Losses and Lessons: Jacked up


WHAT WENT WRONG: The owner of a 1970 Pontiac GTO was at a car show and wanted to move it onto a display. He and two friends decided to lift the front of the car with a jack and push the display floor underneath. They didn’t want to damage the underbody, so they decided to place a rag between the jack and the car.

DAMAGE: Unfortunately, the rag slipped causing the jack to smash into the bumper and lower valance panel of the GTO.

LOSS: $4,637.78

LESSON: If you’re trying to get a car onto a display floor, try using ramps instead of a jack. If you insist on jacking up the car, make sure you have the proper equipment. Sometimes cutting corners will cause more of a problem than going to get the right equipment.

If you’re using a good jack point, there shouldn’t be any concerns about damaging the underbody. Never put anything in between the two points; this decreases the friction and can cause the car to slip.

The scissor jack in your trunk is fine for emergency wheel changes, but if you’re planning to do any significant work underneath your vehicle, use a hydraulic floor jack and two or more sturdy jack stands. A heavy-duty floor jack used in conjunction with jack stands will provide safe vehicle support. Never work under a vehicle supported by a jack alone.

BOTTOM LINE: Never jack up a vehicle from a point that’s not designed to handle the load. If you’re not sure about where to place a jack or jack stand, stop. You could easily damage your car, or worse, yourself.

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