How to use a car jack safely
Every new passenger vehicle sold today comes with a jack for use when lifting is required, usually to change a tyre. We all know how a jack works but do we all know how to use a jack safely?
As an example, between 1989 and 1992 twenty Australians lost their lives while working on vehicles at home, from vehicles falling off jacks and ramps that were supposed to be supporting them. Why did this happen?
- Failed to apply the handbrake on the vehicle.
- Failed to leave the vehicle in gear.
- Not using chocks on the other wheels.
- Incorrectly used the jack.
- Used an inappropriate jack for the job.
- Attempted to jack the vehicle on sloping or uneven ground.
By ignoring these simple procedures, the unfortunate victims paid with their lives.
Always read the instructions that come with your jack and follow them to the letter.
- It’s a very bad idea to stand on the road while using your jack, however sometimes it is unavoidable. If you must do this, be sure to light your workspace as much as possible so on-coming traffic can see you. Flares and reflectors are best for this if available. Try to have someone standing beside you facing the traffic and directing it clear if needed.
- Always work on a flat, solid surface. Most jacks do not function safely on uneven or soft surfaces.
- Be sure no one remains in the vehicle. The smallest shake can unsettle the jack. Remove any heavy loads from inside the vehicle.
- Apply the handbrake and leave your vehicle in gear.
- Use chocks on the non-raised wheels.
- Never place any part of your body under the vehicle.
- Never raise the vehicle any higher than necessary.
- Always keep an eye on the jack to see if it’s holding steady. If it looks to be slipping or moving in any way, get away from the vehicle.