“Can you leave your car on a jack?” This question has always been in the mind of many searchers and internet users as they seek to satisfy their curiosities, and for their personal precautionary measures too.
Well, the answer is “Yes”, you can leave your car on a jack. But here is what you must know; All jacks are not the same.
They are designed differently to withstand varying degrees of pressure. What this means is that, while a certain jack can hold your car high up, other types cannot for that exact period of time.
“Leaving a car on jack” and not having issues afterward is dependent on what you’re doing.
If you are not very careful, this will lead to wheel misalignment. However, if you are leaving your vehicle under the same chassis and frame, and on four stands having the same height, then you are good.
A lopsided jack will leave you with a car door not properly closing owing to a slightly bent chassis. Cars often get faulty when being twisted by having just one part of it high up in the air.
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You may be curious to ask; “how long can you leave your car on a jack?”
Well, as mentioned earlier, all jacks are not the same. Their different designs enable them to function differently.
You can leave your car on a jack for 3 hours, 2 hours, or 40 minutes. It all depends on the types of jack involved.
For instance, the BIG RED 343202 Torin Steel Jack can withstand the weight and pressure of a car for as long as five days due to its high grade, and for the fact that it is forged using a welded frame design and steel that makes it very durable.
Another factor that makes it have excellent contact with whatever weight it gets saddled with, is its large saddled surface. It is one of the few jacks that have met the ASME safety standard.
While the aforementioned jack can stand for up to five days and longer with a car on it, a bottle jack that uses hydraulics force cannot be a match for this.
Although, the fact that the bottle jack is small is an advantage for easy mobility. But then, this in itself is a pointer that it is not quite stable and should only be employed in a case of emergency.
An important thing to know is, regardless of a jack’s strength to hold a car for long, it is very paramount to consider a few things before leaving your car on a jack.
And please, do not mistake a jack for a jack stand. Jacks are designed for lowering and raising, not for holding.
On the other hand, a jack stand is just a piece of solid metal designed with features that allow it to hold.
Things to consider/check before leaving your car on a jack
- Pay mind to weight
- The point of lifting should be a flat surface
- Support other tires with wedge
- Check for contact between jack and load
- Support the load
Pay mind to weight
The improper use of jacks has in time past led to serious accidents and crushing.
This is why it is pivotal to understand the modus operandi of the type of whatever jack you are using.
You should have been abreast of the jack’s rated capacity and the weight of the vehicle you are using it for, then make a comparison to see if it is safe to use the jack for the car.
Also, make sure that your jack is always lubricated. It is very dangerous to use any jack that is leaking fluid.
Decent handling of a jack is also pivotal, as throwing or dropping it may lead to distortion or cracking of the metal which will result in the car’s failure under whatever load it is carrying.
The point of lifting should be a flat surface
For a jack to function well, it must have a good ground balance. And for any jack to have a good ground balance, the surface on which it is placed must be flat so as to create excellent enablement for the base of the jack.
Lift must never be sideways, but straight up and down.
If you are ever faced with an impromptu car lifting, and it happens to be normal ground, make sure to place a block with a large surface area just right under the base of your jack.
This will stop it from sinking into the ground. This precautionary measure also eradicates the possibility of tipping or shifting of the jack when weight is applied.
How about an instance where the jack will not lift high enough? What do you do? Just place an added block under the jack.
But know that it is not advisable to put any height extender between the load(car) and the jack. All height extenders must be underneath the jack.
Support other tires with wedge
Make sure the equipment is stabilized. Cars are often self-propelled on uneven terrain. Even on flat surfaces; although this is rare.
But then, ensure that the transmission is placed in gear or park position after which you put either wooden or iron wedge at both bases of each tire that is having direct contact with the ground.
Ensure that the car is not lifted higher than you necessarily should. Always do well to inspect the position of the car when it has started to pull up the weight.
Check for the contact between jack and load
If you discover a partial contact with the load(car) gently lower the jack, then reset and start over again, but this time, with an elevated level of inspection.
Support the load
Support the jacked load using stands or blocks. Do not allow the jacked load(car) to get its support from just the jack alone.
All jack types, regardless of quality, are prone to failure. As such, jacks can tip and fail, this will, in turn, cause the car to unexpectedly fall and cause damages.
You are advised to put highly rigid stands or blocks underneath the car immediately after it has been raised up high.
Dissolve the thought of using cement blocks as they have a high susceptibility to shattering when faced with the pressure that comes from the carload.
Below are some suitable jacks that your car can stand on
LiftMaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Jack
The Life Master 3 Ton Heavy Duty Jack is one of the few highly durable and weight-withstanding jacks you can get out there.
It weighs 33kg and is made of quality alloy steel. It has a load capacity of up to 3 tons. Hold on, 1 US ton = 907.185kilograms, now multiply this by 3 and see the magic.
It has a 20″ high lift that is great and an ideal choice for elevated chassis and can lift big SUVs.
Apart from its load capacity that makes it an excellent choice, it has other great features that make it user and vehicle-friendly.
To mention a few, it has a handle; a two-piece knurled one that promotes grip extent. It is also equipped with a foam bumper that helps in the prevention of possible damage to your car.
Have you ever been faced with a strength-draining jack pump system that got you exhausted with little result?
Well, that hurdle has been tackled here as the Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Jack is designed with a dual pump system that saves you more pump time and effort.
Quality products are always in high demand. People will always want to get value for their money. Well, the fact that this Life Master jack is a best seller spells one thing; high demand.
For a jack to withstand the weight of a car for long; to have a car stand on it without having to go flaccid, then such a jack must be made of durable material.
The manufacturers of the ExtremePower jack know this. It is for this reason the jack is an all-steel construction made.
This makes it very sturdy. And as such, safety is guaranteed during use.
There are jacks that function well at their early stage of use and malfunction in the long run and fail during use. But here’s a thing with the Extreme Power jack; its cylinder unit is made of steel.
Know that steel is a metal alloy, it is usually a combination of carbon and iron. In this case, it is harder than pure elemental naturally occurring iron.
I am a chemist, so understand that I’m informing you from a place of good enough knowledge.
And also, this steel cylinder unit helps In lowering the oil pressure that is needed for raising the load(car). As such, there is a reduction of wear and tear, and an extension of the jack’s service life.
When a jack has an extended service life, it hardly ever fails during use.
And yes, the Extreme Power jack is so strong that it suffices for not just cars, but also for other machinery. It’s multifunctional and great.
It’s also best known for its glide pressure pump (high quality). This jack lifts heavy-duty machinery, industrial equipment used for construction and farm vehicles with so much ease.
The weight of cars definitely has nothing on it and it can withstand them for five days and more. Well, what do you expect from a jack with a 6-ton capacity?
Does jacking up a car mess up the alignment?
To be simple and plain, jacking up a car PROPERLY does not mess up the alignment.
One time, I got my car realigned, the next day I jacked it up from the passenger’s seat side so I could make reinstallation of my wastegate.
But the next day, when I got out and tried driving down the road, I noticed a kind of misalignment such that I had to turn the wheel of my steering a tad bit right to actually drive straight.
I got worried because the car was actually in perfect working condition before I jacked it up from the passenger’s side.
So I ended up with an erroneous notion that jacking up the car caused the misalignment, but that wasn’t it. Guess what? I jacked my car from the tie rod and that was bad. Never jack a car from the tie rod.
Let’s do some logical thinking here.
If the alignment of a car is so delicate and fragile that it can get affected just by being simply jacked up even while in its stationary position, then theoretically, the car should not even be driven over any pothole, inclined road, bumps, or over all types of uneven terrains but just a straight line as these are supposed to cause misalignment too.
Understand that alignments are done by the adjustment of the suspension components at the front.
So, jacking the car up would only affect the alignment negatively if something was let loose at the time of jacking it up.
And if by chance, you ever jack your car by using the front suspension, then there is a high probability that you will bend something. It is always advisable that you jack it up from the side.
It is safe to place your jack underneath the frame rail, almost in line with the middle part of your door, and never from the back or the front.
How high can you jack up a car?
You will require 20 to 30 inches between the bottom of your car and the floor/ground to be able to effectively and comfortably work underneath it.
This distance is good and enough for you to roll easily underneath your car even on a creeper.
This space is also enough to safely lower or raise an axle, a fuel tank, a transmission, or other larger parts of the car.
Have it in mind that not all lifts are equal. For example, the scissors-style and the Kwik lift can push up to a 20″ lift.
Although with a Kwik lift you get more ground clearance. This is because it lifts cars by the tires. And this type of lift is relatively safer.
However, if you are using a jack to jack up a car, not all parts of the car go up at the same time, it is for this reason that you need to pay attention to details so as not to end up causing misalignment on some of the car’s delicate components.
Because, unlike the quick lift, other typical jacks lift cars just at the cars’ designated jacking points. A 20-inch jack lift height is safe.
Although you can lift your car up to 25 inches as the jack permits. But 20 inches is relatively safer so you don’t get your car rolling over or tilting away from the jack.
Can you jack up a car one side at a time?
Of course, you can jack up a car on one side at a time. But then, if you must do so, there are precautionary measures you MUST strictly adhere to.
Without which, misalignment or casualty will come rolling after. You must know that the safest jack points are underneath the diff pumpkin or the cross members.
This is not to rule out credence on jacking your car at either the left or right side. Those sides are safe too.
If you must jack your car safely, you are advised to do so at the meeting point of steel structures.
These places are renowned for being tough and rigid, such as the chassis rail part and all up to the support part rear end.
While doing this, ensure that the part of the jack that bears the weight which is the jack’s head plate should be squarely sitting right between the load and the jacking point.
OK, let me make it easy to understand. Just get that any part of the car that you can damage or dent easily with a hammer is NOT fit to be a jacking point.