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How to jack up a car and change a tire

How to jack up a car and change a tire

What is the best way to jack up your car to change a tire? The jack supplied with your vehicle is designed by the manufacturer for raising the vehicle to change a tire or placing jack stands under the frame. Don’t even think about using it for anything else! You could receive serious injuries working under the vehicle or starting the engine while using this jack as the only means of support.

Always observe the following precautions when jacking up a vehicle:

  1. Place the vehicle on level ground and block the wheels.
  2. Put the transaxle/transmission in Park (automatic) or Neutral (manual).
  3. If you’re changing a tire, break the lug nuts loose before you raise the vehicle. It’s dangerous to try to break them loose after the wheel is off the ground.
  4. Locate a good lifting point. On some vehicles, you’ll find a notch in the longitudinal seam that protrudes downward below the rocker panel; on others, you’ll find lifting pads on the underside of the vehicle, right behind the front wheel housings and immediately in front of the rear wheel housings. If you can’t locate the designated jacking areas on your vehicle, refer to your owner’s manual.
  5. Get the jack out of the trunk (If you can’t find the jack, refer to your owner’s manual). Remove the spare tire too.

  6. Place the jack in position under the side of the vehicle and adjust the jack height until it fits between the notches in the vertical rocker panel flange - or touches the lifting pad - nearest the wheel to be changed.

  7. Operate the jack with a slow, smooth motion until the wheel is off the ground. Don’t allow anyone to remain in the vehicle while it’s off the ground.

  8. Remove the lug nuts, pull off the wheel, install the spare and thread the lug nuts back on with the beveled sides facing in. Tighten them snugly, but wait until the vehicle is lowered to tighten them completely.

  9. Lower the vehicle and remove the jack. If you changed a tire, don’t forget to tighten the lug nuts. If possible, tighten them to the specified torque (see your owner’s manual), in a criss-cross pattern. If you don’t know the torque specification, tighten the lug nuts securely and have them checked by a service station as soon as you get to the next town.

  10. If your vehicle is equipped with a temporary spare tire, remember that it’s intended only for temporary use until the regular tire can be repaired. Do not exceed 50 mph while using the temporary spare.