You might not always have ideal conditions to work with, such as a flat and empty road. So, that begs the question,
Can You Jack Your Car Up On A Slope?
The short answer is, yes. You can jack up your car on a slope, however, it is one of those things that should be done only when it’s absolutely unavoidable. Always take all possible precautionary measures whilst jacking up your car on a steep surface, since even the slightest negligence on your part can prove to be fatal and may even cause damage to the drivetrain of the vehicle in the longer run.
Is it safe to jack up car on a slope?
It definitely isn’t the safest thing to do, however, you can reduce the probability of any mishap by adhering to safety precautions such as making sure your car is parked at the right angles to the slope and isn’t capable of moving back and forth.
Also, make sure that the jack and jack stands are stable and in a perfect position to take the weight of the car easily.
Things to keep in mind before jacking up on a slope
The following things should be kept in mind before jacking up a car on a steep surface:
- Keep Away from Traffic:
Always avoid jacking up your car in the middle of a freeway or highway. Keep away from oncoming traffic at all times and park your car somewhere safe and isolated.
- Apply Brakes:
Make sure that you’ve applied the handbrake so that there is no chance of the car moving from its place. Furthermore, put the car in ‘Park’ mode or first gear in case of a manual transmission.
- Read the Manual:
Read the manuals for the car and the lifting gear to familiarize yourself with the advised jack points. Note the capacity limits for the jack and jack stands and use accordingly.
- Assemble Lifting Equipment:
Depending upon the number of flat tires, you will have to lift either the front or back end and, in some cases, even the whole car.
Thus, you’ll have to assemble the equipment according to the situation. If only one end of the car needs to be lifted, you require two jack stands. To lift the entire car, four jack stands are usually recommended.
- Chock the Wheels:
Chock the wheels opposite to the point where you intend to jack up the car. Place wheel chocks (made of plastic, wood, metal, or rubber) in front of and behind each wheel to avoid accidental slipping of the car.
What type of jack should be used on a slope?
Ideally, car jacks should not be used on a sloped surface at all since they are not designed to be used that way. However, if it is absolutely necessary, you should consider using a jack that has no wheels and a larger surface area. This would increase the stability of the jack and prevent it from moving along the slope.
Scissor and wide base bottle jacks could be used for this purpose as they don’t have wheels.
Do I need axle stands while jacking up a car?
Well, it depends.
If you just want to lift the car to replace a flat tire, and do not plan to go underneath the body of the car then it doesn’t make much of a difference to use axle stands, from a safety perspective.
However, if you do intend to work underneath the car, then axle stands are necessary. You must never rely solely on the car jack since there is always a chance of the car falling on top of you.
Also, axle stands are much sturdier than jacks and less susceptible to shifting their position under stress, provided they are set up correctly.
Which points are suitable to jack up the vehicle?
Typically, cars have 4 jacking points, which are located under the car’s rocker panels.
Rocker panels are strong, compact pieces of metal situated along the side of the car, separating the front of the car from the back.
The jacking points for a car are present just in front of the rear wheels and behind the front wheels. The same points are also present in lifted trucks which helps tremendously in jacking them up.
Can ramps be used on a slope?
Yes, car ramps can be used on a sloped or steep surface. In fact, they are much more preferable to the alternative – jack and axle stand. Ramps are also safer and easier to use than jacks and axle stands since you don’t have to worry about the jacking points of the vehicle.
Before using a ramp, just make sure the ramp isn’t too steep for your vehicle(maximum allowable slope for a ramp is 30% or 16.5°) and that the weight capacity of the ramp is in accordance with the weight of your vehicle.
Tips for using a car jack properly
- Check the car and jack manuals for the correct placement of the jack underneath the vehicle.
- Chock the wheels opposite to the edge from where you are about to lift. Now, that the wheels are chocked, you’re free to lift the vehicle.
- Once the car is lifted off the ground, place the jack stands close to the jack and let the car rest on top of them.
- Perform the Shake test. Give the car a little shake to make sure it is stable. If the car doesn’t move, you’re all set to go!
- After you’ve finished working, lift the vehicle slightly using the jack and take out the jack stands from below.
- Finally, lower your car slowly onto the ground.
Dangers of using a car jack
Car jacks can be extremely dangerous, if not handled meticulously. Car jacks are responsible for almost 160 serious injuries annually and have resulted in the death of at least 46 people in the last decade.
An incorrectly placed car jack can not only cause the car to accidentally roll over but also collapse on top of you and crush you to death.
For this reason, extreme caution should be observed while jacking up a vehicle.
In a nutshell, avoid jacking up your car on any steep surface. If you must, go for ramps instead of the traditional car jack and stands.
Car jacks might seem innocuous at first, but do not ever underestimate the danger that comes along. It’s always better to be safe than sorry while dealing with vehicles weighing over a ton.
Read the manuals. This cannot be emphasized enough. Acquaint yourself with all the necessary knowledge and safety protocols mentioned in the article above to avoid any sort of catastrophe. Remember, safety always comes first. If it doesn’t feel safe, the odds are, it probably isn’t!