How should I jack up my car?

rubicon52rubicon52 Member Posts: 191
I want to rotate the tires myself. The car has 4 jacking points along the edge of the frame (where the scissors jack is supposed to attach) and 2 jacking points on the front and back cross members (I guess for a floor jack). Should I use the scissors jack to lift one or both wheels on one side and then support with jack stands. Will the scissors jack lift both wheels off the ground on one side and I don't need the jack stands? Should I use the jack points on the cross members to lift the car and then put the jack stands along the edge of the frame? I hope my question is clear. Thanks.


  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    it's basically a grab-all. BUT as a one-man-band, you have to put safety first. with your equipment, a scissors jack, you don't want to get into a situation where a side pressure might warp the jack over (been there, got the T-shirt, fortunately didn't have to use it to stop any bleeding as I could see it was time to get outta Dodge.)

    without doubt, break the lug nuts loose first... set the parking brake, jack the front up first and set a jackstand... jack the back up next on the same side and set the other jackstand... then spin the lugs free and switch the tires. double-check the manual, if you can set the jackstands under the shock or strut ends "legally" it makes it all much easier by using the near frame points for the scissors jack.

    don't get "underneath" at any point when you do this.

    you might assume I don't really plan to bet my life on a scissors jack any more. right. I saw mine warp severely in 1971 when I leaned on the fender. almost dumped the car.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    forget the scissor jack. Go to the auto parts store, buy a good quality floor jack, not one of those compact floor jacks, but one of the full size models. They are about 3' long without the handle. Then buy an adapter that takes the place of the saddle on that jack. This adapter resembles the arms of a lift. They are adjustable from appr. 2' to 4' and have 4'x4' rubber pads where they contact the vehicle. You can safely lift one side of the car at a time with this setup. After each side is off the ground, slide a jack stand under each jacking point on that side and move on to the other side and repeat. In less than five minutes you have the entire car off the ground and safely supported for any type work needed.
  • alternatoralternator IndianaMember Posts: 629
    do you have a web site in mind where I could see the saddle adapter you mention?
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    I lift my SVT Contour by the front frame rail built into the uni-body. I place the jace about 1/3 from the front of the car and it lifts botht he front and back wheels.

    This is of course after I've loosened the lug nuts, set the brake and what not.

    If you are rotating front to back, this can't be beat. Seems safe enough to me.

  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    You can buy a couple of "off shore" branded hydraulic floor jacks for about 50+ bucks each from Harbor Freight Tools. Using both at once with jack stands placed for safety (or not!) will give you rapid access to both wheels on one side at a time. I did it that way for many years, and now have one of those jacks remaining and a Craftsman (also Chinese) floor jack. It's easy, and not real expensive to set yourself up this way. Be very careful.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    alternator; has one. That is the only site I can think of right now, but I know there are many others. The one at Northern Tools is on the cheap side, but it will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

    tboner; I have tried that before, but the unibody member always seemed to start bending just before the tires came off the ground. I hate trying to jack up a unibody vehicle, no really good solid place to put a jack.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    to distribute the wieght a bit more. No bending!
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Member Posts: 191
    After talking to some guys at work, I bought a floor jack. I put the floor jack under the center of the front cross member (a jacking point in my owners manual) and lift the front of the car off the ground. I then put a jack stand under one of the front, side jacking points (outside edge of the frame) and lower the floor jack. Now the front wheel is off the ground. I then use the scissors jack at the rear, side jacking point on the same side which raises the rear wheel off the ground. I put a jack stand next to the scissors jack in case the scissors jack slips. I think this is safe enough because I'm not really getting under the car - just rotating the tires front to back. There is probably an easier way of doing this. A guy at work just puts the jack stand under a sturdy looking structural member. But, I'm paranoid about bending something so I try to use only the 6 jacking points shown in the owners manual. Thanks for your advice.
  • alternatoralternator IndianaMember Posts: 629
    I tried the on-line catalogs of Northern Tool, J.C.Whitney, and Auto Parts Giant --- cannot find any listing for a jack saddle adapter such as you mentioned several postings ago.

    Can anyone tell me where I can see a picture of such a device? Thanks.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I still don't like scissors jacks, I much prefer hydraulic bottle jacks myself. floor jacks are great, I just haven't invested in one.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I don't care for using scissor jacks, either. I used bottle jacks only, for many years, and when I found the "off shore" floor jacks going for reasonable money, I got into them as well. Sturdy jack stands placed in proper places are a major key to safety-- if you get under the car at all. I get some semblance of reassurance by telling another person that I am going to be working under a car and asking them to come check on me.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    you enhance safety several ways when you get somebody to check on you. first, you don't get in the headlines (police were called after neighbors started complaining about an unusual odor from the garage...) and second, there's somebody else to say, "what is that crappy old orange jack doing here, I thought you were going to throw it out after it bent last month."

    both are good things.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I'll see if I can locate any, then I'll give you the addresses.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    You can get variations of these things at many auto parts stores. Chinese floor jacks are practically ubiquitous. One good source is at:
    Use the word JACK for your search in the site.
    Sears sells some prettier ones, at higher cost of course!
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I did a search for "cross beam adapters" and these sites came up. I checked them out and the adapters are there, maybe a little hard to find though for some sites.

    Hope this helps.
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