When you need to perform maintenance on your car, there'll be times you'll need to get underneath it. Working on the exhaust system or changing your oil, for instance, will require you to be underneath your car. When it comes to lifting your car, you can use a trolley, or floor jack. Used properly, a trolley jack is a great device when you need a lift.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Park the car on an even surface. A paved driveway or garage floor is best. A trolley jack will not work well when used on uneven ground, or on a grassy or gravel surface.
Set the parking brake. Place wooden blocks behind the wheels that remain on the ground. Slide the trolley jack under the car at a location where it is safe to lift the vehicle (usually on the frame rails, the differential or rear end housing).
Turn the handle and begin to pump. Raise the car to the desired height. Place jack stands under the front or real axle (depending on what end of the car you are jacking up).
Lower the car by slowly turning the handle again to release pressure. Bring the car down slowly on the jack stands. Make sure the jack stands are set in the correct position. Remove the trolley jack.
Repeat for each side if lifting one side at a time. Lean your body weight on the raised part of the car once it has been lowered onto the jack stands to ensure it is safe before getting underneath the car.
Tips and warnings
- Use a trolley jack designed to support the weight of your vehicle. Trolley jacks are not "one size fits all."
- Long-handled trolley jacks allow for more leverage and may be more effective when lifting vehicles that are lower to the ground, as a short handle will only allow for smaller strokes when lifting.
- Consult the owner's manual for your vehicle prior to using a trolley jack.
- Do not use the oil pan or areas of the car unsupported by the frame as a lift point when using a trolley jack.
- Do not work underneath a car supported by a trolley jack alone. Always use jack stands.