Simple car repairs can be done without the help of a mechanic or a garage. For solving minor issues, a floor jacks is necessary. They come in handy while changing tires and doing other regular repairs, like changing the oil or draining your cooling system.
Floor jacks are used to lift cars and other light vehicles to do repairs and maintenance work underneath the vehicle. These jacks help manually lift the vehicle, so the work under the car can easily be done.
Floor jacks are available in load capacities and profiles on the market. However, before investing in a floor jack, a few parameters should be taken care of. You should make sure that the floor jack is suitable for your vehicle or the load to be lifted.
Making a choice of the best jack
Selecting the best floor jack for use at home in the garage can be a difficult job. Many different kinds of floor jacks are available; there are different brands, types, and models. Each of these has their own specific qualities. Also, they have their advantages and disadvantages.
The questions that regularly come up before buying a jack are:
- Should I purchase a lightweight and portable jack, or a high-lifting jack?
- Should I consider a low-profile jack or one that is high profile?
- Should the jack be made of steel or aluminum?
Types of floor jacks
There are two basic categories of floor jacks:
- Hydraulic jacks
- Mechanical jacks
Both of these types are designed in such a way that the input force used to turn the screw, is multiplied into a stronger output force, which is used for lifting the vehicle.
In a mechanical jack, this is done by the use of simple machines and mechanical advantage. The hydraulic jack uses hydraulic fluid, pressure chambers, and pistons.
Mechanical jacks come in handy during emergencies along the roadside. The advantages that these jacks have is that they are compact and lightweight, and they hardly require any maintenance. The most-used floor jack is the scissor jack, but the disadvantage this model has is that a lot of input effort is needed to raise the vehicle. Another issue is that it has a small base and can tend to be unstable.
Hydraulic jacks are of two kinds—trolley jacks and bottle jacks. Trolley jacks have four wheels, which allow ease of movement. Bottle jacks are wheel-less and are round. They require less input force as compared to a mechanical Jack.
The disadvantage of the trolley jack is that it is heavy in weight and is large in size. Bottle jacks are small and compatible, but not stable.
Characteristics to look into before buying a floor jack
- Lifting capacity—An essential characteristic of any floor jack is the ability it has to lift a vehicle safely. The general rule goes that the lifting jack should have a lifting capacity equal to or greater than the weight of the vehicle concerned. This is done to keep a greater margin of safety.
- Construction materials—Either steel or aluminum is used in the making of floor jacks. If the jack is to be kept and used only around your garage, then a steel one serves the purpose. If the jack needs to be moved from place to place, aluminum is a better option.
- Design profile—There are two kinds of profiles—standard and low. The low-profile jack allows you to lift cars like sports cars.
- Lifting range—Every jack has its lifting range. If your vehicle needs to be raised up very high, or has large tires, then a high-lift jack is required.
- Lifting speed—8-10 strokes on the standard jack are required to lift the bar. A jack with dual lifting pistons will raise your vehicle in 3-6 strokes.
The best high-lift jacks
Arcan XL2T Black is a professionally used floor jack that is known for its safety measures. It is made of lightweight aluminum and can lift as high as 24” above the ground. It has a chassis of 32”. Its dual pump system allows rapid lifting.
Torin T83006 is recommended for SUV owners as it can withstand a heavier load. It is most affordable and offers commendable range. It can lift up to 21” and support 3 tons. Its extra-long neck saves time
The JEGS performance floor jack is used by professionals and is expensive. It is best suited for SUVs and sedans and can support 4,000 pounds. It is made of both aluminum and steel, and it is fully assembled and ready to use. It can raise vehicles up to 19” above the ground.
The Torin T82751 is durable and sturdy. Made of steel, it is heavier than aluminum jack models. The range of the model is between 5” to 19”, and it can support 2.75 tons. It is used to lift small vans and regular sedans. It has a wide base and is more suitable for heavy loads. Its caster wheels make it easy to move it around.
Powerzone 380044 is a reliable, portable and stable floor jack. It can lift up to 18” and support 6,000 pounds. It is made of aluminum, which makes it portable, and the hydraulic piston makes it secure.
The Blackhawk B6350 is affordable and can handle a heavy load; it also offers stability. It has firm caster wheels and a sturdy steel frame. The model can lift 3.5 tons and is suitable for sedans and small cars. It has a swivel saddle and a hydraulic lift system. It also offers a lock and bypass for added safety.