Stable and safe jacking

I recently jacked up my car to have a quick look underneath (I was looking for damage after an unfortunate incident with a raccoon :frowning: ) and needed to raise the vehicle a decent amount to get enough room for me to slide under. I used a hydraulic jack, placed under the front cross member, to raise the vehicle, but noticed as I lifted the vehicle higher an angle started to develop between the saddle of my jack and the cross member (since both are flat plates, and I was only raising the front of the car). I lifted the vehicle enough to get under and have a look around, but the angle that developed has me nervous about the jack slipping the higher I try to raise it. I thought about raising the front end under the cross member as high as I was comfortable, and then raising each side an inch or so and alternating L-R-L-R until I got high enough to get room to work. For that to work though I’d need to get the jack and a stand on each side at once. How far away from the jacking points can I place a stand/jack? It’s a unibody car so I know I can’t just throw one anywhere. If I place both right next to each other, can I split the jacking point between them? Am I being super paranoid about this? I’m new to diy repairs/maintenance and my previous experience only required me to get the tires an inch or so off the ground, I didn’t need to jack it up enough to have working room under there.
-Thanks

NEVER GET UNDER A CAR SUPPORTED JUST BY A JACK!!!

You need jack stands, they’re not that expensive. The owners manual should show you where to put them.

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Or ramps, inexpensive too.

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I know some people do it but there ain’t no way I’d get under a car with the front end jacked up with a hydraulic jack. Jacks fail. The arms bend or the oil leaks, or other. Jacks have wheels though that the move as you jack. At any rate you need ramps or at the very least jack stands. It’s not fun to have a car come down on you and I’ve had 50 more years to think about it.

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They ,make rubber pads that you place on the jack so you can raise the car at the pinch welds.

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Or cutting a slot in a hockey puck works too.

Now the car can be raised on both sides gradually so jack stands can placed at the hard spots under the car.

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Tester

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they also make these…

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@texases @Bing My mistake for not making that clear, I did have jack stands in place before I went under the vehicle. The incident in question was before I went under the vehicle, while I was still in the process of lifting the front end. I am looking into ramps but was looking to see what other things I could try before having to buy a set of ramps. Cheers!

I’ve never seen one of those before, what is that called?

Steel Floor Jack Cross Beam (harborfreight.com)

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