For some reason most DIY car mechanics and those who do their own car work find themselves at some point in time that they would like to/ need to do an oil change but do not have a car jack. For me this happened recently when I was away from my home and garage and did not have a jack with me and barely the right socket to get the drain plug out.
Most cars of course have an emergency jack, but frankly those don’t count. If you happen to have not thought of that before now, and have a good roadside jack, well there you go – use that. But if you’re like me, the 30 minutes spent cranking the little scissor jack is just not worth the time. Here are four ways that you can change the oil without using a car jack!
1. Drive One Tire Onto a Curb
Back up your car carefully aligning one tire on the curb at a driveway entrance. As you drive and the wheel rolls up onto the curb, this will raise the car off the ground enough for you to fit underneath.
When fitting under the car in a situation like this a rolling creeper is ideal but if it is a low curb or there is otherwise not enough room to slide under, I recommend laying cardboard or a towel down so you can law under the car without getting completely dirty especially laying in the gutter.
2. Park Over a Dip in Driveway or Gutter
Just like rolling up onto the curb, parking the car at the low portion of the driveway or any other area where more area can be created under the car will do the job. Often simply finding a bit of ground that creates just a few more inches of space will allow you to remove the oil pan drain plug.
You may consider saving the oil filter change for later, but it is a relatively easy job to remove the plug, let the oil drain, and add the new oil. With just enough room to reach under the car to get the plug out and slide a pan under to catch the old oil.
3. Car Tire Ramps
If you are able to wait a couple of short days, order some very inexpensive car tire ramps from Amazon.
I own a set of solid steel ramps that unfortunately don’t work on most small cars because there is not enough clearance under the front bumper.
Here are the two best sets of car ramps I recommend from Amazon
Best Value Car Ramp
At $60 on Amazon
Best Value Low Clearance Car Ramp
At just under 50$ for the pair, this is an ultra cheap very easy way to change the oil without a car jack. This low profile ramp of bumper is close to the ground for a very low profile car. Be aware though that it will only give you a few inches of clearance. But should be enough to get under to change the oil!
This is by far the easiest, quickest way to change the oil without a jack.
4. Park on Plank of Wood to Gain Clearance
Driving the two front wheels up onto large blocks of wood, or something else solid and a few inches thick may can you the space that you need to be able to reach under the car to access the drain plug and oil filter.
Even parking on a set of 2x4s will get you a couple inches. If you can manage to stack them a fashion that they act like a stepped ramp, the car will easily roll onto it.
Raise Car Without Jack to Change Tire
These four solutions were for ways to raise the car when the goal is to change the oil. But how about to change the tire? Is it possible to raise the car without a jack to change a tire?
On a double axle car or trailer, it is possible to roll one tire up onto a ramp to take the weight off the tire that needs to be replaced, but for most cars changing the tire is extremely difficult without a jack.
Digging a hole under the tire once the car supported under the frame is technically a possible solution but not reasonable.
Driving the car onto uneven terrain to take the weight off of two of the tires is the best way to jack up a car to change the tire. By positioning two opposite corners of the vehicle in a low spot on a hill or similar terrain, the tire will raise itself high enough off the ground to remove it.
Don’t forget to loosen the lug nuts before taking weight off the wheels. It is always easier with the resistance of the weight of the car!
This video shows the perfect demonstration of how to change a car tire without having a jack.
This can be useful if you happen to get a flat tire out on the road and unfortunately don’t have a working jack.