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All Jacked Up! Tips on How to Safely Jack Up your Car from a NASCAR Pro

Published Jul 13th 2007, 5:32pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Woman_changing_tire Reprinted from
If you’re good to your car, it will be good to you. That’s a commonly used phrase in the automotive industry so why is there still an estimated $60 billion in unperformed maintenance on an annual basis?

Are we really performing the necessary routine maintenance our vehicles need to travel the long haul? Curious, we called on a few consumers known for being hard on their vehicles: ones who don’t pay attention to how much their engines rev and typically don’t even have a lick of tread on their tires!

Who did we call on? Crew members of NASCAR! Experts in their field, the crew members shared some trade secrets as they prepared for the recent Daytona 500 in February. We begin with Jack …. I mean Ed. Ed is a jackman.

Ed Watkins can raise a 3,400-pound stockcar with one pump of his hydraulic jack while dozens of other stockcars are ripping past him at 55 mph. And did we mention those stockcars are just inches from his head?

Watkins, who hails from Richmond, VA, is the jackman for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger piloted by Elliott Sadler and these are the conditions he works under when it’s time to change a tire. You, on the other hand, typically have the luxury of finding a safe place, working at your own pace and perusing your owner’s manual.

“That’s what you should do because it’s all about safety,” said Watkins, who encourages motorists to be aware of their surroundings when faced with a flat tire. As he prepared to crew Sadler’s stockcar before the Daytona 500, Watkins offered up some more of his expert advice as a veteran jackman with over 10 years of experience:

  • Find a level surface
  • Make sure the emergency break is on to prevent the vehicle from rolling
  • If you have a wheel chock, use it
  • Know you equipment and how to use it
  • Know and locate the proper jack points on the frame. If you don’t know consult your owners manual. There's a thin lip that runs along the side of your car. This is where the jack should go.
  • Don't jack up a car unless you're on a cement surface. Watch out for soft shoulders and very hot pavement, which may not support the jack.

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