There are lots of reasons that might mean you need to get underneath your car, or lift the tyres off the ground, and it’s not a difficult job, but the key is safety. Going under a vehicle that’s being held above you can be dangerous if it isn’t absolutely secure. Dropping the car part way through maintenance can also cause significant damage to it.

The first thing to do is make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job. There’s a jack that comes with your car, but this is for emergencies only. You need a good quality jack, at least two axle stands, and blocks to secure the wheels. You can browse the SGS Engineering website here to find stands and jacks.

The car must be on level ground and in a safe place before you begin. The roadside is never a good place to be lifting the car; especially not on a highway. Once you’re in a safe place, block the wheels using chocks or bricks, so that the car cannot roll under any circumstances. It’s also a good idea to put it in first if it’s a manual.

All cars have specific places under the frame which are designed to accept the jack, and they will be at the front and back of the car on each side, between the wheels. Find them, and use only these points to lift the car. Not all jacks will work in the same way, so you may need to look at the instructions.

Once the vehicle is high enough, place the axle stands under the car and secure them against the axle. You may need to lower the car or heighten the stand to ensure that they are secure. To make sure that the car is stable, stand next to it and gently wiggle it. This will tell you if the stands are sturdily supporting the vehicle.

Lowering the car is simply the reverse of what you did to jack it up. Be as safe as possible when retrieving the jacks from underneath the car.