How to Use a Car Jack: Things You Should Know

How to Use a Car Jack

How to use a car jack? Before learning the answer to this, there are other things you should familiarize yourself with first. It is more complicated than simply learning how to use the tool because the tool itself is complex. What are we talking about? We are referring to the correct type of jack that will serve your purpose.

Yes, that is right. There is no universal jack that can make up for all your car needs. In fact, a lot of people buy different jacks just to be on the safe side. The most common thing we know about jacks is that we use it for when we need to replace a tire.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The proper jack can make your life easier in terms of dealing with problems with your car. For this reason, we are going to go through some of the general types of car jacks for you to know which one to use for your specific issue.

At the same time, we are also going to go through some general guidelines on how to properly use a jack. Furthermore, you will also see some factors to consider in buying a specific jack, if you only have room to spare for one. Now, let us learn what these types are.

Types of Car Jacks

There are four general types of automotive jacks. However, we are just going to discuss three as the fourth type is used for motorcycles. The types are scissor jack, hydraulic jack, and hi-lift jack.

1. Scissor Jack

This is the most common type of jack. When you purchase a car and get a freebie, it is usually this type of jack because this is the one that is mainly used for replacing flat tires. This is also known as a Jackscrew.

In terms of size, it is smaller than other jacks as it is made to be lightweight and portable. It is called a scissor jack due to the motion that it employs when the jack is squeezed. When you are in the process of raising your vehicle, you will see a scissor motion. The way you use it is by rotating a lever and cranking it up.

This jack is used for quick fixes.

2. Hydraulic Jack

Under this general type, there are two sub-types to be noted. The first one is the floor jack and the second one is the bottle jack. These two jacks belong to this type due to how the car is lifted, and that is by using hydraulics.

  • Floor Jack

This is a more heavy-duty type of jack. You can see this in automotive repair shops and gasoline stations. Additionally, they are made to withstand the test of time. Therefore, having this type is better than having a scissor jack.

However, the disadvantages of this are the facts that it takes too much room and is extremely heavy. It is hard to transport from one place to another. Then again, this can be used for raising regular cars to even racing cars that are lowered.

  • Bottle Jack

This hydraulic jack is somehow a more compact version of the floor jack. The difference between the two is that for the bottle jack, the force of lifting the vehicle is concentrated at only one point.

Additionally, the force is near where the lifting point happens, as you only need to maneuver a single lift rod. On the other hand, for the floor jack, you make use of a lever that is a bit far from the lifting point. In turn, this gives you a bit of leeway in terms of using too much force.

3. Hi-Lift Jack

This type of jack is the one that can hold a lot of weight. But it is not suited to be used for regular or racing vehicles. Instead, this is better suited for farming trucks and off-road vehicles. It is also good to note that this type of jack is very versatile because not only can you use it for lifting, but you can also use it for winching, pulling, and levering.

How to Use a Car Jack: General Guidelines

As you might have noticed, there is no distinct way of using a car jack because there are a lot of techniques to be used based on what you are going to use it for. However, there can be general tips and safeguards for you to follow, so that lifting your vehicle can be a bit of a breeze.

  • Know the contact point of your jack and vehicle. Always place the jack directly below that point. For you to know what that point is, you only need to consult the user manual of your car.
  • If you are using a scissor jack, carefully insert the wrench and knob, and slowly crank up the jack.
  • For those who are using a hydraulic jack, once you are sure, you are under the contact point, you only need to pump up and down.
  • Use single and smooth moves to ensure that you do not miss the contact point.
  • Once raised, you can then put in your jack stands.
  • To remove the jack, wiggle it a bit to make sure that the vehicle is already lifted.
  • Slowly disengage the jack with contact point using slow and single strokes.
  • Roll off the jack beneath the vehicle.

Safety Tips

Here are some things to take note off before you even use a jack.

  • Never use a jack to hold a vehicle off of the ground. Its purpose is only to lift it.
  • Use jack stands if you are going to work underneath the car.
  • Always block the wheels before using the jack.
  • Make sure to park on level ground before using a jack.

Final Words

Now that you know the basics of how to use a car jack, you will eventually find it easier to lift your vehicle, the more you do it. Surely, it is not an easy task, but now that you have the knowledge of the different types, you now have to option to choose which jack can be the best one to use.

Just keep in mind that it is not about the easiest jack to work with, it is about using the right jack and properly setting up the contact point. Once you sort all of these out, you should have absolutely nothing to worry about.

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