When needing to perform work under your vehicle without access to an automotive lift, the use of a jack and jack stands is an alternative and most common for at home repairs.

Check your car jack

Make sure the jack is fully functional (All wheels free to roll, handle free to turn, and hydraulic pump raises and lowers without leaks) and will support the weight limit on the jack label. To double check this information you will need to consult your vehicle manual to find the weight of your vehicle. Usually this is only a problem when you are using a jack that did not come with your car.

\"3 ton hydraulic jack\"

Note: The most important thing to remember is safety first.

Always put something, like a block of wood or a brick, behind the wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling when jacking it up. Also, never crawl under a vehicle only supported by a jack. Make sure jack stands are used and the vehicle is on level ground.

Jacking up your car

Roll the jack into position for raising a vehicle and find a section of the frame to put the jack plate on. An acceptable portion of the frame is usually at least 4″ thick and a part of the main car frame. Hopefully this is easy to determine, it is slightly different on each car. Make sure not to jack up the car using a fiberglass or plastic portion of your vehicle.

\"Jacking up vehicle\"

Pump the handle of the jack up to the frame and slowly raise the vehicle.

Take the jack stand and place under the vehicle on a section of the frame to be supported.

\"Jack stand supporting vehicle\"

Lower the weight of the vehicle onto the stand so the vehicle is not supported by the jack. Most people doing home auto repairs don’t know this, but using a jack stand to support the weight of the car is a safer alternative than supporting your vehicle with the jack.

Once the vehicle is secure, you can maneuver around under the vehicle on a creeper to access whatever you need. If you don’t have a creeper, you can use something similar that you can lay on to slide under your car, even if it is something home made.

\"Padded creeper\"

Even though this illustration only shows one jack stand, you can repeat the procedure on all 4 corners of the vehicle if you need full access underneath.


Shop around when looking to purchase a jack, stands, and a creeper. I find that one of the best places to find deals is at the Sears website. In this case, all you need to do is enter a search of ‘floor jack’ and locate the a package that includes 3 ton jack with 2 jack stands and a padded creeper for $120.00 on sale. Usually, the regular total pricing on these items is $150.00, a modest savings of $30.