How to Use a Scissor Car Jack Safely

Written by jen davis
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Driving on a flat tire is a bad idea; it will damage the tire perhaps beyond repair and could damage the wheel and other parts. In the event that your car has a flat tire, you may need to use the scissor jack that came with your car to lift up the vehicle so that you can change the wheel. Scissor jacks can be dangerous if not used properly. You can make sure you are using your scissor jack safely by taking a few precautions.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Scissor jack
  • Jack handle
  • Blocks
  • Jack stands

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  1. 1

    Drive your car onto a flat, level, hard surface. Concrete parking pads are ideal for changing tires. If you attempt to use your scissor jack on a soft or uneven surface, such as dirt or gravel, the jack can sink or tilt and put you in danger.

  2. 2

    Put the car in park and engage the parking brake. Place blocks in front of and behind the tires that will not be lifted off of the ground.

  3. 3

    Locate a sturdy place on the underside of the car that you can use to jack up the car without causing damage. Most cars have special jack points that are described in the owner's manual, but if you cannot locate one of these, you should position the jack under the frame of the car.

  4. 4

    Place the scissor jack underneath the car. Attach the jack handle to the jack and start turning the handle until the jack lifts the car off the ground to the desired height. Place jack stands underneath car to provide additional support and change out your tire.

  5. 5

    Remove jack stands from underneath car, then gently turn jack handle to lower scissor jack. Never attempt to drive car off the scissor jack or knock the car off the scissor jack instead of lowering it.

Tips and warnings

  • Never allow any part of your body to go underneath the car. If it falls off the jack, you could be crushed. Cars periodically do fall off jacks and can cause serious injury or death. Malfunctioning or improperly used jacks can also cause injury, death or damage to your vehicle.

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