If you own a Jeep, you’ve probably had to jack it up. Whether changing a tire, doing maintenance, or installing a lift kit, knowing how to properly jack up your Jeep is essential.
One common question often arises whether or not it’s safe to jack up a Jeep by the differential.
The short answer is that it depends on whom you ask. Some people swear by jacking up their Jeeps by the differential, while others warn against it.
The truth is that there are pros and cons to both methods. So, it’s important to understand them before you decide which method to use.
Well, if you need to be properly aware, I can help. In this article, I’ll discuss the entire thing until you have gotten over all your confusion about the differential of the Jeep.
Table of Contents
What Is the Jeep Jack UP Differential?
The differential is a crucial component of your Jeep’s drivetrain, and it helps distribute power to the wheels. To understand what the Jeep jack-up differential is, you need to have a clear idea of what a differential is.
A differential is a component of a vehicle’s drivetrain. It usually transfers power from the engine to the wheels, allowing them to rotate at different speeds.
But in a Jeep or other off-road vehicle, the differential can sometimes limit ground clearance.
Usually, the differential is located in the center of the axle. It uses a series of gears to transfer power from the driveshaft to the wheels. And it allows them to rotate at different speeds when turning.
In essence, the differential allows the wheels on either side of the vehicle to rotate at different speeds, which is necessary when turning.
The differential also allows for power to be transferred to both wheels equally. It helps improve traction and handling on various surfaces.
Jeep Jack UP Differential
A differential lift, or “Jack Up” kit, is a modification that raises the differential and drivetrain components higher than the vehicle’s frame or body.
It provides more clearance between the differential and the ground, allowing the vehicle to pass over larger obstacles without damaging the differential.
Most Jeeps come with an open differential. It means that power is distributed equally to both wheels. However, some off-roaders and rock crawlers prefer a locking differential, which locks both wheels together and provides better traction in challenging terrain.
It’s important to note that not all differentials are created equal. Some Jeeps come with a Dana 30 differential, while others have a Dana 44, which is stronger and more durable than the Dana 30.
When jacking up your Jeep, using the differential as a jack point is generally safe. However, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure you follow proper safety procedures.
Here, I suggest you use jack stands to support the vehicle’s weight. You should also ensure the surface you’re jacking is level and solid.
It’s also worth noting that some Jeep owners prefer to jack up their vehicles from the frame rather than the differential. While this is a safe and effective method, finding a suitable jacking point on the frame can be more challenging, especially if you have a lifted Jeep.
Ultimately, whether you pick up your Jeep from the differential or the frame is up to you.
Just ensure you follow proper safety procedures and use the right equipment for the job.
Can You Jack Up a Jeep By the Differential?
The answer is more complex if you wonder whether it’s safe to jack up your Jeep by the differential.
Some people may say it’s okay, while others may warn against it. So, what’s the truth?
The differential housing is made from cast iron and is one of the strongest components of a Jeep. So, technically, it could support the weight of the Jeep without any problem.
However, most Jeep experts advise against using the differential as a jack point, as it is one of the most fragile parts of the Jeep. Also, lifting it can cause damage or break the differential.
So, if you’re going to jack up your Jeep, it’s best to use the frame or body of the Jeep as a good and safe jacking point.
If you decide to jack up your Jeep by the differential, be cautious and follow proper safety procedures. As the Jeep Enthusiast Forum suggests, ensure you have some wood between the metal jack and the differential to avoid scraping or mangling the differential cover, which could cause leaks.
If you have a Wrangler, you can read my other guide on how to lift a Jeep Wrangler with quick tips.
Probable Risks of Jack Up a Jeep by the Differential
Lifting a Jeep by the differential can be risky, and sometimes it is not recommended. Some risks involved in jacking up a Jeep by the differential are listed below.
Damage to the Differential
The differential is not designed to support the weight of the Jeep and can be damaged if used as a lifting point. It can cause the gears and bearings to become misaligned or damaged, leading to costly repairs.
Uneven Weight Distribution
Lifting a Jeep by the differential can cause an uneven weight distribution, leading to instability and an increased risk of the vehicle falling off the jack.
It can also be dangerous if the vehicle is not properly supported. If the jack or support stands to fail, the Jeep can fall off the jack. It can potentially cause serious injury or even death.
Jacking up the Jeep by the differential can also cause damage to the suspension, particularly if the vehicle is lifted at an angle or if the suspension is compressed unevenly.
So, jacking up a Jeep by the differential can cause damage to the vehicle and pose a safety risk to the operator. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for lifting and supporting the vehicle is always best.
Note- Before jacking up your Jeep, you should ensure the total towing capacity of the Jeep, so that it will help you to do the lifting process smoothly without any risk.
Steps to Jacking Up a Jeep by the Differential
If you need to jack up your Jeep for maintenance or repairs, you may wonder if using the differential as a jack point is safe. Though it has a lot of safety issues, there is a way you can do it safely.
Here are the steps to safely jack up a Jeep by the differential:
- Step 1: Find a level surface to park your Jeep on and engage the parking brake.
- Step 2: Locate the differential and position the jack under the center of the differential housing.
- Step 3: Pump the jack handle to raise the Jeep until the tire is off the ground.
- Step 4: Place a jack stand under the axle tube on each differential side to support the Jeep’s weight.
- Step 5: Slowly lower the Jeep onto the jack stands and ensure they are securely in place before working on the Jeep.
It’s important to note that using the differential as a jack point can be safe if done correctly. But it’s always recommended to use jack stands to support the weight of the Jeep once it’s lifted. This will prevent the Jeep from falling and causing serious injury or damage.
Additionally, it’s important to use the proper jack, which stands for your Jeep. In this case, you should use a hydraulic floor jack with a lifting capacity of at least 3 tons and a jack stand with a weight capacity of at least 2 tons.
Alternative Methods for Lifting a Jeep
If you feel uncomfortable lifting your Jeep by the differential, there are alternative methods you can use to get the job done. Here are a few options you can try:
Lift from the Frame
You can lift your Jeep from the frame using a floor jack, and jack stands. For that, you need to look for the frame rails that run underneath the Jeep and place the floor jack under the center of the frame.
Finally, lift the Jeep until the wheels are off the ground, and then place jack stands under the frame rails to support the vehicle’s weight.
Use an Axle Stand
If you have an axle stand, you can use it to lift your Jeep. Place the stand under the axle and adjust it to the appropriate height. Ensure the stand is secure and won’t tip over when lifting the Jeep.
Lift from the Rocker Panels
Another option is to lift your Jeep from the rocker panels. These panels run along the sides of the vehicle, just below the doors.
You can use a floor jack to lift the Jeep from the rocker panels and place jack stands under the frame rails to support the vehicle’s weight.
Use a Lift Kit
If you frequently need to lift your Jeep, consider installing a lift kit. This will allow you to lift the vehicle without damaging the differential or other components. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing the lift kit.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority when lifting a Jeep or any other vehicle. Always use the appropriate lifting points and secure your jack stands before working on the vehicle.
While it is possible to jack up a Jeep by the differential, it is not recommended due to the risks involved. It can cause damage to the vehicle, particularly the differential and suspension.
It can also pose a safety risk if the vehicle is not properly supported. That’s why following the manufacturer’s instructions for lifting and supporting the vehicle is always best.
Using a specialized jack designed for the job and having proper support stands are always essential. Taking these precautions allows you to safely and effectively lift their vehicle for maintenance or repairs.