Jacking up a car that's over 50 years old presents some unique challenges. Use this guide and instructional video to locate the best jack and jack stand points for your first-generation Mustang. These tips come straight from our resident Mustang expert, Bill Tumas, who's been restoring classic Mustangs since he was a teenager.
Classic Mustang Jack Points
The following jack points are the sturdiest and safest locations to lift your first-gen Mustang from. While convertibles do have some extra lift spots, like the torque boxes and inner rocker panels, the points listed below are the best regardless of body style.
Front Jack Locations
For 1964.5-1970 Mustangs, the engine cross member is the best lift point for the front end. Even though it's bolted on, it's still an incredibly strong structural point.
Take care not to lift from the oil pan or engine as they're both close to the cross member and could get damaged. Also, do not lift your ride from the radiator support: It's too far forward and too weak to be secure.
For 1971-1973 Mustangs, the engine cross member is no longer tubular. This should still be the best point to lift from, but we haven't tested the spot for ourselves. Just go slowly and double-check that the car is secure before you continue to lift.
Use the front of the frame supports (end of the frame rails) for the jack stands. These spots have multiple layers of metal and attach directly to the frame.
Rear Jack Locations
The best place to lift the back of your Mustang is the rear differential, also known as the pumpkin. This spot is central, strong, and out of the way of the rear jack stands.
The rear axle tubes are where you want to place your jack stands. But, if your project requires the suspension to hang instead of being under load, the frame rails will work just fine.
Side Jack Locations
While we don't recommend lifting your classic Mustang from side to side, there are some cases, like tire changes, where this might be your only option. The pinch weld is going to be your best bet here.
Locate the factory lift spot near the tire you'll be changing and use the jack there. If the factory location is rusty, bent, or looks unsafe, get as close to it on the pinch weld as you can.
Check Frame for Damage
Like all Mustangs, first-gens use a unibody design. Unfortunately, while this offers a lightweight build, it also means Mustangs aren't the strongest cars. This is especially true for older models that may have suffered floor pan and frame rail damage from rust and impact. If your car's in bad shape, it could twist once you start jacking it up.
Misalignment (car pulling to one side), unusual creaking, or uneven wear and tear on the tires and shocks can also indicate frame damage. Just be sure to check the integrity of the frame and underbody before you lift your Mustang. If the frame is visibly bent out of shape or starting to bow, you should get it fixed first.
Protecting Yourself and Your Classic Mustang While Lifting
Run through this list of reminders before you start lifting to keep you and your Mustang safe:
- Only use your jack and jack stands on solid, level ground. Keep in mind, asphalt can soften and shift during hot days, so it might not be the best place to lift your classic Mustang.
- Engage the e-brake and lift the front of your Mustang first. If you plan to lift only the rear, be sure to use chocks on the front wheels since the e-brake only applies to the rear.
- If possible, lift your Mustang front-to-back instead of side-to-side. Due to the unibody frame, there aren't any good midpoints on the sides. Lifting front-to-back is the safest practice for unibody cars. It also makes it easier to settle the car on the jack stands.
- Keep the jack point supported with the jack after the stands are in place. It'll help distribute the weight better and could buy you time in the event of a jack stand failure. Just make sure the car is fully supported by the stands. The jack should only be there as a backup and shouldn't be lifting the car off the stands at all.
- Give your car a couple of shakes once it's up on the stands to ensure it doesn't fall off while you're working underneath it.
- Cushion your lift equipment with jack pads and jack stand pads to avoid damaging the lift spots. You could also place a rag on the top of the contact points of the stands to avoid metal-to-metal contact.
- Pick up a track mat to protect your back if you don't have one already.
Other Lift Options for Your Classic Mustang
If you don't feel confident using our recommended points, there are other options besides a jack and jack stands.
Ramps - Driving your car onto a set of ramps will make it so you only have to use a jack on one end. The downside to this is that ramps are bulky, and you don't have the ability to remove the wheels.
Hydraulic Lift - Getting your Mustang in the air with a hydraulic lift is by far the easiest way to go. But, lifts take up a lot of space and are by far the most expensive option. They could be worth it though if you're constantly working under your car.
Have Other Mustangs that Need a Lift?
We know most Mustang owners can't have just one, so be sure to check out our jack point guides for these other Mustang generations:
Stay safe while you're under your car and send us some pictures of your Mustangs on social media as you go through your restoration and modding journeys!
This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.