Safely Give Your Car a Lift
by Pat Goss
I have some tips about safely raising a car. There are all kinds of things that you might have to do that would require raising a car off the ground.
If you’re doing it at home, you could use any number of different things. You could use the jack that comes with the car; that’s certainly one way to do it, but make sure you read and follow the instructions that come with it. Also make sure that your jack is properly maintained; most people never check them. In reality, once or twice a year your jack should be removed and it should be cleaned and lubricated with white lithium grease that will keep it from looking like this decrepit one.
But suppose your jacking it up in a normal manner, when you’ve got a floor jack or you’re going to buy a floor jack, make sure that it has all the proper safety ratings, ANSI is the primary one.
You might want to invest in something like this pinch weld adaptorfrom Eastwood tools. It fits on the pinch weld under the rocker panel on the car, and it sits into the jack and spreads the force out so you don’t crush the underneath of the car, and that’s a big thing. Make sure whenever you’re raising the car up that you have the jack positioned under something that is substantial, and if you have questions, read a manual to make sure. Make sure also that you don’t hit the brake lines or parking brake cables or anything like that.
Once the car is up you never put any part of your body underneath that car until it is firmly positioned on jack stands. Jack standsare fine and they work great on concrete, but on soft materials like blacktop or dirt, you always have to put a chunk of plywood underneath it. Minimum half an inch thick. Minimum eighteen inches square.
That also applies for jacks like this bottle jack. It can lift a lot of weight but you have to be real careful with it because the base of it isn’t all that big. It can sink down into blacktop and dirt, and the top of it is small so you can easily punch a hole right through the bottom of the car. So you have to use common sense and you have to do this properly. Oh, by the way, the jack stands, the also have to be ANSI certified.
But suppose you get a flat tire and you’re out on the road someplace and you really don’t have all this stuff with you, what would you do? Well, I have the solution. I’ve figured that one out: cell phone and the auto club. That gets it done safely and you don’t have any problems.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.