A jack is a tool that can help you do just about any job on your car. Whether you’re a weekend DIYer, a mechanic who works at your local mechanic shop, or someone who just loves to do a little tinkering with their vehicle, having a jack is always useful and can save you a lot of money down the line.
To make your own jack, first decide what you need to use it for and how big of a job it will be. There are plenty of different jacks to choose from, but you’ll want something that’s sturdy and is safe for the car you’re working on.
If you’re only going to need it for a single task, such as changing a tire or replacing a broken part, a standard floor jack is fine, but if you’re looking for a sturdy and reliable jack for longer term use, consider a hydraulic jack. A hydraulic jack is designed to lift the car with the pressure of the hose running up and down its sides, so it’s much sturdier than a standard floor jack.
Start by finding your car’s jack points, which are the areas where the body of the car is welded to a jack plate that provides load-bearing support. These are often behind the front wheels and in front of the rear ones, but check your owner’s manual to find out where on your car they are.
Once you’ve found your car’s jack points, place the jack under the point and use it to slowly lower your car onto the jack stand, until all four wheels are off the ground. Repeat this process for the rest of your car, placing a pair of jack stands under each safe lift point, until you’ve fully lifted your car off of the ground.
After you’ve lowered your car, you can remove the jack and jack stands and use your body weight to wiggle your car slightly, to ensure that it’s secure. This is especially important if you’re changing a wheel or removing a stuck tire.
Alternatively, you can use a bottle jack. These are smaller and easier to store than a trolley jack, but they don’t work as well. To use one, you’ll need to pump the handle up until the cradle reaches the jacking point. Then, you’ll need to remove the handle and twist the relief valve anti-clockwise until the jack is free to come down again, taking care not to accidentally knock it off.
If you’re a fan of tools, you can also try a QuickJack, which combines a jack, a floor jack and a pair of jack stands into one handy gadget. It’s not quite as powerful as a floor jack or a scissor jack, but it’s still good enough for most jobs and can save you a fair amount of time and hassle when you’re doing repairs to your car.
A jack is a valuable tool for all do-it-yourselfers, so you’ll want to take the time to learn how to use it safely and properly. There are plenty of different types of jack, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with them before you begin.