How to Jack Up a Car on an Uneven Surface

Getting a flat tire on an uneven surface is not impossible. If it happens, it would be inconvenient to replace or repair your tire when you need to jack it up. If you want to know how to jack up a car on an uneven surface, you’ve come to the right place.

Jacking up a car on a slope could be extremely dangerous because there is a high chance that the vehicle would fall. If the car falls on you, it could result in injuries, sometimes even death.

You’ve probably heard of accidents related to jacking up a car without taking extra precautions. It is a worldwide phenomenon. I aim to provide you with tips on safely jacking up your car, mainly on a slope. I will also cover how to do it on grass and asphalt.

Jump right in and enjoy learning the tips on properly jacking up your car.

Jacking Up a Car on a Slight Incline

Whoever you ask, even an expert mechanic, will advise you not to do it. It is a dangerous job. Even online resources would tell you not to do it because it can lead to an accident that would either cause injury or cost your life. However, if you have no other choice, see if the tips below would help.

Step 1: Make sure that the slope is only 3 degrees or less. Suppose the incline is more than this – don’t risk your life doing it. Don’t be part of statistics. 

Step 2: Read the car and the jack manuals. Find the jacking points of your vehicle using your car’s manual. Jacks also come with manuals that give you instructions on how to use them properly. Putting the jack at the wrong points could potentially lead to accidents.

Step 3: Put your car on first gear (if you have a manual vehicle). Putting your vehicle on first gear ensures that the vehicle will not roll when you jak it up or if it slips from the jack.

Step 4: Engage the hand or emergency break of your car. This step has the same purpose as putting the vehicle on first gear. It prevents the car from rolling when you jack it up.

Step 5: Install your wheel chokes on all wheels. Wheel chokes are important to prevent the vehicle from rolling. It is an added safety to avoid accidents.

Step 6: Install the jacks. Position the jacks on the car’s jack points, ensure they are in the proper position, and start jacking up the vehicle.

Step 7: Install the axle stand if you need to get under the car. Going under the car jacked up on an inclined surface is an obvious danger. So, avoid doing it as much as possible. If you are replacing your tires, there is no need to do it. You may not need to use an axle stand. 

When you sum up your job, make sure that you continue to observe safety procedures. Do not remove the wheel chokes, disengage the emergency brake, or put your car on neutral until you are sure everything is okay.

Using Car Ramps on Slope

What are car ramps? They are simple devices that allow you to raise your car from the ground to check the parts underneath the vehicle. Auto shops and repair shops widely use car ramps when doing car maintenance. It is an alternative to using jacks or jack stands.

Using car ramps to lift your vehicle could be a safer alternative to using jack stands. It is ideal if you need to work on something underneath the car – using ramps is easy and convenient. However, it may not be the best method if you are changing tires. 

Here is a good article comparing car ramps and jack stands.

If you use ramps on a slope, ensure that the incline is not very steep. Standard building ramps can still work on slopes that are around 3 or 4 degrees. If the slope is greater than this angle, don’t take the risk. 

To begin the process, check the position of the vehicle. If the car faces up the slope and needs to raise the front, it can be hazardous. Ensure to have an assistant to help you position the wheel chokes as soon as the front wheels settle on the ramps.

You need to slide the ramps into the front tires (make sure they touch the tire rubber and center the tire path). Then, slowly move the vehicle straight forward on the ramps. 

As soon as both the front wheels are on the ramp, engage the emergency brake or the vehicle’s handbrake. Instruct the person assisting you to put the tire chokes on the rear wheels first to avoid the car from moving down. 

After installing the wheel chokes, put your vehicle on the first gear (if you have a manual car) for an added safety, and turn off the engine.

If you want to add extra safety, see if you could pile up concrete blocks under the car to catch the vehicle if it slips off the ramp. Better be safe than suffer from injuries. These concrete blocks would keep you safe as it protects you from the possible impact of the car on you if it falls.

Jacking Up a Car on Grass

First off, you must realize that jacking up a car on grass could be extremely unsafe. It sounds easy, but it is not. 

Why is it not safe? It is because the soil could be soft and unstable and could cause imbalance, resulting in your vehicle slipping off the jack.

If the grass is wet and the soil is considerably soft, you will need to wait until the ground dries up. It is safer to jack up on the dry and grassy ground.

If you don’t have an option but to jack up your vehicle on grass, ensure that you follow the precautions and tips below.

  • Use a wood board or thick plywood under the jack to be more stable on the ground as you raise your car.
  • Make sure that you prepare wheel chokes to prevent your vehicle from moving.
  • Make sure that you put your vehicle on first gear and engage the emergency brake before jacking up the car.
  • Avoid working under the car as much as possible. If the job requires you to go under the vehicle, ensure that you install an axle stand to hold the vehicle’s weight. You can use pile concrete blocks under the car as your added protection in case it slips off.
  • If the job requires you to go under the car, a tarp could save you from getting all the dirt on the ground.
  • Do not work alone. Get someone to assist you with the job to ensure that another person oversees safety while you work.

Jacking up on grass could be dangerous, but you can do it if you take extra care. Self-assessment of the situation is very critical. 

More importantly, get someone to assist you with the job to add more safety. I could repeat that accidental deaths from jacking up a car are increasing year after year, and it is happening worldwide.

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Jacking Up a Car on Asphalt

Jacking up a car on your asphalt driveway could be challenging. The asphalt softens at high temperatures. Even if the temperature is not very high, the asphalt is too strong to hold weight. The jack stand could sink in the asphalt, damaging your driveway.

If that is so, how can you safely jack up your car on asphalt without damaging your driveway?

The simple trick that most people use is to put a wood board or thick plywood under the jack stand. This piece of wood should be strong enough to hold the pressure as the weight of the car transfers to the jack stand.

This technique will allow you to avoid punching a hole in your driveway while jacking up your vehicle.

It is always a must to observe standard safety procedures when jacking up your car, like using wheel chokes to keep the vehicle in place, putting your vehicle on first gear, engaging the emergency brake, and installing an axle stand.

As I pointed out in the earlier section, it is safer to work with a partner. Working alone on your driveway is not ideal as no one can assist you in ensuring that you follow all safety procedures.

Conclusion

It is challenging to jack up your vehicle on an uneven surface, like slope, grass, and asphalt. However, with proper techniques and safety procedures, it is possible. 

The essential procedures you should not miss are: putting the jack stand on the correct jack points of the vehicle, ensuring that the jack stand is stably sitting on the ground, putting the car on first gear, engaging the emergency brake, using wheel chokes, and having a partner.

It is also crucial that you carefully assess the situation. If you doubt the possibility of being able to do it, don’t do it.