Jacking your car up for beginners

TK-421

New member
Welcome to another How To by TK-421

Welcome to the Newbie Section. Many of you reading this are new STi owners. Whether this is your first Subaru or first STi, you've probably got yourself a laundry list of questions and your wondering where to go. This section was thought of especially for you. There will be information here to help the new owners with your questions and hopefully answer the majority of them. So without further ado, let's get to it shall we?

Today I will be covering how to safely and properly jack up your STi.

Things you will need to accomplish this task.

A good quality hydraulic floor jack, at least 2 Jack Stands or Safety Stands, but you will sometimes need 4 safety stands to accomplish certain tasks.

A good quality Hydraulic Floor Jack is an absolute must have piece of equipment for any DIYer. The scissor jack that comes with the car that's used for changing a flat is NOT an adequate jack to use when performing any tasks such as maintenance or mods to your car. The scissor jack is small and flimsy and should only be used in case of an emergency.

Safety stands or jack stands which ever you choose to call them, should always be used in conjunction with the floor jack. The floor jack is only used to lift the vehicle and should never be used to support the vehicle! The way a floor jack works is by pumping a cylinder filled with hydraulic fluid to raise an arm that in turn raises the car up. Your STi depending on year and trim level weighs a couple thousand pounds. Do you really think that small cylinder can hold that weight forever? I've been a mechanic for a long long time and I've seen my very fair share of floor jack accidents due to neglect for simple safety like using safety stands! Safety stands are placed under the car on equal corners to support the weight of the car just the same as a lift in a shop would.

Since we are on the subject of safety, issuing your floor jack takes common sense. Jack up your car on a even and level area. Which means, don't jack your car up in a gravel driveway that's on a hill or incline. That's just asking for injury or damage to your car. How many service shops do you see with gravel in them? Maybe the parking lot, but not the area where they work on the cars. But if you don't have a smooth work surface you can use a piece of thick and flat leveled plywood as a base to set your floor jack on. But for maximum safety I highly suggests finding a paved area to work on your vehicle.

If you do not have access to a flat and level area and things like a floor jack and safety stands, I suggest doing any undercar work with a pair of ramps. Ramps are a great alternative to using a floor jack and safety stands to do things like oil changes. You will not be able to remove the wheels by utilizing this method, but it is a very effective and safe alternative to doing undercar work.

Now that you have the basics and a little common knowledge down, let's get the car lifted up.

If your using a floor jack and safety stands, start with the front of the vehicle. Either the drivers or passenger side will work, do NOT lift the vehicle up by jacking from the center of the car. This can cause the vehicle to be unbalanced and possibly fall off the floor jack and cause damage. Take the extra time to lift each side equally. When jacking the car up, there are actual lift points underneath the car on the section called pinch weld. They are clearly obvious areas under each corner of the car to place your floor jack. These are your factory jacking points. It's a pretty straight forward thing. What most people do which is a mistake, is to pick a side and then jack the car up till the floor jack stops and will not lift the car anymore. That is a big mistake! Lift the car to the point where it's enough to put a safety stand under the car while 3 of the 4 wheels are still contacting the ground. You do not want to lift the car up so high that both the front and rear wheels are off the ground. If that happens when you put your safety stand under the car the opposite side will not be contacting the ground and the car will tetter todder like a seasaw which is outrageously dangerous!

Okay you've got one side up now move to the opposite side and do the same, lifting it evenly so both driver and passenger side tires are off the ground evenly. Now when placing the safety stands under the car avoid placing them in areas near suspension components or the engine subframe. The best place to support the vehicle is by placing the stands under any parts of the main frame unibody. Now that you have your two safety stands placed go over to each front tire and push downwards on the top of the wheel in an attempt to shake the car. If the car doesn't shake when you attempt this for each side your car has been solidly placed on your safety stands. You can now remove your front wheels if you wish.

Now when it comes to lifting the rear of the vehicle you will be jacking from the center of the car at the rear differential. Yes yes I know I just told you NOT to do this in the front. But the factory jacking point when using a floor jack in the rear is directly under the center of the rear differential. You just need to make sure your jack has a jacking pad or use a piece of flat plywood inbetween your jack plate and the differential. That way it has an even surface that contacts the diff. There is less weight in the rear of the vehicle and it is easier to balance the car in the rear compared to the front where the engine is.

Now those jacking points in the front if the car, remember those? We are going to use the rear side jacking points to place your rear safety stands. It gives them an easily accessible place and an even placement.

Once you have lifted the rear of the vehicle to be even and level with the height of the front go ahead and place those two safety stands under those jacking points I was talking about. But wait your not done! Like the fronts, I want you to go to each side and push downwards on the top of each wheel to test the stability of the car while it's off all four wheels. The last thing you want is to be half way through a project and to hear the car moving on safety stands. It will literally give you an adrenaline rush like no other AND NOT in a good way either! Like gray hair way.

Once the car has been checked for safety your now free to remove your rear wheels.

If you follow these steps and procedures you can safely lift your Subaru up do preform tasks like changing oil, changing gearbox, transfer case, and rear diff fluids. Change your exhaust system, swap out shifter bushings and heaps of other undercar work.

The first thing you should always do when performing any maintenance tasks or modifications is safety. If your not safe then how are you going to enjoy that car if your all messed up and hurting?

Be smart, work smart and have fun!

Happy modding to you all and stay tuned for more informative how to basics

TK-421
 

TK-421

New member
[MENTION=1]IGOTASTi.COM[/MENTION] the revised version, hit post too soon on my iPad lol
 

Alin

On a quest of STi erudition!
:bow: :ty:
 

IGOTASTi

System Operator
Staff member
:ty: and post was stuck. ;)
 

TK-421

New member
More to come fellas, I'm going to try and crack one out each day. I wanted to do this so when I would do other write ups I could refer people to these posts via links that way EVERYTHING is covered step by step, no stone left unturned
 

HolyCrapItsFast

Drinks beer!
You are an Asset! :tup:

Thank you for all the hard work!
 

TK-421

New member
You are an Asset! :tup:

Thank you for all the hard work!

Just really enjoy giving back to the community, I think that us STi guys get a bad rep and the more friendly and open we can all be and the more solid information we can all provide, hopefully we can make this the number one forum that everyone comes to.
 

sacnvz

New member
Thank you! Perfect timing for this as I just got my transmission mount and was wondering how to get the car up. Jacking the car up from the rear diff though, is that safe? I've seen the jack positioned on the rear diff but I didn't think you can actually jack the car up from there.
 

TK-421

New member
Thank you! Perfect timing for this as I just got my transmission mount and was wondering how to get the car up. Jacking the car up from the rear diff though, is that safe? I've seen the jack positioned on the rear diff but I didn't think you can actually jack the car up from there.

Rear diff is the factory jacking point when using a floor jack, it's stated in the service manual

I can't even begin to count on my fingers and toes how many times I've jacked a car up by its rear diff.
 

sacnvz

New member
[MENTION=4577]TK-421[/MENTION] is there a jacking point in the front of the car besides the ones on the sides?
 

TK-421

New member
[MENTION=4577]TK-421[/MENTION] is there a jacking point in the front of the car besides the ones on the sides?

No sir, some people jack the front up by the cross brace in the subframe but I do not recommend that as it can flex and bend over repeated use. Those lifting points on the sides are there for a reason.
 

sacnvz

New member
No sir, some people jack the front up by the cross brace in the subframe but I do not recommend that as it can flex and bend over repeated use. Those lifting points on the sides are there for a reason.

Thank you! Yeah, I looked underneath and didn't notice any points that I could use to safely get the car up.
 
See, I'm glad you said that [MENTION=4577]TK-421[/MENTION], because the service manual has the "front crossmember" as a jack point. I think I trust a person over a book! :D
 
Top