Working on any car sometimes involves getting safely underneath to spin wrenches, or swing hammers. A floor jack and jack stands are the right tools for the job when it comes time to working on an automobile with more than one of its wheels removed. Choosing the right floor jack and jack stand set depends on the weight of your automobile. There’s no need to get a 12-ton set if you drive a 1982 Toyota Starlet. Conversely, an economy stamped steel 1-ton set won’t hold up a full-size pickup or SUV. Ground clearance, or lack of it, is another factor. Low-profile floor jacks will squeeze under most stock body cladding. A set of ramps are the answer for getting the floor jack under super low rides.
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Jacking and jack stand support points are crucial to safety. A jack or jack stand in the wrong location can cause vehicular or bodily damage! Your owner’s or service manual is a good place to find the right jack locations and jackstand points for your vehicle. Never jack up a vehicle from a point not designed to handle the load. If unsure about where to place a jack or jack stand, the best strategy is to stop. Do not attempt to guess at a good location. Putting holes in the floorboards or yourself is not the goal.
When lowering the vehicle onto the stands or back onto the ground it is important to slowly release the hydraulic pressure inside the jack. Double check jack stand locations before lowering the car. If working with others yell “clear” or “potrzebie” before turning the handle on the jack. Slow lowering of the vehicle not only helps prevent damage, but allows time to see any potential hazards before they occur. Practice raising and lowering the jack to get a good feel for how it works before balancing 3000 pounds of car on it.