Vehicle lifts are an essential part of at-home vehicle repairs. Be it an oil change or if you are bleeding your brakes, sometimes an at-home fix is just unavoidable. For most, at-home repairs entail the use of some kind of jack and a jack stand. However, failure to follow proper safety protocol when using tools such as these could lead to the tool breaking or even the vehicle falling. Incidents like these may result in lift related accidents that could cause serious harm. This article offers some useful suggestions on how to safely lift a vehicle to conduct repair work on it.
#1. Know your tools
Before attempting to perform a vehicle lift, ensure you know the specifics of the tools you are dealing with. The weight a jack can lift will vary from product to product. Making sure that you know the maximum weight lift that your jack can endure is vital. You will also want to familiarise yourself with the weight of your vehicle as any weight higher than outlined for the product could result in the jack not being able to hold the weight of the vehicle.
The maximum weight your jack can endure will be highlighted in the product’s manufacturer manual. Furthermore, your car manual or a quick google search will help you to identify the weight of your car ahead of buying a product.
#2 Use the right jack
There are many kinds of jack on the market. From scissor jacks to air jacks to bottle jacks, knowing which is the best for the repair being carried out will allow you to conduct it in the safest way possible. Scissor jacks are great if you’re changing a tyre, but if you are wanting to safely get under your vehicle for a DIY job, an air jack will help to lift and support the vehicle and is much preferred by car DIY enthusiasts.
#3. Don’t rush
No matter what kind of jack you are using, once you have raised your jack, it is important to carry out checks. Small checks such as ensuring that the head and jack point haven’t shifted during the raising will increase its safety during use. Conducting a couple of simple checks could be the difference between a safe DIY repair job on your vehicle and an accident that could result in serious bodily harm. Ensuring that you are using your jack in a slow and controlled way may take a little longer, but your safety is worth it.
For further advice and guidelines on the safe and proper use of a jack, check out the Guidelines for Vehicle Lift Safety – NARFA.