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Jack stand and lift points on my 2006 VW Jetta TDI
Jack stand and lift points on my 2006 VW Jetta TDI
This article shows the jack points on my 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. It applies to my car, my driveway, my jacking equipment, and my exact situation only. Other Jetta and mk5-mk6 Golf are similar but your car may be in different condition, have a defect or damage, your jacking equipment may be different, your driveway or ground surface may be in different condition, and/or your car may be loaded differently, and any other pertinent information for safety raising your car may be different, so take all these factors into account before raising your car. Refer to the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer. Damage to your property, injury, and death, or to a 3rd party, are possible consequences of not supporting your vehicle properly and/or securely. Never put yourself or let others get in a position where they could be injured by a poorly supported car.
If you are not experienced in jacking up and supporting other makes and models of cars or aren't 100% sure on how to jack up your car and safely support your car based on the factory service manual and your own previous experience, consult a professional local mechanic or another local person who is qualified to help and supervise you.
Safety rules I always follow for getting under the car:
If you have any doubt that the car is not secure during or after raising it, there is no doubt. Secure it more. After you're sure, double check the jack stands by visual inspection and by shaking the car. Then visually triple check it. The car must be completely stable on stable ground and not shift on the jack stands.
Do not get under the car far enough to be injured before making the car is safe and securely supported.
Do not get under the car while raising, lowering, or adjusting the car at all because it could slip or move.
If the car's weight is nor securely resting on jack stands or another professional style support, do not get under the car. For example, hydraulic jacks are only for raising the car to where you can put jack stands under it. It's not safe to rest the car's weight on a hydraulic jack. A hydraulic jack can blow a seal, break, fail, etc., without warning, which could kill you. Even professional repair shop car lifts use a mechanical lock that carries the weight once the car is raised.
Always make sure your equipment is suitable and rated for the car that you are using it on. Make sure your equipment and the car's jack points are in usable and safe condition. Also inspect the driveway/garage condition because jack stands can dig into hot asphalt.
Never rest the weight of the car on the suspension or axle - these are designed to move and are not safe jack points. They have bushings which could give and cause a weight shift which could lead to the jack stand slipping.
I always use a backup to jack stands since it's not worth betting your life that the jack stand won't fail. Another pair of jack stands and using the hydraulic jack to just where it lightly holds the car (not supporting the car's weight) are the minimum backups that I use.
Apply the parking brake and put the car in gear as appropriate. Also chock the wheels so that the car can't roll.
Chock the wheels on the end of the car that is not being raised. I stuff a rain gutter guide like this around both wheels to hold them securely and prevent movement:
The "widowmaker" scissor jack in your car is for emergency roadside wheel removal and is not a substitute for a floor jack or jack stands. In my opinion as a non mechanic, they will not safely support the car's weight in many circumstances. At no time while changing a wheel on the side of the road should you get under the car far enough to be injured because they can fail, slip, or tip.
NEVER use cinder blocks to carry the weight of a car or as a substitute for proper car jack stands. Cinder blocks don't show cracks or defects well and if it's ready to crumble you could be killed. Cinder blocks are used only in one orientation because they are weaker in the others. Are you willing to bet your life that you know which direction is the stronger one? Have you already done so? Cinder blocks used to support any weight should have a buffer like a sheet of plywood placed between the weight and the block to spread the load out. Focusing the load at one spot on the cinder block could shatter or crack it.
Never get complacent in safety checks! Experience means nothing if you leave safety to luck. It only takes a single time when you believe that "it's safe enough and I'll only be under there for a second" to be seriously injured or killed. Luckily nobody was injured in the case shown below of a slipped jack stand (unknown cause), but picture your head as the cracked oil pan and the oil as your splattered brains.
My personal method of raising the Jetta and supporting it:
The mk5 has plastic covering on the underside which complicates the lifting points. There are fuel and brake lines under the left and right sides of the car under the coverings.
If it's warm enough the jack stands will dig into my asphalt driveway. To prevent this, I put the jack stands on top of a 1/2" thick, even, solid, and secure piece of wood. Once the car's weight is on the jack stand the weight is carried to the ground and the wood is effectively clamped.
I have a safety helper double check my setup and assist in case anything else does go wrong.
My personal hydraulic jack is a 3 ton "arcan" aluminum jack I bought from Costco for about $145 (may not be at your local one). Because it's aluminum, it weighs about 58 lbs vs. 100 lbs for a comparable steel jack. This makes it much easier to roll around rough asphalt or uneven ground. The bar has a padded section to avoid scratching your car and has a range of 3.7-19.3" so it will fit under most lowered cars but lift high too. Racing jacks often have a "quick drop" feature which I do not like which this one doesn't have. It also has a quick lift feature. My experience with Craftsman jacks is that they tend to leak and stop lifting after a while due to dirt clogging an internal valve. They can be cleaned and rebuilt but I avoid craftsman jacks now because of their current design.
The front jack stand can rest on the reinforced factory jack point highlighted in green below. This is the reinforced pinch weld under the car and can be seen in the picture of the rear jack point. The areas highlighted in red and the rest of the rail are not reinforced and you should not place a jack stand there or else it can cause damage and not support the car. There is a stamped triangle on the lower sill pointing down, right above the reinforced pinch weld to indicate the jack point but the textured coating may obscure it. If you look hard enough the stamped triangle is there. The rear of the jack point has an indentation in the folded area which marks its end. This is also where you place the roadside emergency scissor jack. You can use a thin piece of cardboard to help prevent damage to the rubberized coating.
Jetta TDI cup edition jack stand lift points
The Jetta TDI cup edition has an optional body kit with side sills. These are plastic extensions on the sides of the car to make it look lower and improve aerodynamics. Unfortunately, they make lifting the car harder since you can't see the factory lift points as easily. There are some indentations in the side sills if you look under the car which should help guide you to the factory jack points.
Here is the view from under a cup edition with side sills - nothing is highlighted because you can't see the lift point but you can see how the side sill lowers the sides of the car and blocks the lift point. When using a 2 post car lift, the pads have to go under the side sills a little or else they won't fit securely. The side sills are plastic so they have some flex.
Here is a shot under the car for reference. You can see how the Jetta (and Golf) have plastic covers over all the underside except for the exhaust. I believe the ribbed plastic area front of the rear wheel are diffusers.
Back to my personal Jetta:
When I'm using extra large wood block supports under the front wheels to support the car, I use the factory jack point to raise the car. As long as your jack has a large surface area and a pad, it will not deform the jack point. If you have a cheap jack with a small unpadded cup, it might crush and deform the jack point. You can also raise the car at the subframe (use a 2x4 piece of wood to spread out the weight). As long as you have enough jack stands, a relatively low lift jack, and verify the stability of the car on the subframe, the subframe is also a safe place to lift the car. This is shown in the next 2 pictures and highlighted.
The spot highlighted in green is part of the front subframe which is securely bolted to the body (so it won't move) and is strong enough to put jack stands on or to use a jack to raise one side of the car. The curved section also fits in the cup of jack stands. Because it's relatively narrow, make sure the jack stands are secure. Make sure you don't try to lift from the suspension arm. Always verify your jack point and lift points. I also use a backup to the primary jack stands. If using the subframe to support the weight of the car, I would also place a second set of jack stands at the factory jack points or put wood blocks under the wheels.
The rear factory jack point is also under a stamped triangle on the lower sill pointing down at the reinforced weld. There are indentations at the front and rear of the reinforced area. Again, I do not place jack stands on the suspension arms to carry the weight of the car because they are designed to move. When you're raising the front the rear will also come up somewhat. Depending on where you're lifting from and if it's safe and high enough, you can support the rear and put the jack stand under the front at the same time. Always inspect the car to see if it's safe before doing this.
If you can't, the center of the rear subframe is a safe place to lift the car. It's a solid metal tube. Do not use the jack pad directly on it, use a u-shaped pad of rubber or wood to avoid damaging it. If you have a mk6 Jetta (except GLI), your car does not have an independent rear suspension and it doesn't look like this. Again, do not raise the car by the suspension since it's designed to move.
Here is another shot showing jack stand placement. The green arrow is pointing at the arrow indentation. It's hard to see but you can feel it. I put a piece of cardboard between the jack and sill to avoid damage.