How to Get the Car on Jack Stands
The first step of most DIYs is to get the car off the ground. Most of us don't have a lift, so we need to use a floor jack and jack stands. There are specific places to position the jack and jack stands when doing this, and failure to do so can result in damage to your car, personal injury, or even death (being crushed by a car is no joke).
DO NOT use the inner rails as jacking points, lift points, or jack stand support points! The inner rails look like the outer rails, but they are not made to handle the weight of the car. If you use these, they will be permanently damaged!
DO NOT lift the rear of the car on its own. The front wheels have no way to lock in place, and lifting the rear of the car will cause the whole car to roll forward!
DISCLAIMER: As always, follow all safety protocols. Don't undertake this task if you aren't comfortable with it and fully understand it. You are ultimately responsible for anything you do. Neither Redpants, LLC or myself is responsible or liable for anything that may occur.
About five minutes
Before you begin: Break the lug nuts loose on any wheels that you'll be removing for whichever job(s) you're about to perform. Once the car is off the ground, it will be very difficult to remove tight lug nuts because the whole wheel will spin. You don't need to remove the lug nuts - just one spin to loosen them is enough.
If your floor jack isn't low enough to get under the side of the car, use ramps to get the front of the car higher up to allow the jack to fit under the side sill. I use Race Ramps for this, and they work really well, but there are plenty of options out there for this. If your floor jack fits under the side of your car without issue, continue on down to Step 2.
Set your jack stands at the desired height. Make sure they're all the same height. If the jack stands aren't the same height, the car will wobble while on the jack stands and you greatly risk the car falling off of them!
Position the floor jack under the outer rail under the car. This is the rail that the side sill bolts onto, and is the same rail that you'll be using to position your jack stands. Ensure the floor jack is far enough under the rail that it doesn't get pushed out by the weight of the car as you lift it. If the jack gets pushed out, the lifting pad will take a chunk out of the side of your car!
Carefully and steadily jack the car up until it clears your jack stands, then position the jack stands. Keep an eye on how stable the car is while jacking it up off the ground.
Front jack stand position:
Rear jack stand position:
Slowly (slowly!) lower the car until it makes contact with the first jack stand. Make sure it's positioned correctly, then continue slowly (slowly!) lowering the car until it makes contact with the second jack stand. Check that one to make sure it's positioned correctly, then slowly let the jack lower the rest of the way.
Check to make sure the car is secure and stable on top of the jack stands, then repeat Steps 3 and 4 on the other side. Be very careful doing the second side! The first side is now only supported by jack stands, not by the tires.
Make sure the car is secure and stable on top of the jack stands. Do not take any chances with safety! If the car falls off the jack stands there will be serious damage to your car, and potentially serious injury or even death to you or someone else!