See Related: Floor Jack Options For Lifted Pickups
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Disclaimer: it is hazardous to crawl under a raised car. People have been crushed to death when a vehicle slipped and fell on them. Read your owner’s manual and follow the safety procedures on all of your tools.
It takes a little longer to put a car on 4 jack stands, but in most cases, it can be done by a single person in about 15 minutes. Here are the steps:
- Park your car on level ground.
- Apply the parking brake.
- Use wheel chocks opposite of where you are working.
- Raise your car at the correct jacking points
- Install a jack stand
- Repeat the process, working your way around the car in a clockwise motion to raise each corner.
In about 15 minutes you can have your car fully supported by jack stands with all 4 wheels off the ground.
This is handy if you are rotating tires, or if you are doing a major axle repair, and want quick access. Some folks store their cars this way during extended restoration and repair projects.
When properly done, a car sitting on jack stands can be just as stable as when sitting on all four wheels.
See Related: Ladder for Reaching Over An Engine Bay
What You Need To Put Your Car On 4 Jack Stands
Your supply list is very simple. Any Harbor Freight, Lowes, Napa, or Autozone should have these required tools.
A Floor Jack
In order to raise your car, you will need a reliable, and quick-acting floor jack. I prefer a high-lift floor jack for working on SUVs and Trucks, but any quality jack will do. You can even perform this with a scissor jack, although they lack a lot of stability. You will use a floor jack to lift the car high enough to insert the Jack stand. If you are just lifting one end, you only need two jack stands.
Four Jack Stands
After a corner of your car is raised by the floor jack, a jack stand is what is used to hold it in place. A good Jack stand should be rated for 2 tons and should offer easy adjustability and a wide, stable base. Make sure they have a flat top that will hold your car securely.
You want to keep the car from moving while you jack it up. Wheel chocks are an important tool that goes underneath the wheels to keep them from moving while the car is being raised.
I never like to work on a raised car alone. At the very least, make sure the wife stops by every 15 minutes to hand you a beer and make sure you haven’t pinned yourself under your car. They can help assemble your supporting gear to help you get the job done faster.
How To Put A Car On 4 Jack Stands
This process is super-easy, and once you do it once, you will never forget the process.
Always use caution around a raised vehicle as they can slip and fall when you least expect it.
Here are detailed instructions for raising your entire car and supporting it with four jack stands.
Read the manual
The owner’s manual has important information on jacking a car. It will show where each jacking point is and may also contain specific information on how to protect the transmission when raising the car. Some cars may unique requirements with their suspension or underbody. Your Owner’s guide will show where the jacking point is located.
Park on Level Ground
You should make sure the car is positioned on flat ground and that the transmission is in park. If it is a manual transmission, the car should be left in first gear.
Parking your car on level ground is important. If you attempt to lift your car on 4 jack stands on unlevel ground, there is a higher risk of it slipping off the stands. Choosing a level spot to park your car on improves stability.
Also, avoid parking your car on soft ground. It is possible for one of the stands to sink into soft ground, causing the car to tilt or slide off of the supports. Solid ground such as concrete or asphalt is a better choice.
Chock the wheels
The next step is to properly immobilize your vehicle. Set the parking brake to keep the wheels from turning. Then, use chocks to further block the wheels and to ensure they do not slip while you are jacking the car. Some mechanics use large wood blocks as chocks.
Loosen Your Lug Nuts
If you will be removing the wheels, it is easier to loosen the lug nuts while the car is resting on the ground. The last thing you want is to be violently shaking the car to remove lug nuts after it has been raised. Unless you have an impact wrench, you need to loosen the lug nuts while the car is still on the ground.
Lift Your Car
To lift your car, you need to locate the solid jacking point near each wheel. On SUVs and trucks, you will likely be lifting the car by its frame, or by the rear axle (if it is a solid axle).
On smaller cars, you will need to attach the jack to specific jacking points. These jack points are a small pinch weld located near the wheels that are reinforced to bear the force applied by the car jacks. Often, there are arrows underneath the car that point to these areas.
Put your floor jack into lifting mode. On hydraulic jacks, this means turning the handle or shutting the release valve to start lifting the car.
Set The Jack Stands
As you raise each wheel, you will need to set the jack stand next to where your hydraulic jack is positioned. This can be challenging as the base of the jack stand is wider.
Simply place it as close as you can, and make sure that the stand is resting on a reinforced part of the car.
Depending on your stand, you may have to lift the car higher than normal in order to fit the jack stand underneath. Then, after the stand is placed, lower the car onto the stand.
Lift Each Wheel, Starting From Front To Back
The key point is to work on either the front end or the back end, first. You do not want to work diagonally across the car. Once you raise a wheel and have it secured, go raise the wheel on the other side.
Once either the front or the rear is raised and secured on jack stands, you can then work on the opposite end.
The ultimate goal is to maintain stability and lift your car safely at all times.
Shake Your Car
I’m throwing a little bit of humor in here, but you want to give the car a shake test once you have it sitting on all four jack stands. As you work on your vehicle, there will be plenty of moving and shaking going on. It makes sense to grab a corner of the car and push on it a couple of times to ensure it is properly secured.