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Auto: Safe Jacking Procedures

Safe Jacking Procedures is another very early episode of Repairs101 where I stupidly referred to a video I fully expected to release but never did. And hey as long as I’m at it – I forgot to chock the tires before the lift. Ugh. #hangsheadinshame

Before you start

OK the first thing, of course, before you lift the weight of the car up into the air: you want to break the torque on all the wheel nuts. OK so and the reason of course you want to break the torque before you lift the wheel is because otherwise it’s just going to be spinning and you’re going to have to try jamming it up, people use their foot to do that which is just crazy.

Go ahead and break the tension off – just break the tension, I’m not talking about backing these nuts off at all. I’m talking about breaking the tension.


Cardboard carpet

The other thing you’ll notice of course is that I spread out cardboard underneath me. It’s for kneeling on, for keeping my work area clean. Keeping myself clean, keeping my tools organized.

OK you’ll notice I’m using a bottle jack instead of the jack that came with the truck. So if you have a bottle jack, by all means, you should use it. It’s probably the safest way to lift a large weight like this. Every vehicle should of course have a jack in it and have a look at my film Carjacks101 where I review a whole bunch of different car jacks from different car manufacturers – hopefully the one that’s in your car will be covered and I’ll talk about safe placement, how to change a spare, but of course that’s another movie.

You get under the frame right here and then we’ll pick her up. Close the valve. There she goes. Now you’ll notice, of course that I have some clean cardboard spread out on my worksite. That’s to protect me from the hard and cold ground, and to keep my clothes clean. And keep my worksite contained, if I have a small oil spill I can keep it contained on the cardboard. And I think you’ll find that all professionals are packrats for big pieces of cardboard like this moving box that I saved.

OK. As you can see, I’m clear now. I’ll take it up a couple of more strokes and then we’ll block it up. I like to use a piece of plywood for a platform and a proper axle stand. It’s the only way to go. You should never, never work on a vehicle that isn’t on stands. 

Plywood platform

OK here we go. I’m using a piece of plywood to spread the load on. I get up as close as I can and then I’m going to put the weight onto it. Off of the jack. As you can see it’s compressing the cardboard and the plywood. Now the weight is snugly on the axle stand instead of on the jack and I can take it out and use the jack to lift up the other side of the vehicle.

Again: a piece of plywood, axle stand, very nice. OK once again I’ll just take the weight off of it nice and easy. You should never go too fast. As you can see, now it’s all standing up on the stands.

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The only time you’re going to want to see this thing fall, of course, is when the wheels are still on it. So right now when I’ve just lifted it up, I’ve just put it on the axlestands, I give it a shake – it doesn’t look like it’s going to fall off.

Test stability

OK have a look underneath you can see I’m just on the axle-stands but they’re planted properly on plywood blocks and I can shake this thing [Strains] all I can – and I’m pretty strong – and it’s not coming down so it’s safe to take the wheels off and it’s safe to work on.

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