Under your car - DIY vehicle maintenance

22 Aug 2014

DON'T BE A JACKASS WITH JACKS. People have been crushed to death or severely injured when they have not used jacks, support stands or ramps properly. The ACCC is leading a joint campaign with state and territory fair trading agencies to raise awareness about your safety when doing DIY mechanic work. Follow the safety tips and read the information to stay safe when working under your car.

Using car jacks video

Don't be a jackass with jacks

Over the past decade, at least 46 Australians have been crushed and killed when working under a vehicle.

In addition, an average of 160 injuries are associated with jacks each year. Injuries have ranged from amputation to fractures and crush injuries.

Most of the deaths were men and involved the vehicle being lifted or supported in the wrong way. Home mechanics are most at risk of this type of death or injury.

The correct use of jacks can prevent death or injury.

  • Never get under a car that is being supported by a jack
  • Never place any part of your body under a vehicle unless it is sitting securely on support stands or ramps
  • Never allow a person or pet to remain in the vehicle whilst it is being jacked
  • Never exceed the weight capacity of the jack.

Working under your car — safety tips

Follow these tips and stay safe when working on your vehicle.

  • Park the vehicle on a hard level surface such as a concrete driveway.
  • Before you raise the vehicle, chock the unlifted wheels and engage the park brake.
  • Refer to the workshop manual for your car to locate the lifting point to position the jack under your vehicle. If the incorrect lifting point is used, the jack could slip or tip.
  • Watch carefully whilst raising your vehicle. Check that the head plate of the trolley jack is sitting squarely on the point you are lifting, and make sure the jack is able to roll slightly to allow for the change of angle as the vehicle is raised.
  • If you are planning on working under your vehicle, always use support stands or ramps. When using support stands, ensure you locate the correct position for them before slowly lowering the jack so the vehicle is resting on the stands. Ensure that your vehicle is secure on the stands before getting under it.

Do you sell jacks, ramps or stands?

Suppliers including retailers are also reminded that there are mandatory standards for vehicle jacks, trolley jacks, support stands and portable ramps. You must comply with the mandatory standards if you are selling these products within Australia, at any part of the supply chain.

Get more facts and tips

There are many ways you can learn more and stay informed about DIY vehicle maintenance safety. 

For general DIY safety information see: DIY safety: beware of dangers to yourself and to others