it comes to working on your car, few things are more important than having the right tools for the job. Sure, mechanical knowledge is also important, but the mechanically savvy can often improvise their way through an automotive repair relying solely on common sense and patience. The same can not be said for equipment. Using inadequate tooling can lead to a number of problems in the garage, ranging from the frustration of wasted time and broken car parts to those of more paramount importance such as your safety and well being. While obviously annoying, a broken water pump or stripped oil pan bolt is easy to recover from by forking out a few bucks for a replacement. On the other hand, since you can become severely injured as a result of using unsafe tools and ignoring security procedures, a successful recovery from an accident of this nature might not really end up being so easy.
One of the most important and ubiquitous equipment found in most shade tree garages is the trusty floor jack. This is usually also probably the most frequent tool involved in protection related accidents due to the numerous pitfalls associated with their use that range from buying an inferior product that doesn’t live up to its basic safety claims to simple mistakes of improper make use of that could easily have been avoided. But fear not, for this buyer’s guide will walk you through all the steps necessary to choosing the right ground jack that is definitely both high quality and suitable for your type of car. In addition, basic car jack safety protocol will be discussed therefore you can use your jack safely.
Ground Jack Comparison
Below is a quick reference table designed to give you quick and easy comparison before we dive too deep into the article and reviews. The desk consists of the makes and models of some of our favorites, as well as relative price and average rating. If you want a more in depth look feel free to skip ahead. However, if you are just looking for a quick recommendation, this table is for you.
What is a floor jack?
So before we get as well much deeper, let’s take a minute to define exactly what a ground jack is. A flooring jack, frequently also referred to as a car jack, auto jack, or garage area jack, can be a mechanical device designed to give the user the required mechanised advantage to lift heavy loads. Although floor jacks have a variety of uses, the vast majority of uses pertain to lifting automobiles or trucks. Flooring jacks employ a range of mechanisms to impart raising force: most often these systems include hydraulics and lead screws.
When/Why Do You Use a Floor Jack?
Now that you know what a flooring jack is, let’s talk about some of their possible uses as they relate to the automotive world. Most car mechanics varying from amateur to professional will at some point find that they need additional ground clearance when working on their car in order to provide better access to various components. By far the most common instances are lifting a car to gain access to the essential oil skillet drain plug during an oil change and raising a car to allow removal of the wheels during a tire rotation. Other common methods consist of changing brake pads and rotors, transmission work, suspension function, and exhaust work. In addition to lifting the car itself, ground jacks are frequently used to lift only the motor in purchase to offer extra distance within the engine bay. An example of when this would become necessary is during an engine mount replacement procedure.
Types of Floor Jacks
The hydraulic floor jack is the most instantly recognizable variant of the floor jack, and is the type that most mechanics gravitate towards due to their convenience. A hydraulic flooring jack typically includes a trolley with four tires that houses a hydraulic cylinder. This canister raises and lowers a lever arm with a small platform that interfaces with your car or truck. Hydraulic floor jacks usually possess a detachable lever that is certainly pumped in order to actuate the raising mechanism. The advantages of this type of jack are they are extremely simple to make use of as they do not really require a substantial amount of physical effort to lift a vehicle. In addition, they also often have got a very high maximum height which allows you to lift your car higher off the floor than with additional types of jacks. The wheels on the trolley also aid in keeping the jack properly positioned underneath the car as you lift which helps to eliminate jack lean and makes for an all around safer jack. The just disadvantages of this kind of jack are cost and the fact that they can end up being rather weighty and sizable which means slightly less portability than various other types of jacks.
A scissor jack is actually provided with many cars ideal from the factory. These jacks are typically light weight and space efficient, which is normally why auto manufacturers choose to place them in the trunks of cars for swapping in your spare tire on the side of the freeway in the event of a flat wheel. They consist of a lead screw that compresses a scissor linkage to gain elevation. This type of jack typically has serious limitations in elevation as well as lifting capacity credited to the truth that they are designed to be so compact. These jacks function great in a pinch, but will only get your car high enough off the surface to switch a wheel. It’s unlikely that a factory provided jack that’s buried away in your trunk will possess the height to perform even more included car repairs such as transmitting work as they won’t obtain high plenty of to enable the space for a human to slide under the car (read more about climbing under the car below in our ground jack security section). This type of jack offers existed for a long period, but most people tend to discover hydraulic flooring jacks to become even more convenient for garage use.
Much like a floor jack, a bottle jack is hydraulically operated. It contains concentric cylinders that provide stiffness that are actuated by hydraulic pressure that results from pumping a lever, very much like a normal floor jack. The major advantage of these jacks is their small footprint. If you are operating with limited space or on uneven surfaces (which is usually ill-advised), the little footprint enables a bottle jack to end up being more stable in some situations. Their downside is that they have an extremely high free of charge elevation, meaning that they don’t get nearly as low as a scissor jack or regular ground jack when fully compressed. This makes them difficult to make use of on lowered vehicles and even many sports cars and sedans at normal ride height. As such, they see the bulk of their use when raising vehicles, since ground measurement issues aren’t as large of a concern. It should also be noted that bottle jacks generate the highest lifting capability value when compared to other types of jacks.
Obviously the most crucial thing when using a floor jack, or when doing any type of work on your car for that matter, is your personal safety. A little common feeling goes a long method, but there are some facets of protection that may not become therefore obvious. To lead you, below is definitely a list of some fundamental basic safety principles and tip for using your flooring jack.
1. Never trust your floor jack to support your car by itself. Always make use of jack stands.
Any mechanical component ever designed can theoretically fail, but mechanical parts designed to move tend to fail at a higher rate. A ground jack falls into the latter category. It provides been well documented that hydraulic flooring jacks can and will fail over time due to wear on the hydraulic elements. Unfortunately this mode of failure is rather innocuous because instead of a catastrophic failure, the jack will slowly let the car down. While one would think that this would end up being an benefit to someone in danger of becoming crushed, it really isn’t. Often times the slow descent during a failure will go unnoticed for the few precious moments a person has to escape. Keep in mind that a person on their back underneath a car offers limited speed and agility to obtain out of the way as well.
But there’s good news! This problem is incredibly easy to avoid by pairing your floor jack with a set of high quality jack stands. Once you raise your car with your jack, place a pair of jack stands underneath the car and rest the car on them rather than depending on the hydraulic components of your jack. Only after you possess supported your car with jack stands should you ever climb under to do any function. It can be also recommended that you rock the car a little bit by hands near the top to ensure that your setup is sturdy before you climb under. While it would be bad to have your car fall off a poorly placed jack stand when you provide the car a small test shake, it would become much worse if it fell on you because you didn’t. You may also consider using chalks if you are just using two jack stands in purchase to prevent your car from rolling. As an added measure of safety, you may also place a wheel that you removed under your car for added security (although this should only end up being utilized in addition to a sturdy jack st and not as an alternative).
2. Usually increase your car on level floor.
It is never a good idea to raise your car about any terrain additional than that which is level. Resting your jack or jack stands at an angle consequently of an unequal ground creates a tipping hazard as the car can easily go over center comparative to your jack and fall. The many common occurrence is when somebody tries to lift their car on a slanted driveway. For very much the same reason you shouldn’t use a forklift on a hill, you shouldn’t make use of your jack on any kind of slope.
3. Raise and lower your car gradually.
Raising and lower your car slowly allows you to identify any complications before they happen, thus hopefully allowing your to prevent them. In addition, lowering your car too quickly can result in several scenarios where damage to your car can occur. When operating your jack either up or down, it’s best to use sluggish and controlled movements.
4. Make use of appropriate jacking points on your car.
This cannot be stressed enough. Your car provides very specific factors where the frame has been reinforced to support the load of the car when raising it with a jack. These locations are always lined out in your owner’s manual for your car as well as frequently occasions well marked on the car itself. Perform not really lift a car under any circumstances unless you are confident that you are jacking the car up from an suitable location.
What To Consider When Buying A Floor Jack
There are several considerations that you have to make when shopping around for a floor jack. While your intended use is essential, there are also some various other aspects that you must pay attention to make sure that you make a wise purchase and don’t fall for any of the “gotchas.”
1. Consider what type of car or vehicles you will be using the jack on.
The type of car that you are using your jack on plays an important role in helping you choose which jack to buy. The most important factor here is surface clearance. Ground clearance is defined as how high off the ground your jack stage (the place where your jack contacts your car when raising) sits. Cars with low floor distance typically are easiest to lift with regular hydraulic flooring jacks. In reality, jacks in this style can become had in “low-profile” options for particularly cars, such as reduced performance vehicles, sports activities cars, and race vehicles. They hydraulic floor jack is certainly also a favorite for most sedans, SUVs, vans, coupes, and trucks. If you possess a particularly high car, such as a lifted pickup truck, you might find a bottle jack to end up being even more suitable. If your goal is simply toss the jack in your trunk for emergencies, then a scissor jack is normally ideal credited to small size and low price. That stated, a hydraulic ground jack will be ideal for most people and most cars, so if you can’t decide your greatest bet is to stick with a hydraulic flooring jack.
2. Consider the excess weight of your car.
All floor jacks are rated to a certain optimum pounds capacity. You must become diligent about making sure the maximum capacity on the jack you need to purchase exceeds the quantity of fat you intend to lift with it. Typically this rating is offered in tons, with 2 ton jacks and 3 lot jacks getting the most common. It’s essential to remember that your jack will by no means support 100% of the weight of your car. The worst case is lifting close to the engine, where it is usually likely to support a maximum of roughly 60% of the excess weight of your entire car. That said, a general rule of thumb is definitely that most sub-compact, compact, and economy midsize vehicles can end up being securely lifted with a 2 load jack. For luxury midsize cars, full size vehicles, suvs, vehicles, and vehicles, a 3 bunch jack can be appropriate. If you have an especially large or huge car, you may possess to jump up to a 3.5 or 4 ton jack (or bigger), but this does not apply to most cars.
3. Consider the build quality.
Like with any investment, it pays to do your due diligence up front when it comes to buying a ground jack. Long term, a high quality ground jack will cost you much less than buying a badly made one and constantly having to replace it perform to failing. Sure, you may be attracted to the cheap price up front, but when you compare the cumulative total that you would spend if you have to replace a few poorly produced jacks, you’ll rarely come out forward if you buy the cheapies. To identify a jack with superior build quality, the best thing to do is to pull it out and appear at it if you can. A well built flooring jack will possess predominantly metal parts, whereas a cheap one will have many plastic parts. In addition, the quality of finish is often an indicator of material quality. If there is certainly lots of brushed or polished metallic with some nicely painted/coated sections, this can mean that a manufacturer is trying to show off their elements. Conversely, if paint is sloppily piled on to every element indiscriminately with visible overspray, a manufacturer might be attempting to hide substandard quality steel. In addition, a high quality floor jack will be heavy and will operate smoothly. There should also become no leaks. Of course, since not everyone offers the ability to actually inspect a jack when buying online, reviews become like the ones below become critical in evaluating quality.
Reviews of 5 Best Ground Jacks
Arcan ALJ2T 2 Ton Aluminum Flooring Jack
The Arcan 2 Lot jack is absolutely superb (as is every Arcan jack we’ve tried), and is our first choice when it comes to picking a top of the line floor jack. It is normally a high quality all aluminum construction which makes it strong but light, weighing in at just 49 pounds. It’s low profile building enables it to effortlessly slip under vehicles with as small as 3.5″ ground clearance. It will increase to an optimum elevation of 19.25″ off the surface. It is very easily stowed due to the quick locking two piece handle that can end up being damaged down in a matter of seconds. In addition, this two piece deal with allows for quite a bit of leverage when moving the jack, therefore it takes extremely little strength input to raise a car. The jack provides two front side casters that are fixed, and two swivel casters in the rear which make it quickly maneuverable, actually in tight spaces. It has a rubber pad atop the saddle which serves to protect your vehicle by preventing contact with the metal parts of your jack. The Arcan 3 Load also requires only 12 pumps to achieve optimum height, which decreases the period you possess to spend raising your car. Another nice feature is usually the part mounting handle that enables for easy carrying and repositioning of the jack when functioning on your car. Last but not really least, it’s anodized in clear so you can really observe the beauty of the high quality aluminium! Realistically this professional quality jack is definitely a steal in the low 200 dollar range. All in all, this can be a phenomenal jack that is certainly worth your consideration if you have the budget. It should be mentioned that Arcan also makes a comparable 3 heap version which we possess the same affection for. You can discover the 3 ton edition here anodized in blue: Arcan ALJ3Capital t.
Powerzone 380044 3 Bunch Floor Jack
If you don’t happen to want to spend the amount of coin required for the Arcan reviewed above, Powerzone makes a great high quality mid-range option. The Powerzone 380044 is normally almost all light weight aluminum structure and tips the scales at 59 pounds, which is just a shade higher than the 3 load Arcan mentioned above. The jack’s capacity is 3 lots with a lifting range from 4″ at the minimum elevation to 18.25″ at the maximum height. The Powerzone offers a split padded deal with which allows the consumer to conveniently generate the influence required to lift an automobile while still producing the jack extremely simple to stow when not in make use of. The front casters are set and bidirectional whereas the rears rotating, permitting quite a little of freedom to move this jack around. Another good feature that this jack possesses is usually the rubber mat to protect your car against harm. Feature for feature, this jack hangs correct with the Arcan’s 3 bunch offering. Nevertheless, when it comes to the matter of build quality, some minor compromises are made likened to the Arcan to make the cost more affordable in the mid 100 buck range. But don’t allow this comment lead you astray, the fit and finish as well as the craftsmanship are great. As much as features for price, we consider this jack to become the greatest flooring jack for the money. It provides all the features of the nicest jacks but at a price that’s a little even more attractive for someone who just wants a great jack with no frills.
Torin T84025 Aluminium and Metal Race Jack
In addition to Arcan and Powerzone, Torin is one of the best floor jack producers around. Their 2.5 ton racing jack is fantastic and certainly worth considering. The biggest cause to get this jack is definitely that it will take very few pumps to reach max elevation. 7 pumps to end up being exact. This jack can be perfect for working on your car when time counts. If you take your car to the track and have just a limited period to replace your tires or fix a problem underneath you car, you will be happy you possess this jack. The minimal lift height is 4.125″, and the maximum is 18.25″ when fully extended. It should become observed that the saddle is certainly removable therefore you can obtain some extra room on the bottom end should you want it. The construction is steel and lightweight aluminum, with well protected hydraulics that are sure to last quite a while. The jack is normally durable, employing fixed casters up front and rotating casters in the back to allow for easy mobility and positioning. It is also reasonable in the pounds department, and has a handle to help with portability. Torin is usually well regarded in the motor vehicle community for their high quality and quality is definitely evident with this particular jack. Lastly, on a somewhat subjective level, we believe the contrast between the black and bare metallic make this jack the best looking of the bunch we have reviewed. Overall the Torin 2.5 Ton is a great tool that won’t break the bank, coming in very reasonably in the low $100 range.
Torin Capital t10152 1.5 Ton Scissor Jack
torin 1.5 ton scissor jack
In addition to making hydraulic jacks, Torin also makes scissor jacks. The minimum height on the Testosterone levels10152 can be 3.75″ and the optimum height is 15.4″ at maximum extension. Overall the construction is usually great. The business lead mess actuates efficiently and the base remains level and firmly planted to the ground. The jack is certainly relatively small, so despite it’s lower capability and optimum elevation compared to its hydraulic couterparts, it does the work perfectly. As a result of the size, this jack is normally easy to store in your trunk should you need to. Perhaps the biggest advantage to the Torin 1.5 Ton is the fact that it’s roughly 20 bucks, costing less than a fifth of what the hydraulic jacks cost. Be warned though that it takes considerable time to lift your car using this type of jack because you will possess to turn the lead screw many revolutions before reaching maximum height. It should end up being noted that this kind of jack also offers application when it comes to trailer leveling with respect to campers, RV’s, and towing in general. Overall, if you are willing to sacrifice some convenience to save cost, this jack is awesome and it’s simply what you’re searching for.
Powerbuilt 8 Heap Bottle Jack
powerbuilt 8 ton bottle jack
Yes, you read correctly. 8 plenty. The great point about the Powerbuilt 8 heap container jack is usually its huge lifting capacity. This jack provides a raising range from 7.88″ to 15.5,” making it ideal of trailers, campers, and trucks. You will want an ample supply of floor measurement to obvious this jack. It’s simply not really going to match under your classic Camaro or your Toyota Corolla. If your automobile fits into the niche that would need a jack like this, this one is definitely fantastic. Aside from the high capability, this jack boasts excellent build quality and fairly minimal pumping work. It also features an expansion mess that can be turned before lifting your car for added elevation. You should consider note that this jack doesn’t have tires, therefore place it where you desire it as it won’t roll itself into position like other types of floor jacks. As a result of its lack of wheels, it has a very small footprint of approximately 5″ x 5″ and can be extremely sturdy. At 30 dollars and modification, you actually can’t proceed wrong.
Therefore There You Have It
So congratulations for which makes it all the method through the content, because now you are an expert when it comes to automotive jacking devices. Hopefully you possess found this guide to become helpful! While any of the jacks listed above are suggested wholeheartedly, it should end up being mentioned that there are many additional great ground jacks out there as well. If none of the above speak to you or you don’t quite find your flavor, have a look at a few more by clicking right here to see even more types, read more evaluations, and get a feel for prices.
And remember, no flooring jack is safe without a great pair of jack stands to go along with it.