See Figures 1 and 2
The car should only be lifted with a proper jack. While the scissors jack in the trunk may be used, a floor (hydraulic) jack is recommended for its additional load-carrying capability. An added benefit is that the floor jack can be used to lift one end of the car; the scissors jack can only raise one corner at a time. When purchasing a floor jack, make sure its weight rating is at least equal to the TOTAL weight of your car. Since the Nova/Prizm cars are currently in the 2300 lb. range, a 1 1 / 2 ton capacity jack will suffice.
Correct placement of the jack is essential to the success of the project. Only lift the car at the designated jacking points on the body or frame. These reinforced locations will support the weight of the car during the elevation. Any other points, such as the floor pan, engine oil pan or suspension will not.
Before lifting the car, make sure the surrounding area is clear. If any wheels are to be removed, loosen the wheel lugs two or three turns while the wheel is on the ground. Place a wheel chock behind a wheel on the opposite side (or at the opposite end) of the car. Once the car is elevated, immediately place jackstands under the support points. Make sure the stands are on a firm, level footing and will not shift under load. Lower the jack until the weight of the car is supported on the stand, not on the jack.
These simple preliminary steps cannot be stressed often enough. Each year many people are maimed or killed because their car fell on them. A hydraulic jack cannot be trusted to stay elevated - always use jackstands, even for a quickie repair.
The following are certain safety precautions which should always be observed when jacking the vehicle. They are as follows:
- Always jack the car on a level surface.
- Set the parking brake if the front wheels are to be raised. This will keep the car from rolling backward off the jack.
- If the rear wheels are to be raised, block the front wheels to keep the car from rolling forward.
- Block the wheel diagonally opposite the one which is being raised.
- If the vehicle is being raised in order to work underneath it, support it with jackstands. DO NOT place the jackstands against the sheet metal panels beneath the car or they will become distorted.
- Do not use a bumper jack to raise the vehicle; the bumpers are not designed for this purpose.