A car falling off a jack can give you a bad experience, leading to damages and potential injuries. Knowing what to do in such a situation is crucial to ensure the safety of everyone involved. This way, you can also minimize potential damage to the vehicle.
In this article, you will get to know the right course of action when your car falls off a jack. This comprehensive guide also highlights the importance of selecting the right equipment and taking necessary precautions.
Importance of Proper Jack Selection
Selecting the right car jack is crucial for safety and efficiency. Different types of jacks serve different purposes and have their pros and cons.
Low-Profile Floor Jack
A low-profile floor jack is ideal for cars with minimal ground clearance. It has a long handle, allowing for easy access under the vehicle.
- Fits under cars with low ground clearance
- Large, stable base
- Easy to maneuver
- Heavier than other jack types
- More expensive
Examples of low-profile floor jacks include the Big Red jack stand.
A scissor jack is a compact, portable car jack suitable for emergency tire changes.
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Limited lifting height
- Small base, potentially less stable
Examples of scissor jacks include the Torin Big Red scissor jack.
Bottle jacks use hydraulic pressure to lift heavy loads, such as trucks or SUVs, and are not suitable for cars with low ground clearance.
- High lifting capacity
- Compact size
- Not suitable for low-clearance vehicles
- Small base, potentially less stable
Examples of bottle jacks include the Pro-Lift bottle jack.
Comparison Table Showing The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Jacks
|Fits under low cars, stable
|Heavier, more expensive
|Big Red jack stand
|Lightweight, easy to store
|Limited height, small base
|Torin Big Red scissor jack
|High capacity, compact size
|Not for low cars, small base
|Pro-Lift bottle jack
How to Ensure Proper Jack Placement and Stability?
Use The Right Jack Lift Points
When jacking up your car, use the jack lift points specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. These points provide the best support and stability when raising your car, ensuring a safe lifting process.
Stabilize The Car
After raising your vehicle with a quality jack, place jack stands under the car to provide support and stability. It is essential to position these stands on an even, flat surface to reduce the risk of tipping or other accidents.
Park Gear and Emergency Brake
Before lifting your vehicle, make sure it is in park gear (if automatic) and that the emergency brake is engaged. This prevents the car from rolling during the lifting process, ensuring safety during your repairs.
Avoid Soft Ground Issues
Avoid jacking your car on soft ground, such as grass or gravel. Soft ground can cause uneven weight distribution, leading to instability and potential accidents.
If necessary, use a sturdy surface, like a 2-foot square piece of 3/4-inch plywood, to create a stable lift point.
Use Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks provide extra stability when a car is on a jack. Place them behind the tires to prevent rolling.
If you’re lifting the front of the car, place chocks behind the rear tires. If you’re lifting the rear, place them in front of the front tires.
Loosen Lug Nuts
Loosen lug nuts before lifting the car, but don’t remove them entirely. This ensures the wheel won’t rotate when suspended. Use a lug nut wrench or impact wrench for loosening. Tighten lug nuts once the car is back on the ground.
Inspect Brake Rotors
Inspect brake rotors when the wheel is off. Check for any signs of damage or uneven wear. To ensure safety, look for cracks, grooves, or rust buildup. Replace the brake rotors if any issues are found.
Potential Damage When Car Falls Off Jack
Damage to the control arm
A car falling off the jack can cause damage to the control arm, a vital component of the suspension system. If damaged, it can affect the steering and handling of your car, potentially leading to unsafe driving conditions.
Wrong Wheel Alignment
If a car falls off the jack, the wheel alignment could be affected. Misalignment may result in uneven tire wear and poor handling.
Damage at the Front End
The front end of the car may suffer damage when it falls off the jack. This can also lead to dents and cracks on the body, or damage thebrake components.
Damaged shock absorbers
Lastly, the car’s shocks could be damaged too. Damaged shock absorbers can significantly decrease the drive comfort and control of the vehicle.
Also read: How Long Do Bilstein Shocks Last?
Table showing the consequence of damage to different components of your car
|Bent or broken
|Unsafe steering and handling
|Uneven tire wear, poor handling
|Dents, cracks, brake damage
|Cosmetic and functional issues
|Reduced drive comfort and control
What To Do After the Incident?
In case your car falls off the jack, you should:
- Contact your insurance provider immediately
- Check if your policy covers such incidents
- File a claim as needed and call a tow truck
Having a comprehensive coverage may help you cover damages caused by mishaps like a car falling off a jack.
Before driving your car after it has fallen off a jack, it is essential to ensure that it is safe to do so. You may need to call a tow truck to transport your car to a repair shop.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I safely lift my car after it has fallen off the jack?
- Ensure the vehicle is on level ground.
- Use a low-profile floor jack to get underneath the car.
- Position the jack at the appropriate lifting point.
What are the potential damages when a car falls off the jack?
- Damage to the vehicle’s frame or bodywork
- Damage to suspension or undercarriage components
- Damage to components like the exhaust system or oil pan
How can I prevent my car from falling off the jack in the future
- Use a sturdy, vehicle-specific jack
- Ensure the jack and jack stands are rated for your car’s weight
- Chock wheels to prevent movement
What safety measures should I take while using a jack?
- Never work under a car supported only by a jack
- Use jack stands rated for your car’s weight
- Ensure even weight distribution during lifting
What are the best types of jack stands for added security?
- Ratchet-style jack stands
- Pin-type jack stands
- Tripod stands with a locking mechanism
|Easy-to-use, adjustable height
|May have less weight capacity
|High weight capacity, very stable
|Less convenient height adjustment
|Tripod with locking
|Provides added stability and security
|Bulkier, may be less portable
Understanding the correct procedures for using car jacks and the importance of proper jack selection is crucial for ensuring the safety of both your vehicle and yourself.
Taking necessary precautions, such as using appropriate jack lift points, stabilizing the car with jack stands, and performing regular maintenance, can prevent potential damages and accidents.
With these guidelines in mind, car owners can confidently handle car jack incidents and prioritize safety on the road.