If you own a car, it’s crucial to know how to perform basic maintenance tasks, such as checking the tire pressure, replacing the air filter, and changing the oil. However, in order to change your car’s oil, you need to jack it up first to access the oil pan. Yet, jacking up a car can be dangerous if you don’t know how to do it properly. Therefore, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the car’s underside and learn how to jack up a car safely. In this detailed article about how to jack up a car to change oil, we will guide you through the process of jacking up a car to change its oil, so you can keep your vehicle running smoothly without risking your safety.
Step-by-Step Guide About How To Jack Up A Car To Change Oil
Step 1: Preparation
Before you begin jacking up your car to change the oil, it’s crucial to prepare for the task properly. This involves having the necessary tools and equipment ready, as well as taking the appropriate safety precautions to prevent any accidents or injuries.
To jack up your car, you will need a hydraulic jack, jack stands, a wheel chock, and a socket wrench to remove the drain plug. Make sure you have all the required tools and equipment before you start working on your car.
However, jacking up a car can be hazardous if you don’t follow proper safety precautions. Therefore, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety before you begin. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Only jack up your car on a flat and level surface. This will prevent the car from rolling or shifting while you work on it.
- Use the wheel chock to secure the tires that remain on the ground. This will prevent the car from rolling and keep it stable.
- Always use the recommended jacking points, as specified in your car’s owner’s manual, to place the jack stands. Using an incorrect jacking point can damage your car or cause it to fall.
- Before you start working under the car, gently shake it to make sure it’s stable on the jack stands. If it’s not stable, adjust the stands or lower the car and start over.
- Never work under the car while it’s only supported by the jack. Always use jack stands to support the car while you’re working underneath it.
Step 2: Finding the Right Jacking Points
When it comes to jacking up your car, you need to be careful to identify the correct jacking points. Different cars have different jacking points, and using the wrong point can damage your vehicle or cause an accident. Here are some tips for finding the right jacking points for your car:
Different types of cars and their jacking points:
Cars have different jacking points depending on their make and model. Some cars have specifically designed jacking points, while others have reinforced areas that can be used as jacking points. To find information about your car’s jacking points, consult the owner’s manual or search online.
Tips for locating the right jacking points:
Here are some useful tips for identifying the correct jacking points for your car:
- Look for markings: Some cars have markings on the underside that indicate the jacking points. Check for arrows, triangles, or other symbols that indicate the right spot.
- Check the owner’s manual: Your car’s owner’s manual should provide information on the recommended jacking points for your specific make and model.
- Use a lift point guide: There are many websites that offer lift point guides with detailed information on jacking points for various car models. These guides can be particularly helpful if you’re working on a car that you’re not familiar with.
Step 3: Jacking Up the Car
Once you’ve identified the correct jacking points, the next step is to safely jack up your car. Here are some important tips to follow to ensure that you do so safely:
How to safely position the jack:
To start, ensure that the ground is level and solid before positioning the jack. Position the jack directly beneath the jacking point and ensure that it is aligned properly. Make sure that the jack is firmly in place and won’t shift as you begin to lift the car.
Tips for raising the car:
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when raising your car with the jack:
- Raise the car slowly and evenly: Begin to lift the car slowly and ensure that it is lifting evenly. If one side is lifting faster than the other, it could cause the car to become unstable.
- Check for stability: Once the car is raised to the desired height, double-check that it is stable and not wobbling. Gently push the car to test its stability. If it’s not stable, lower it back down and reposition the jack.
- Use jack stands: For additional safety, consider using jack stands to support the car while you work. Place the jack stands beneath the reinforced areas near the jacking points and make sure they are secure before beginning any work underneath the car.
Step 4: Placing Jack Stands
Once you’ve safely jacked up your car, it’s important to place jack stands in the right position to provide additional support. Here are some key things to consider:
The importance of using jack stands:
Jack stands are an essential safety measure when working underneath a car. They provide additional support to ensure that the car won’t fall and cause injury or damage. Relying on just a jack alone can be dangerous, as it can slip or fail.
Proper placement of jack stands:
The proper placement of jack stands is crucial. It’s important to place them on solid, level ground and position them beneath reinforced areas of the car, such as the frame or reinforced pinch welds. Avoid placing them under parts of the car that are not designed to support its weight, such as suspension or brake lines.
To place the jack stands, carefully position them beneath the reinforced areas near the jacking points. Double-check that they are aligned properly and securely in place before lowering the car onto them.
By using jack stands, you can rest assured that your car is securely supported while you work on it. Always prioritize safety when working under a car and take the time to properly position and secure the jack stands.
Step 5: Changing the Oil
Now that you’ve safely jacked up your car and placed jack stands, it’s time to change the oil. Here are the steps involved:
Removing the oil pan plug:
Locate the oil pan plug beneath the car’s engine. Position a drain pan beneath the plug and use a socket wrench to loosen and remove the plug. Allow the old oil to drain completely into the pan.
Changing the oil filter:
Locate the oil filter on the engine and use an oil filter wrench to remove it. Dispose of the old filter properly and replace it with a new one. Be sure to lubricate the new filter’s gasket with some fresh oil before installing it.
Refilling the oil:
Once the old oil has drained completely, replace the oil pan plug and install a new oil filter. Remove the oil filler cap and slowly pour in the new oil, using a funnel if necessary. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil type and capacity.
After refilling the oil, start the engine and let it run for a few minutes. Check the oil level and add more as needed. Finally, inspect for any leaks around the oil pan plug and oil filter.
Step 6: Lowering the Car
After completing the oil change, it’s important to safely lower the car. Follow these steps to do it correctly:
Removing the jack stands:
Start by removing the jack stands carefully. Use a floor jack to slightly lift the car, then remove the stands one at a time. Be sure to check that the stands are in the right position to avoid damaging the car.
Lowering the car:
Use the floor jack to lower the car slowly and steadily to the ground. Take your time and make sure the car is lowered evenly to avoid any sudden movements or damage.
Checking for stability:
After lowering the car, check that it’s stable and level. Inspect for any signs of leaks or damage, and ensure the tires are properly inflated and in good condition.
Tips for Making the Process Easier
While changing your car’s oil can be a simple process, it’s crucial to avoid making mistakes that can lead to accidents or damage to your car. Here are a couple of common mistakes to steer clear of:
Using a ramp instead of a jack:
Although it may seem like using a ramp is an easy way to change your car’s oil, it’s not as safe as using a jack and jack stands. Ramps can be unstable and could collapse, potentially leading to serious injuries or damage to your car. It’s always recommended to use a jack and jack stands when changing your car’s oil.
Not investing in a portable oil drain pan:
Another mistake is not using a portable oil drain pan, which can result in oil spills and make the process of changing the oil more messy and time-consuming. A portable oil drain pan makes it easier and safer to drain the oil from your car without making a mess. It’s a smart investment that can save you time and hassle in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it possible to jack up a car without a jack stand?
No, it’s not safe to jack up a car without using jack stands. It’s essential to use jack stands to provide additional support and prevent the car from falling while you’re working underneath it.
Can I use bricks or blocks instead of jack stands?
A: It’s not recommended to use bricks or blocks as a substitute for jack stands. These materials are not stable and could potentially cause the car to collapse, leading to severe injuries or damage to your car.
How often should I change my car’s oil?
The frequency of oil changes can vary depending on your car’s make and model, as well as your driving habits. It’s generally recommended to change your car’s oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every six months, whichever comes first. However, it’s best to check your car’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Can I change my car’s oil myself if it’s still under warranty?
Yes, you can change your car’s oil yourself, even if it’s still under warranty. However, it’s crucial to keep records of your oil changes and use the recommended oil type and filter. Failure to do so may void your warranty. Always refer to your car’s owner’s manual for specific guidelines and warranty details.
Changing the oil in your car is a vital maintenance task that every car owner should know how to do. Regular oil changes can help to ensure that your car runs smoothly and prolong its life. However, it is important to follow the correct steps and safety procedures to avoid any accidents or damage to your car.
In summary about how to jack up a car to change oil, the main steps involved in jacking up your car to change the oil include preparing the necessary tools and equipment, finding the correct jacking points, safely raising the car, positioning the jack stands, changing the oil, and lowering the car. It is also important to avoid common mistakes such as using bricks or blocks instead of jack stands and investing in a portable oil drain pan.
By following these steps and safety measures, you can confidently and safely change your car’s oil, helping to ensure that your vehicle performs at its best. Remember to check your car owner’s manual for specific guidelines and recommended oil change intervals.