How to Use a Floor Jack

by Contributor

If you need to change a tire or check the undercarriage of your car, use a floor jack to raise one end of the car off the ground. Floor jacks use hydraulics to lift the car and are easier to handle than car ramps or regular ratchet-type jacks. When used according to manufacturer specifications, floor jacks are safe and easy to maneuver and operate.

Check the manufacturer's sticker on top of the floor jack. This tells you how much weight your specific floor jack can lift. Make sure you are using a floor jack that's rated for lifting the type of vehicle you have.

Find a level surface on which to work. A floor jack works best and is safest when you use it on flat, even ground.

Park the car on the spot where you are using the floor jack. Chock the wheels that you can't lift off the ground when the vehicle is jacked up with cinder blocks or 4-by-4 inch wood blocks.

Slide the floor jack under your vehicle. Position it so that the jack makes contact with a stable part of the car's undercarriage. Follow manufacturer specifications regarding placement of the floor jack. Your vehicle's manual can explain the best lift point for your specific model.

Pump the handle of the floor jack to raise the vehicle until the end being lifted is off the ground. If working underneath the car for tasks such as changing the oil, place jack stands beneath the vehicle and lower until the vehicle rests on the stands.

Lower the vehicle by slowly turning the handle counterclockwise.

Tip

  • check Place a 1/4-inch or thicker piece of plywood beneath the floor jack before using to avoid any damage to your driveway or garage floor that may result from the vehicle's weight.

Warning

  • close Never work underneath a vehicle that's supported by only a floor jack. Use two jack stands-never one-when working underneath a vehicle.

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