How to work a car jack

Do you know how to work a car jack? If not, don’t worry! This article will guide you through the process.

You’ll learn about choosing the right type of car jack, locating the vehicle’s jacking points, positioning the jack safely, lifting the car with ease, and lowering it back down.

With these steps, you’ll be able to confidently work a car jack and store it properly afterwards.

Let’s get started!

Choosing the Right Type of Car Jack

To choose the right type of car jack, you should consider the weight of your vehicle and the intended use of the jack.

The weight of your vehicle is crucial because different jacks have different weight capacities. If you have a small car, a compact or scissor jack might be sufficient. However, if you have a larger vehicle like an SUV or a truck, you’ll need a hydraulic jack or a floor jack with a higher weight capacity.

Additionally, you should think about the intended use of the jack. If you only plan to use it for emergencies or occasional tire changes, a compact jack might be suitable. However, if you’re going to perform regular maintenance or repairs, investing in a more durable and versatile jack is recommended.

Locating the Vehicle’s Jacking Points

When working with a car jack, it’s important to know the exact location of your vehicle’s jacking points. These points are specifically designed to support the weight of the vehicle and ensure safe and efficient lifting.

To locate them, start by consulting your vehicle’s owner manual. It will provide detailed information on the precise location of the jacking points for your specific make and model.

In most cases, the jacking points are located along the vehicle’s frame or chassis. They’re usually marked with notches or arrows to make them easier to identify.

Be sure that your gearshift is in Park (or in First if you have a manual transmission) and that the parking brake is on before you jack up the vehicle.

The only time you don’t want the parking brake on is when you have to be able to rotate a rear wheel or remove rear brake drums to inspect the brakes.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with these points before attempting to use a car jack. This will help prevent damage to your vehicle and ensure a successful lifting process.

Positioning the Car Jack Safely

To position the car jack safely, align it with the jacking points identified in the previous step and ensure that it’s securely in place before proceeding. Take the time to locate the appropriate jacking points on your vehicle. These are usually marked with arrows or notches on the undercarriage.

Carefully position the car jack under these points. Make sure the jack is centered and resting securely on a flat surface. Avoid placing the jack on any unstable or weak areas, such as plastic or body panels. Once the jack is properly aligned, double-check that it’s secure before continuing. This step is crucial to prevent any accidents or damage to your vehicle.

Put the car in park and engage the emergency brake.

Safety should always be your top priority when working with a car jack.

Lifting the Car with the Jack

Align the car jack with the jacking points and lift the vehicle using smooth and steady pressure on the handle. Make sure the jack is positioned securely and centered under the designated lifting points. It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the correct placement of the jack.

Gently pump the handle up and down to begin raising the car off the ground. Keep an eye on the vehicle as it starts to lift, ensuring that it remains stable and balanced. As the car rises, continue pumping the handle until the desired height is reached.

Remember to never place any body parts underneath the vehicle while it’s lifted. Once the car is at the desired height, you can proceed with any necessary maintenance or repairs.

Flat tire

We recommend using the factory jack if you’re simply changing a flat tire, but it’s wise to invest in a hydraulic unit if you need to crawl under your car on a regular basis.

The goal is to get off the road entirely and on to solid, level ground—such as a parking lot—where you can use a car jack safely.

Bottle jacks are a smaller variety of hydraulic jacks, often used by truck owners because of their simple design and ability to lift taller, heavier vehicles.

Before you understand how to use a car jack, you must know the different types of jacks available.

Lowering the Car and Storing the Jack Properly

To lower the car and properly store the jack, continue by releasing the pressure on the handle and slowly lowering the vehicle back down to the ground.

Make sure to do this step carefully to avoid any accidents or damage to the car. Begin by turning the handle counterclockwise to release the pressure on the jack. Keep a firm grip on the handle and slowly lower the car by turning the handle in a controlled manner. As the car descends, make sure to keep an eye on the contact between the jack and the car to ensure a smooth and safe landing.

If you’re going to lift your car with the manufacturer-supplied car jack, check the owner’s manual for the proper placement of the jack underneath the vehicle, which is probably on the “pinch weld” located between the front and rear tires.

Once the car is back on the ground, it’s time to properly store the jack. Place it back in its designated storage area in your trunk or wherever it’s meant to be kept. Make sure it’s secure and won’t move around while you’re driving. Storing the jack properly is important to prevent any damage and ensure it’s readily available for future use.

Trolley jack

Floor Jack and Trolley Jack are pretty similar, with the major difference being in their lifting capacities.

For safety reasons, you should never use a car jack on dirt or grass.

If you get a flat tire on a hill and can’t coast to the bottom without killing the tire completely, park close to the curb, turn the wheels toward the curb, and block the downside wheels securely to prevent the car from rolling.

Wheel ramps also eliminate having to use wheel wedges to block the opposite wheels and they hold the car securely.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Inspect My Car Jack for Any Signs of Damage or Wear?
You should inspect your car jack regularly for any signs of damage or wear. It’s important to ensure that your jack is in good condition to avoid any accidents or malfunctions while using it.

Can I Use a Car Jack to Lift a Vehicle That Is Heavier Than the Weight Limit Specified by the Manufacturer?
You shouldn’t use a car jack to lift a vehicle that exceeds the weight limit specified by the manufacturer. Doing so can be dangerous and may cause damage to the car jack or result in an accident.

Is It Safe to Leave a Vehicle Supported by a Car Jack for an Extended Period of Time?
It is not safe to leave a vehicle supported by a car jack for an extended period of time. The car jack may fail or the vehicle may slip off, causing potential damage or injury.

Can I Use a Car Jack on Uneven or Soft Surfaces?
Yes, you can use a car jack on uneven or soft surfaces, but it’s not recommended. Uneven surfaces can make the jack unstable, and soft surfaces may not provide enough support. It’s safer to use a flat, level surface.

Are There Any Additional Safety Precautions I Should Take When Using a Car Jack?
When using a car jack, it’s important to take extra safety precautions. Make sure to park on a level surface, chock the wheels, and use jack stands for added stability. Stay safe!


In conclusion, knowing how to work a car jack is essential for any vehicle owner. By choosing the right type of car jack, locating the jacking points, and positioning the jack safely, you can lift your car with ease.

Remember to always follow safety guidelines and lower the car carefully. Lastly, store the jack properly to ensure its longevity.

With these steps, you can confidently handle any car jack situation.

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