A floor jack is a hydraulic lift operated manually. It is a vital tool for any person owning a car or working in the automotive industry. A floor jack helps you to lift the car partially from the ground when doing maintenance and repair. Vehicles are heavy and thus if you do not know how to use a floor jack effectively, it can lead to serious injuries and damages.
A floor jack makes the process of lifting a vehicle quite easily. It is used to elevate one corner of a truck or car from the ground. Floor jacks are not as complicated to use as some of the other jacks. One significant thing you should consider when using a jack is your safety. This article will guide you on how to jack up a car using a floor jack correctly to alleviate any cases of vehicle damages or injuries.
Step By Step Guide on How to Use a Floor Jack
A floor jack sits on a pair of swiveling casters and a pair of fixed wheels. This makes it simple for you to move the floor jack around. It will hold the whole weight of a vehicle or a truck when performing repairs underneath the vehicle. Follow the following steps on how to use floor jack for house tasks:
Step 1: Prepare the Floor Jack
Before you start lifting the car, you need to make the necessary preparations. It is always good to protect yourself than healing injuries you would have prevented.
- Wear your protective gear like sturdy footwear, coveralls, gloves, and eye goggles. Once you have your protective gear on, do the following precautionary measures:
- Inspect the floor jack to ensure that it is. Check if the jack has all the accessories. In case there are any missing parts, replace them before using the floor jack.
- Check the weight capacity of the floor jack on its labels. Remove all the heavy items in your car that would add extra weight to its original weight.
Step 2: Identify the Right Jack Points
Before you lift the car or truck for fixing, it is vital to identify the right jack points. Each vehicle has its unique checkpoint, but the basic idea is similar to all. This is how you identify the jackpots of a vehicle:
Go through your car manual since the jack points are different for each car. In most cases, the points are located either on the back or front wheels. Each of these jack points on a car has a mental edge, so look if the vehicle has parts where you can insert the jack.
It is prudent to refer to the manual for any information you need clarification on. If, by any chance, you have misplaced your manual, look for guidelines and tutorial videos on the internet.
Always ensure that you are attaching the jack to the correct jack point. Some people tend to ignore this step in the process, and they end up placing the jacks wrongly, or it becomes less stable.
Step 3: Park the Vehicle on a Solid Surface
Before you jack up the vehicle, park the car on a flat and even surface. If possible, park it on a concrete driveway. Parking the vehicle on a flat surface ensures that it is more stable. The surface should be sturdy such that the floor jack, jack stands, and floor jack will not start sinking. Do not use the floor jack on soft surfaces such as on grass or sand.
Step 4: Engage the Hand Brake
After parking the vehicle, engage the hand brake or parking brake. This is to ensure that the vehicle is completely static. Engaging the parking brake prevents the vehicle from moving when it is being jacked up.
Step 5: Position the Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are among the most reliable accessories one should use with a floor jack. Once you have identified the side of the vehicle you will be working in, place the wheel chocks on the other side. Place the wheel chocks on the sides of the tire that you will not be jacking up.
The objective of wheel chocks is to ensure that the car will not roll when you start to jack it up. If you are working on the vehicle’s back end, ensure that you have the wheel chocks on the front side. The parking brakes are found on the rear wheels; this is you lift them up; the front wheels may start rolling.
Step 6: Test-run the Floor Jack
Before you jack up the vehicle, make sure you have tested the floor jack with your hands. This way, you will get to know if the jack is disengaging and engaging appropriately. Check if the floor jack is rising, releasing, and holding normally. Take your time to make sure that the jack is in the right shape to handle the weight of the vehicle.
Step 7: Place the Floor Jack on Jack Points
In the earlier step, you had already identified the jack points of your vehicle. Remember, we said that the jack points differ from one vehicle to another. Your car manufacturer will indicate the exact place where the jack points are located. Place the floor jack on that point correctly.
Step 8: Jack up the Car
After placing the floor jack correctly on the jack points, the other step is to lift it. Lift the vehicle to a height where you will be able to access the parts underneath for proper maintenance and repair. The floor jacks saddle should be in contact with the jack points. The vehicle should be lifted in slow motion. This will help you to adjust the saddle up the jack points perfectly.
Step 9: Place Jack Stands
Another accessory you should have when lifting your vehicle with a floor jack is a jack stand. After lifting the vehicle to the perfect position, place a jack stand below. Adjust the jack stands height for it to fit under the car perfectly. One question many ask is how many jack stands do I need to jack up a car. Ensure you have more than one jack stand for support.
Jack stands should also be placed on jack points. Before you put the stands on, test them with your hands to ensure that they are firm enough to hold the vehicle. Make sure that the jack stands stable and secure before you go under the vehicle.
Step 10: Remove the Floor Jack
Once you are sure that the jack stands are stable and holding the vehicle securely, remove the floor jack, and put it aside. Shake the car lightly to ensure that it is stable. In case you note an unstable part, adjust it appropriately before you go underneath. Even when you have the jack stands to hold the vehicle, make sure you have other things, supporters.
You can place some wooden blocks for precautionary measures. Make sure that the supporters are made of solid materials that can withstand the weight of the vehicle if it falls or slips accidentally. Some of the perfect materials to use are cinder blocks or bricks. Place the supporters near the vehicle’s jack points.
The proper use of a floor jack highly depends on the surface you are working on. Even if you know how to use a floor jack, you have to make sure that it is on a solid surface. Floor jacks will allow you to carry a lot of routine maintenance and repairs for your vehicle. This article, however, gives you expert advice on how you should use a floor jack safely.
With the right knowledge, it will save you cost, and time you would have used by going to minor repairs on automobile shops. Always make sure that you have taken the precautionary measures we have mentioned above before you go underneath the vehicle. Always have more than one jack stand or supporters supporting the vehicle. This way, they will be able to hold the vehicle in case one of them fails.