How to Properly Jack Up Your SUV

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How to Properly Jack Up Your SUV

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are getting heavier and larger as time goes by. Having to do repairs on one of the larger vehicles around can be considerably dangerous unless you properly jack up your SUV prior to attempting the repairs. There are several reasons why you may need to jack up your SUV. You may need to change a flat tyre on the side of the road. You may have to rotate the tyres to ensure even wear. Some undercarriage repairs like working on the muffler system or repairing the radiator may necessitate jacking up the SUV. Even a simple oil change could require lifting the vehicle.

The average SUV weighs over 1,500 kilograms. With this much weight, any missteps while jacking up the SUV may cause a problem. Even gusts of wind may cause the SUV to rock slightly, so you have to ensure that everything is well in place as you jack up the vehicle.

Prepare to Jack Up Your SUV

The exact method you use to jack up your SUV depends on the type of repair you are doing, as well as the type of jack you have. Ideally, you need to make sure you have the equipment necessary to lift the vehicle prior to having to make any necessary repairs. While many SUVs come equipped with a jack, make sure it is functional and safe to use.

Ensure the Location is Safe

Making sure your vehicle is in a safe place is necessary to ensure that you can safely jack up the SUV. If you have a roadside emergency, it is recommended to place warning triangles around the vehicle to let other motorists know of your location. If possible, make sure that your SUV is on a flat surface so that the car is steady and stable while it is jacked up.

Know the Weight of Your Vehicle

It is important to ensure that you are buying a jack that can accommodate your vehicle. In order to do this, you must know the curb weight of your vehicle. The jack you choose should be able to hold at least half the curb weight, but a better option is a jack that can accommodate the full weight of your vehicle. In most cases, you will need at least a 3-tonne jack for your SUV.

Locate the Jack Points

Before you try to jack the vehicle, you need to determine where the jack points are located. This information is often found under a section in the owner's manual entitled 'Emergencies'. If you do not have an owner's manual, which is sometimes the case for used vehicles, you may be able to locate the jack points under the vehicle by looking for a reinforced spot.

There are usually four jack points on a vehicle. There is one behind each front tyre and one in front of each rear tyre. It is never safe to try to jack up an SUV on any spot other than the jack points, as the jack may go through the undercarriage of the SUV and punch through the floor.

Secure the Wheels

No matter what the reason is for needing to jack up the SUV, you must secure the wheels prior to jacking up the vehicle. This helps to keep the vehicle from rolling while it is jacked up. If you are jacking up the front of the SUV, you need to place wheel chocks behind the back tyres. If you are jacking up the back of the SUV, you need to place wheel chocks in front of the front tyres.

Portion Being Lifted

Number of Jacks and/or Stands

Jack Placement

Wheel Chock Placement

Driver front

1

Behind driver front tyre

Behind both rear tyres

Driver rear

1

In front of driver rear tyre

In front of both front tyres

Passenger front

1

Behind passenger front tyre

Behind both rear tyres

Passenger rear

1

In front of passenger rear tyre

In front of both front tyres

Entire front of vehicle

2

Behind each front tyre

Behind both rear tyres

Entire rear of vehicle

2

In front of each rear tyre

In front of both front tyres

Entire passenger side

2

Behind passenger front tyre and in front of passenger rear tyre

One behind driver front tyre and one in front of driver rear tyre

Entire driver side

2

Behind driver front tyre and in front of driver rear tyre

One behind passenger front tyre and one in front of passenger rear tyre

While it may be tempting to not worry about the wheel chocks, these are one of the only things that keeps your SUV from rolling while it is jacked up. Because of this, having a pair of wheel chocks in your vehicle should be a mandatory part of your roadside safety kit. They do not take up much room and can save you time and trouble while your SUV is jacked up.

Jack Up the SUV

Now that the wheels are secure, you can move on to jacking up the SUV. Slide the jack under the vehicle and align the top of the jack with the jack point. The way you raise the jack is dependent upon the type of jack you have. Most SUVs come with either a bottle jack or a scissor lift;; however, some SUV owners prefer to purchase a trolley jack instead. For the bottle jack and the trolley jack, you have to attach a handle to the jack. When the handle is attached, you then pump it up and down to raise the jack. For a scissor jack, you need to attach the handle and turn it in circles to raise the jack.

As you raise the jack, it is important to check and make sure that it is still in line with the jack point. If you see the jack needs to be moved as you are raising it, do so before it comes into contact with the undercarriage of the vehicle. If you notice the jack needs to be better aligned once the jack plate is touching the jack point, you should then lower the jack. This is done by turning the handle slightly to release pressure for a trolley jack or a bottle jack. For a scissor jack, you need to turn the handle in a circle the opposite way of how you raised the jack. For almost every jack, you typically have to remove the handle from the jack once the vehicle is jacked up. This is a security feature to ensure that you or someone around you does not accidentally lower the jack while you are working on the SUV.

Increase Stability

If you need more stability while you work on your SUV, you can use  jack stand,, which are also known as axle stands. Unlike the jack, a jack stand is placed under the axle of the vehicle to help hold it up. These are ideal for almost every instance unless you are working on the axle itself. Jack stands work in much the same manner as the jack. To use them, you manoeuvre a lever to get them to rise until they are firmly secure under the SUV.

Alternative to Jacks

If you are doing work on your SUV that does not involve taking the tyres off, you might want to use ramps to lift the vehicle. To use these, you line the ramps up with the tyres and then proceed to drive up the ramps. If you are working on the front of the vehicle, you should place the ramps in front of the front tyres and drive slowly forward up the ramps. If you are working on the rear of the vehicle, place the ramps behind the rear tyres and back up slowly. Always use wheel chocks in the same manner as you would if you were using the jack instead of ramps.

How to Buy a Jack for Your SUV on eBay

When purchasing a jack from eBay, a great way to find the one you are looking for is to perform a keyword search. For a variety of options, perform a simple keyword search such as "car jack&". For more specific search results, you could perform a search using keywords such as "scissor lift&" to find a more exact product that you are looking for.

You can sometimes find sets on eBay that include a jack with jack stands or ramps. In some kits, the jack stands are called axle stands. Buying new items is usually ideal since you know that they are going be secure. If you opt to buy a used set, ask the seller if they were ever involved in an automotive accident. Finding listings on eBay Motors with pictures of the actual jack for sale is a good idea, as you can see the wear and tear on the jack as well.

Conclusion

Choosing a jack for your SUV is an important decision that must be made with care. A sturdy jack that functions properly can make changing a flat tyre on the motorway a lot easier and a safer than if you had to do the job with a less-than-ideal jack. It is always best to make sure the SUV is properly braced before working on the vehicle. This is especially true if you are changing a tyre, as the axle could hit the ground if the jack fails.

When it is time to use your jacks, it is important to make sure that the conditions are suitable for lifting the SUV. If at all possible, avoid lifting the vehicle on uneven ground, when it is wet outside, or when it is windy. If you have any doubt about the condition of the jack and other lift accessories in your SUV, it is always best to buy a new set to avoid any potential safety issues down the road.

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