportier rides equipped with ground hugging front, rear, and side mounted aerodynamic body panels.

Important Points

Jacking and jack stand support points are also crucial. A jack or jack stand in the wrong location can cause vehicular or bodily damage! Your owner's manual is a good place to locate safe jacking locations for your vehicle. Never jack up a vehicle from a point not designed to handle the load. If unsure about where to place a jack or jack stand the best strategy is to stop. Do not attempt to guess at a good location. Putting holes in the floorboards is not the desired result.

Take It Easy

When lowering the vehicle onto the stands or back onto the ground it is important to s-l-o-w-l-y release the hydraulic pressure inside the jack. Before lowering the vehicle always double check jack stand locations, and make sure the area is clear by looking. If working with others yell "clear" or "potrzebie" before releasing jack pressure. Slow lowering of the vehicle not only helps prevent damage but supplies time to see any potential hazards before they occur. Practice raising and lowering the jack to get a good feel for how it operates before attempting the real deal.

Stuff You'll Need:

· A Jack and Jack Stands
· A Wheel Chock

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands

The tools for the job - a sturdy floor jack and jack stands. Choose wisely and according to vehicle mass. The plan is to raise the vehicle high enough to get the jack stands underneath and properly placed, then slowly lower the vehicle slowly onto the stands.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands

The first step is to park the vehicle on solid, level ground such as a concrete or paved surface. Put the transmission in park, set the parking brake, or use a wheel chock to prevent unwanted rolling.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands

Place a floor jack under a safe jacking point. Look in the owner's manual for jacking points. Guessing can bend things, so don't do it. Pump the handle on the floor jack until the raising arm makes contact with the jacking point, then keep pumping until the jack is at the end of its travel.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands

The jack stand goes underneath a jack point. One can either jack up and lower one side of the vehicle at a time, or raise one end of the vehicle and lower it onto two correctly placed jack stands.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands

Slowly release jack pressure to lower the vehicle onto the jack stands. Releasing the hydraulic pressure is a good thing to practice some time before there's a 3000 or more pound vehicle teetering on the jack.

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Using a Floor Jack and Jack Stands

Remove the jack. Check for solid support before attempting under vehicle activities. A good way to do this is to grab onto the bumper and give the vehicle a gentle yet determined push back and forth. A better idea to determine the vehicle is solidly supported while above it then underneath.

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