Oftentimes, when doing DIY auto repair, the one aspect that you may not notice you use and need for most projects, is a car jack. We take for granted the one tool that can actually lift your car off the ground and allows a safe and comfortable environment for you to work in. In order for a car jack to provide that safety, however, the right jack must be in your possession. There is no one-jack-fits-all kind of jack, especially if you just accept the cheapest, most portable jack you can find. So what car jack should you get that will make your DIY auto repair project a safe project? …a car jack that gives you the peace of mind so you can focus on the work and not worry about any danger? Let us take a look at a few different jacks and lifting techniques that can be used to match your DIY auto repair needs.
- Jack stands are a type of safety equipment that by definition are life savers. As their name implies, they are just stands that are a support after your car has already been lifted off the ground. They are often overlooked by those working under their vehicle, but jack stands are just one failed jack away from being the tool you owe your life to. So before you life your car to do any DIY auto repair job, be safe by making sure you have jack stands ready to place underneath.
- An interesting alternative to lifting the vehicle off the ground, which some DIY mechanics forget about, are ramps. They don’t allow you to do much work on the wheels or brakes necessarily, but for most projects under the vehicle, especially towards the front, ramps are safer to use than a car jack. If you use ramps, always remember to use wheel chocks and set the parking brake, as well.
- Floor jacks are the most common lifting tool used on both DIY auto repair and regular maintenance. Many floor jacks come with the car, often as mobile tools, useful for changing a tire and other situations where working around the tire area is necessary. These car jacks are not safe for working under the car as they have a small surface area on the lifting pad and are not rated for any in-depth repair conditions. If you are wanting to use a floor jack, make sure to go out and buy one that is designed for working under a car, and as stated previously, always use jack stands with them.
- Bottle jacks are small, funny looking, and extremely powerful lifting tools. They can lift more than many floor jacks can, but because of their compact size and shape, they may not be as stable. You will also want to ensure the bottle jack is on a flat, strong surface, for your safety. It is particularly important for you to accompany bottle jacks with jack stands, as they offer even less stability than floor jacks.
- There are some specialized jacks that are made specifically for a DIY auto repair project, and can make your job considerably smoother than previous situations without the jacks. Just because these jacks were made for the specific projects you need them for, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution. All car jacks have a crushing hazard, and therefore taking necessary precautions before and during the project is very important.
Just as a car jack can make a DIY auto repair situation safe, it can also make it extremely dangerous. Choosing the right jack, and practicing safe lifting techniques, can make your DIY auto repair project an enjoyable one and get you out from under your car in one piece.