What to Consider in a Floor Jack?Oct 25, 2022
What is a car floor jack and what should you look out for when you’re buying one? Typically, car jacks are used to lift cars off the ground. Their wheels make lifting heavy objects easier. They have two wheels at their base and a long handle attached to them.
Car jacks are useful tools that can be used for various purposes. Obviously, the main purpose is to raise a car from the ground so you can change a tire or do maintenance work but it is sometimes used creatively to remove fence posts, or lift other heavy items. Let’s see what you should look for when buying one.
In basic terms, a hydraulic floor jack is way faster than a standard scissor lift. Even the cheap ones that are the slowest hydraulic jacks available will raise your vehicle in about 12 pumps. Most now have dual lift pistons, allowing you to reach maximum lift height in just 4-5 pumps. If you’ve ever changed a tire on the side of the road with a scissor lift, you know you will turn the handle dozens of times and the vehicle doesnt even lift that high. Hydraulic is a huge improvement in speed over your scissor jack.
Most hydraulic jacks have a large footprint, with solid construction and large holding area. This makes them one of the safest type of jacks especially on uneven ground (although we recommend using on level ground). Scissor lifts and bottle lifts can be prone to collapsing or tipping over in those situations. But one thing to never forget — when working under a car, remember to always use jack stands.
Don’t ever trust a hydraulic jack fully when you’re under a car, as too many fatal accidents have happened. Cars weight thousands of pounds and you don’t want that falling on you! You may not see small leaks, but it could cause it to lower on you, or someone else in the area accidentally causing it to lower.
When using a floor jack, it is important to follow all safety instructions. Make sure the car is in park or neutral before you begin. Place the jack on a level surface and make sure the wheels are blocked. Place the jack under the frame or axle of the car and slowly pump the handle to lift the car. Once the car is high enough, place jack stands under the frame or axle and lower the car onto the stands. Never get under a car that is supported by only a jack.
Easy to Operate
If you have any general handyman knowledge and haven’t used a Jack yet, you’ll realize just how easy it is to use a jack. Because of the tremendous mechanical advantage provided by the hydraulic system, getting a vehicle up in the air in a few simple pumps is incredibly simple.
When you want to bring the vehicle down, you normally turn the handle slowly to lower the vehicle. That will open the valve system and allows hydraulic fluid to flow back into the reservoir, causing it to lower. Scissor Jacks on the other hand, are lot more curse words being said and not as easy to use.
A car floor jack lifting capacity is a device that is used to lift a car by its frame, axle or designated jacking point, in order to place it on stands or to change a tire. The capacity of a floor jack is typically measured in tons, and the most common sizes are 2 ton and 3 ton capacities nowadays. 2 ton is more for small to medium cars (compacts, sports coupes, economy mid-size) and the 3-ton is suited to full-size cars and most trucks, vans, and SUVs.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a floor jack, such as the weight of the car, the height of the jack, and the length of the handle. The weight of the car will determine the size of the jack you need. The height of the jack is important because you need to be able to reach the underside of the car. The length of the handle is also important because you need to be able to reach the ground.
There are a few different types of materials that car floor jacks can be made out of. The most common and affordable material is steel. Steel jacks are strong and durable, but they can rust over time if not properly cared for. Aluminum jacks are also popular amongst most car guys as they are way easier to move around carry with them for track days or maintenance outside of their home. Downside is aluminum is usually more expensive because of being lightweight.
Minimum Clearance Height
For race cars, lowered cars, and just anything with a body kit that leaves little space to get a jack underneath, this is a super important thing when looking for a jack. If you can’t get it under your car without driving up onto wood first it becomes a huge pain to just get your car up in the air to do your maintenance. Many of the new ones come with just 3″ of clearance like the Sunex jack does which really lets you get under MOST cars. The slammed stance lifestyle may still need even less clearance but for the most part these low profile jacks with low clearance work very well.
Maximum Lift Height
Most jacks can lift up to one and a half feet which is usually enough. 18″ off the ground will get cars with space to get your stands under there. SUV’s might be a different story. Some of the Arcan Jacks even go up to 24″ high which is impressive. Scissor jacks typically only go up to about a foot or just over up to 15″.
Car floor jack come in different sizes and can be bought at most auto parts stores or online. The price of a car floor jack can range from around $50 to $300 on average and some go up to $400+. It really depends on what specs you need from your jack. Lightweight will cost more than a heavy jack, lifting capacity factors in price as a 3 ton will cost more than 2 ton jack. Based on all the items outlined above, you will have to decide what price will get you the jack that you need.
What are the next steps?
Now that you’ve seen what you need to know about buying a jack, maybe even more than you really wanted to. We do hope this helps you understand what you should look out for and want, and make an informed decision when buying a low pro floor jack for your lowered car. We have recommendations for both 2 ton and 3 ton jacks, depending on the type of car you’re lifting.