According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, “Incidents involving jacks or hoists accounted for about 10,000 injuries seen in emergency departments per year and frequently occurred while repairing vehicles or changing tires.”
Following are common sense guidelines suggested by the automotive division of Associated Content, an online magazine that connects content to consumers:
“While it’s true that every American automobile comes with a car jack, what you think you get may differ considerably from what you might expect. Regardless of what equipment your car, truck, or SUV has, there is one safe bet: when you need to use your car jack, you must use it verywisely.
- However, not every car jack is created equal nor will every jack do the job you need it to do. Yet, more importantly, even when you use your car jack properly, following all the warnings and directions laid out in the owner manual, you can still get hurt as you work around your car, truck, or SUV with the jack in use.
- Locate your car jack. This is often in the trunk or storage compartment of your vehicle. If you cannot seem to find it, consult your owner manual.
- Once you have your car jack, follow the directions for its use to the letter. Also use your common sense. It is not smart to jack a car up just inches from the right-most lane of a superhighway, along a dark road, or on anything less than a sturdy, level ground surface.
- Also remove anyone and any great weight from the vehicle before you attempt to use your jack. Even a small child can rock the vehicle enough to make a car jack fall.
- If you absolutely must work by a dark roadside, you need to illuminate the area as much as possible. Road flares are good for alerting other motorists that something is going on so they slow down as they pass you, but you also need lighting for yourself. A rechargeable flashlight can be great for that. I keep a million-candle rechargeable work light in my car trunk for just these kinds of situations.
- But there really is no good way to compensate for a less than level road surface. Avoid situations where you must use your car jack in ice, snow, mud, or standing water. The chance of the jack – and the vehicle – slipping can rise exponentially if you do.”