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How can I use a floor jack to lift a Pt Cruiser? Really new to working on cars

Hi there,

I’m trying to change my oil for the first time, I have a pair of ramps but I don’t have enough clearance when I use them with the Pt Cruiser.

I got myself a floor jack 2.5 tons, but I don’t know where to use it on a 2004 Pt Cruiser. Can someone point me in the right direction?


Get out the manual, and it should show lift points. If you don’t have a manual, and you want to start maintaining your vehicle yourself, you should at the very least go to Autozone, O’Reilly’s, or whatever is near you and pick one up for your vehicle. They’re about $25, and have a lot of information for you.

There are much better manuals, but these Chilton’s or Haynes will get you started.

At the very least, you may find all that information useful, so read the first chapters that talk about safety, tools and basic maintenance.

Please, the most important thing you can remember is to never get under your Pt Cruiser or any vehicle which is only supported by a floor jack. You must use something solid to secure the vehicle.

Floor jacks can suddenly fail, cinder blocks will suddenly crumble. You don’t want to be underneath them when they do.

Get good heavy duty jack-stands.

I want to add emphasis to what Joe said: never get under a vehicle on only a jack or on cinder blocks. Get good quality jeck stands. Also use your parking brake, be sure the vehicle is in gear, and use wheel chocks.

Don’t be like the guy in the attached photo…who is, by the way, welding on his gas tank…

They do have low rise ramps now for low cars. I built a couple of portable extensions for my ramps for the lower cars and that works well if you have a welder.

You really don’t need to raise the vehicle up very much for an oil change though. I just jack the front end up about 3-4 inches to give enough clearance to reach everything. The floor jacks are mainly intended to go under the front center frame to lift the whole front end-but I sure don’t trust that.

I solved the same problem with my wifes 02 Sonata the same way as Bing did .exceplt i used 2 2x6 boards. On my radial arm saw i simply angle cut the end of each board to match the ramp angle. (17 degrees as i recall)
I installed 2 1/4 inch bolts in each ramp extender. The protruding heads of the bolts drop into the holes of the ramp & lock ramp & extenders together.

Some cars have the rocker trim and flange designed so that you can get a jack behind the lift point far enough to leave room for a jack stand at the lift point. Just make sure, because if the rocker flange is not designed for jacking, it will bend.

87_Ranger’s idea also works. I screwed 2 by 10s together in 3 stepped layers, and it is handy when I want to get under the car. I use jacks to change the oil on my Odyssey as it is easier to access the filter if I turn the wheels to the right and reach in through the wheel well.

Thanks for the suggestions, y’all. I will remember to use the stands. I don’t want to save a few bucks on the oil change and then spend it on the ER bill.

I had a pair of ramps but when I use them for the Pt Cruiser I could barely squeeze in there and I cannot even lift my arms to work on the car. Like At all. I’m also kind of set on the jack for future work.

I looked at a diagram of the lifting points but like doubleclutch ( if I understood him correctly) mentions they are points behind the front and infront of the rear wheels on the sheet metal(?). There is no single lift point for the whole front of the car like with the other car we own, an Impreza.

If you look at the suspension, and specifically where the stabilizers secure to the vehicle, you can use most of those points to lift it with. Just use the mount points, and not any of the arms, as you can either damage them, or put undue pressure on the bushings and joints and cause early failure there. Then you’ve still got to find places to put the stands.

Try not to get the stands too close to the front of the vehicle, nor too close to the center. You want to get as close to the balance points the wheels use as you can.

After I lift a vehicle (on stands), I always step away a bit, and then rock the vehicle. If it’s solid, then it should be fine while I’m under it pulling and pushing. If there’s any movement (except maybe rear suspension if I’m on a solid axle), I re-evaluate, and move the stands. When I say rock it, I mean really try and rock it…I use all 230 lbs to push on it. I’m a fairly strong guy, but I don’t want a ton (or more) of metal on my chest. Might make for a bad evening, and a mad wife. :slight_smile:

We’re here if you have more questions…


Thanks chaissos. I’ll take a look at the manual and look for those parts. It’s a lucky thing the library has access to Chilton’s.

I had the same problem with my ramps when I got my newer vehicle–the ground clearance is such that it would destroy my front air dam if I tried to use them. I had to shop around, but I found a decent set of plastic ramps at O’Reilly’s that seem pretty robust, and have a gradual enough incline that there is no scraping, but provide enough height to work on things comfortably.

Then I had a second problem: The new ramps would skitter down my asphalt driveway when I tried to drive my heavy RWD car up them. My old ramps are heavy steel and wouldn’t budge if you put a semi on them, so I hadn’t even considered this problem. I solved this by getting a heavy rubber mat, like you’d see at the entryway of a building in winter, and placing the ramps on it before using them–no more slide.

I’d reiterate what others have said: Don’t get under a car that’s only supported by one jack, no matter how solid it seems or how good the jack is. If I have to get under a car that’s on a jack, I use jack stands, then lower the jack enough that the weight is on the stands, but the jack is still ‘tight’, providing additional support if needed. I almost had a car fall on me when I was younger, and it was an eye-opening experience.

I have accumulated several old steel wheels that work great for jack stands when working under a vehicle. Jack up the end and slip a wheel under a tire on each side and lower the vehicle to rest in the rim. It is somewhat fool proof.

oopssorry, I wouldn’t use jack stands for an oil change. Instead, I would go to Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or an auto parts store and buy ramps that are smaller than the ones you have and will clear the front bumper and fenders. The smaller ramps are usually made of plastic, but I trust the ones I bought for working on my girlfriend’s car. I also use the jack stands as insurance by placing them where they would catch the car if the ramps failed, but I do that with the metal ramps too.

I’ve never seen it happen, but I know people who lost a loved one underneath a fallen car. That’s why I have two sets of ramps, a good set of jack stands, and a small floor jack. No repair job or auto maintenance is worth risking my life over.

the OP already has ramps. Jack the car up and then slide the ramps under the front wheels and lower the car onto them. Then you don’t have to buy stands.

I know the OP already has ramps, but who wants to jack up a car every time they change the oil when you can just pull the car up on the ramps? Jacking up the car one corner at a time takes longer, and the convenience of ramps makes it worth owning a second set, at least in my opinion.

Me, but I guess I’m different. I also have 5K oil intervals. I get all 4 wheels off the ground, rotate the tires, inspect the underside, lube anyplace that needs it, check all the boots, etc.

Then again, I do about 1K miles a week, in mostly rush hour type traffic, and I’m not the nicest driver in the world, so it needs a little extra care.

Buy yourself a set of jackstands. Jack the vehicle up with the floor jack and put the jackstands under a point on the chassis and then let the floor jack down 'till it (the car) rests on the stands. Then run the jack up to the point where it just touches the vehicle, just in case you need to jack it up in an emergency. If you’re a newbie to car maintenance remember . . . machines have no conscience and will hurt or kill you if you’re not careful. Glad to see someone start turning wrenches! Good luck! Rocketman

I’m fortunate in that my uncle works in masonry and has lived in the same house for over 40 years, so he built concrete ramps long enough to drive a whole car onto. It’s solid and virtually eliminates the danger of falling. He did the work himself, so it wasn’t too expensive.

This probably isn’t a suitable solution for most people, but I live in an area where people just do what needs to be done, and the city didn’t complain about it, so it worked out well.

As a more practical alternative, having grown up with the “just-get-it-done” way of thinking, I’ve also used gutters to change oil. If you can drive the car from the ramp to your driveway onto the curb, that might give enough clearance to climb under the car. As long as the tire isn’t where it can slide down the curb, the car can’t fall.

If you use a curb, just be sure to face it whichever way puts the drain plug in the lowest position. It’s a completely viable solution, and one I’ve also used in the past.