this i will do, but how would you lift your car up? A simple jack is safe enough?
What type of jack is it? If it's a tire jack, it should ONLY
be used for changing tires. It's dangerous to use any jack by itself.
Theres 3 things you should familiarize yourself with before getting under a car:
1)Your floor jack, and/or tire jack. (There is a huge difference between the two.)
2)Tire chocks, if you have them.
Jacks (no matter what type) are pretty straight foward. Put it under something, and then "jack it up". Some things you should know before jacking
your car up is:
1)The maximum weight limit for the jack.
2)The proper place to jack your car up from.
The weight limit one is obvious. If the car is to heavy for the jack, you risk having it fail on you... which can result in pricey repair bills, and
pain... lots of pain.
The proper place to jack your car up is not so obvious. This information can be found in the "haynes book", or your vehicles "owner's guide".
you want to jack the car up from the frame, never jack the car up from the floor boards, bumpers, or pipes/hoses (that ones obvious,
yet I've seen it done.)
Something I learned real quick was: when lowering the car with a (hydraulic) floor jack, you usually have to twist a small screw to release the
hydraulic pressure. Twist the screw slowly, and let the car drop slowly (not slow like a snail, but not at mach 5 either), if you twist the screw out
to fast, or to much, you risk having the hydraulic fluid leak out, or getting air in it.
Almost everyone has seen a tire chock in there life... (most of the time you see them under airplane tires.) A tire chock is an object used to prevent
the car from rolling. They're usually cheap, and VERY simple to use. You place it behind the tire, and thats it... your done.
When you jack up the car, you have alot of weight sitting on the tires that are not jacked up... in the event the brakes failed, or enough force
pushed the car in that direction (wind, somebody leaning on the car, etc) the jack can tip over... hopefully with you not under the car. With the tire
chocks there the wheels will not move, and the car has virtually no chance of "rolling off the jack/jack tipping".
Most people have never heard of a tire chock, or simply don't have one. In this case, most people improvise using bricks, or lumber placed behind the
tire. This is usually just as
effective as a tire chock... but in my opinion it's best to spend the $6 something, and buy a cheap set of
A jack stand is extremely important if your going to be working under your vehicle
. Never, I repeat never get under a car, supported only by a
jack. These stands are specifically made for holding up your car (at a fixed height) for extended periods of time. They're pretty straight foward...
you raise the car up with a floor jack, and then slide these under your car. Remember to check the manual for proper placement. You don't want these
things punching holes through your floor boards.
Some people just
use a jack to do car work, and they never experiance problems. The choice is theirs to make on whether they want to use
jackstands, and chocks... I myself choose to use them because it's the proper, and safest way to do it. Ever since I was a kid helping my dad build
tree houses in the back, he's always told me "if you don't got the proper tools, you make the job harder for yourself." Thats another thing that
stuck with me I guess...
If you don't have these items, but want to get them. You may want to do a little bit of price comparing first.
I've seen chocks as low as $6.99, and as high as $25 per single chock. They all work the same, the differences lie in the materials they're made
from. The metal ones can rust, and the rubber/synthetic ones are light, and weather proof. As was mentioned before though, you can
(w/ bricks/lumber), just be smart about it though...
Jack stand prices vary too... depending on the maximum weight limit they can be $24.99 to $119.99... the cheaper it is the less weight they carry.
cheaper ones usually hold 2 1/4 ton vehicles, while really expensive ones can usually hold up to 12 tons. Get what you're cars weight is going to
need, unless you plan on buying a monster truck in the near future... lol
Tire jacks usually come with your car. Usually found with the spare tire. It looks like a spring from "super mario world" if you remember that game.
They're really meant just for
changing tires. They can usually be found pretty cheap (a couple of bucks) at auto stores.
A floor jack is usually hydraulic (allthough I've seen pneumatic ones). They often include wheels, and a long lever. If you've ever watched a nascar
pit crew, you've definitely seen a floor jack. Just like Jack stands, the prices will vary depending on maximum weight limit. Get what you feel best
applies to you.
(A MUST READ, LITTLE KNOWN FACT...)
If you're changing your calipers, most auto stores will reimburse you for your cores. If they give you the option DO IT. Core reimbursment is when
you give them your old brake calipers, and they give you store credit, or cash. (Pep boys will usually give you cash...) Most of the times they just
take calipers, but I've heard cases where they'll give you money for your rotors, and pads too. (I'm sorta doubtful about that though...) The money
you get back can range anywhere from $10 to $100+ depending on condition, make, and model of the calipers. I got $40 (per caliper) from my Ford Taurus
SHO calipers (stock). I've seen seriously old, high performance Brembo's go as high as $120 per caliper.
I know you didn't ask for that whole essay, but I guess I was feeling pretty talkative. To simply answer your original question... "Is just a jack
Well if it's a tire jack, yes it's safe for changing tires.
If it's a floor jack, it's safe as long as you use common sense, and think safety first. If you don't have tire chocks use lumber. If you don't
have jack stands, I imagine cinder blocks would be the next best thing. Just be smart about it. Safety first man... you're sitting next to a 1.5+ ton
piece of metal, being held up in the air by a 10lb piece of metal...
If you're NOT taking off your tires, there's an alternative to jack stands/jacks. Use a tire ramp (they do not cost much at all). you can roll the
car up the ramps, and it'll usually lift the car about a 12-18 inches inches off the ground. This should give you enough room to work with.
Perfect example. Just remember that if your using a car, you will not be getting as much clearance as that truck. Also notice the cinder blocks in the
back, being used as chocks.
If you're looking for a hard to find part, and the autopart stores don't seem to have it... try calling your nearest car manufacturers dealer. I was
looking for a caliper spring for my SHO's brakes... no auto part store had it in stock, but my local ford dealer had it sitting in the parts room.
They gave it to me for free too!
If you ever need any help, or advice when it comes to car maintenance feel free to U2U me, I'll try to help you out the best that I can. I would
never call myself a mechanic, but I will say I am a car enthusiast, and I love working on em... and making them go fast. (At the track of course...
street racing is rediculous to me... :shk: )
Once again, sorry for this huge post. Once you get me started talking about cars I just won't stop...
[edit on 7/15/05 by microcosm]