A hydraulic jack is a great piece of kit for any motorist as a way to easily, safely, and quickly raise up your vehicle whether you want to change a tire, inspect the brakes or carry out a few different maintenance tasks. They are certainly impressive, so how do they work and how can you go about using one to lift your car?
How They Work
Essentially, a jack is designed to multiply a small force in order to enact a large force on a particular object – this is similar to mechanical advantage. For a hydraulic jack, the power comes from a pump that pushes a hydraulic fluid (usually oil so it also lubricates the jack components) through a one-way valve that enables fluid to enter the jack cylinder. This is fluid that cannot be compressed, so pressure builds when the pump is activated and can only escape by exerting force on the plate of the jack, which can then lift the vehicle when the fluid has enough pressure built up.
Preparing the Car
First, you need to make sure that the car is ready to be lifted. This will involve doing it in a safe place, blocking the wheels to prevent rolling (bricks, wheel chocks, and wooden wedges all work), making sure that you are on level ground, and making sure that you have both a hydraulic jack and a jack stand to secure the vehicle in place.
As such a heavy item, it is essential that you position the hydraulic jack in the right place to prevent damage – this is usually just by the wheel that you are changing and you can find the exact spot in your car owner’s manual. You can then use the pump to start safely lifting the car off the ground.
Adding & Removing Stands
At this point, you need to put an axle stand in place as the hydraulic jack cannot hold the car in place by itself. Raise the stands until they are just high enough to slot underneath and lock them in place before lowering the jack so that the vehicle is solely being held in place by the stands. You then need to do the reverse in order to lower the car back down.
Obviously, safety is priority when performing a task like this. In addition to the precautions outlined earlier, it is also a good idea to always have someone nearby particularly if you have not used a hydraulic jack before and to know exactly what you are doing before getting started.
Hydraulic jacks are a great piece of equipment for motorists to own as they can make it incredibly easy and safe to lift a car off the ground, so that you can then change a tyre or perform various maintenance tasks.