We all make repairs on our vehicles quite often, don’t we? However, serious renovations and repairs should be left in the hands of experts, but still, it is wise to know how to do simple tasks because it can save you time and money.

If you are a car repair mechanic, you know how crucial it is to have the right tools for repairs and renovations. Car jacks are important tools in an auto garage, be it at a professional workshop or at home.

So, what is a car jack, how does it work, are there any types of car jacks, how do you choose the right car jack for your vehicle? We have put together this guide to help you know everything about car jacks and answer some of the questions that you may have.

What Is A Car Jack?

Before we delve deeper, it is important to know what a car jack is first. To begin with, a car jack is also known as a garage jack, auto jack, or floor jack. According to Your Dictionary, a car jack is a tool that is meant to help you lift heavy loads, such as your car, but it still has many uses.

A car jack uses several mechanisms to create a lifting force. The majority of mechanisms are lead screws and hydraulics.

Types of Car Lift Jacks

Scissor Jacks

Scissor jacks are operated by hand. They are fitted with long self-locking jack screws which are used to raise the vehicle. Despite their simple design, scissor jacks are sturdy and reliable that car producers include them in new cars, as reported by GuidePro. Scissor jacks come in different weights and sizes. Therefore, take note of this when you are shopping for a lift jack.

Hydraulic Bottle Jacks

The hydraulic bottle jack uses hydraulic pressure to lift your vehicle. Hydraulic jacks are made comprises of a pump, plunger, base, tope, and a cylinder. The plunger increases oil pressure which is then gauged by valves that do the lifting and lowering of loads.

Trolley Jacks

A trolley jack is just like a hydraulic jack but with wheels. A normal trolley car jack can lift up to 4 tons of weight. Some types have come with manual braking controls while others feature automatic brakes. The advantage of trolley jack over other types of car jacks is that you can safely use it on dirt or gravel. Make sure that you buy the right jack for your car model.

High Lift Jack

The high-lift jack is ideal for trailer owners and off-roaders. This type of car jack is meant for recovery work or emergency. It provides maximum lift. High-lift jack is tall and slim; thus, you can easily find a space for it in your vehicle. It is a great tool to have, especially in emergency situations. However, you need to be careful when handling a high-lift jack because they are unstable, primarily because of their small footplate.

In addition, there is a high possibility of severe injury than other types of car jack. Therefore, you should always take great caution when using high-lift car jack. Remember, the jack also needs a lot of strength to use.

Best Floor Jack 2019 1

Arcan ALJ2T Aluminum Floor Jack - The Best Floor Jack

The best aluminum floor jack. It has over 740 customer reviews at the time of writing. The total average rating is 4.5 out of 5.

This floor jack has a capacity of 2 tons but weigh only 50.4 pounds. It is a 2 stage quick lift.

Best Floor Jack 2019 2

Liftmaster 3 Ton Aluminum and Steel Low Profile High Lift Floor Jack

This aluminum floor jack is light weight and capacity of 3 ton. It has a heavy duty steel lift arm and dual pump quick lift hydraulic system.

Best Floor Jack 2019 3

Torin Big Red Aluminum Racing Floor Jack

Torin aluminum floor jack is a lightweight jack with only 26.87 pounds. It has 4 pumps with dual side grips. Capacity is 3000 lbs.

Best Floor Jack 2019 4

Pro-Lift F-767 Grey - The Best Low Profile Floor Jack

Pro-Lift is one of the best low profile floor jack. It has a built in safety valve that prevent overloading. Made of heavy duty steel for long term durability.

Best Floor Jack 2019 5

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack with Quick Lift

This low profile floor jack is only 3" and allow you to place it under lowered auto easily. It comes with a 2 pump system.

Best Floor Jack 2019 6

Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack

This low profile floor jack is a heavy duty jack.  It has a capacity of 3 ton.

Best Floor Jack 2019 7

Pro-LifT F-2315PE Grey Hydraulic Trolley Jack Car Lift

This trolley car jack has a 3000 lbs capacity. It has a all welded steel frame and is rust resistant.

Best Floor Jack 2019 8

Torin Big Red Hydraulic Trolley Floor Jack:

The Torin trolley jack is great for trucks ans SUVs vehicles. It has a long neck which makes it faster when lifting higher vehicles. It has a capacity of 3 ton.

Best Floor Jack 2019 9

TONDA Aluminum and Steel Floor Jack, Hydraulic Trolley Car Jack Low Profile

It has a capacity of 3 ton. This is a rappid pump and quik lift. Perfect for sedam, coupe, SUVs, vans, and Jeep. The lifting range is 3.94" to 18.4". Long steel swivel casters and lightweight aluminum construction.

How do Car Jacks Work?

There are two primary types of car jack: hydraulic and mechanical car jacks.

Mechanical Jacks

Mechanical jacks use mechanical techniques to lift loads. This may include using a ratcheting system or a screw to lift a vehicle up slowly. The high lift jack and the basic scissor jack are a good example of a mechanical

Hydraulic Jacks

Hydraulic jacks use either vertically or horizontally installed hydraulic cylinder to lift heavy loads. The science behind hydraulic functioning is that the system takes advantage of the fact that it is hard to compress a fluid.

The device contains a reservoir with oil. A small amount of this oil is pulled from the oil when the handle is upstroke and the oil is forced out an into the cylinder and then the piston when you press down the handle. As more and more oil flows into the piston, more pressure increases, which in turn, pushes the cylinder up. To lower the cylinder, you have to let out the oil and let it into the reservoir.

Check out the following video link about how hydraulic jacks work:

Materials Used to Make Car Jacks

Car jacks are available in various sizes and weight. They are built of either aluminum or steel. Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages and the ideal option will depend on your needs and budget.

The primary difference between aluminum and steel car jacks is cost, weight, and strength. Irrespective of the material, however, always check the manual for maximum capacity and adhere to the instructions while using them.

Steel

Steel is denser than aluminum. So, if you compare an aluminum-made car jack with the one made of steel, the latter will be much heavier. This might be an issue when it comes to storage and portability. In contrast, steel materials are stronger than aluminum materials. As such, their weight limits are high. Because of their strength and durability, steel jacks are preferred by professional auto shops.

According to Pacesetter, the main factors that affect the price of steel are fuel prices and global demand. With that in mind, steel is cheaper than aluminum. Remember, the cost of raw materials is not everything. You must consider other costs such as the cost of manufacturing. While steel is cheap, in other situations, aluminum is cheaper, making aluminum-made car jacks cheaper than steel car jacks

Aluminum

The aluminum car jack is lighter than a steel car jack. One of the reasons why aluminum car jacks are in demand is because they do not corrode. Moreover, you can dye aluminum, thus it gives you a broad array of color selection.

You may think aluminum is not strong, but we use it with foils and cans. There are different techniques to manufacture high-quality aluminum, which makes it the best option for car jacks. Car jacks that are made of aluminum are as strong as car jacks made of steel. They have a lighter frame but have the same capacity as steel car jacks.

When it comes to cost, there are numerous factors that affect the price of aluminum floor jacks. However, the most determinant factor is raw material. But as stated earlier, steel is cheaper than aluminum, therefore, aluminum jacks are costlier.

Benefits of Using Car Jacks

Safety

You and I are always concerned about safety, isn’t it? Especially when looking for devices that will be used to renovate our homes or repair our vehicles. Jacks are available in different models and designs, but car jacks are the safest and most stable.

The majority of car jacks are not portable but they make up for it in durability and safety. Each car jack has its own capacity, but if you adhere to weight limits, they are less likely to fail you.

Keep in mind car jacks are built to lift heavy loads, especially vehicles, not holding them in place. Before you purchase any car jack, make sure look for a high-quality car jack stands for first. Otherwise, severe injuries and fatalities may occur.

Ease of Use

One of the benefits of car jacks is that they are very easy to use. Their design is simple with features that make them great devices to move around and to work with.

Some types of car jacks such as trolley jacks are made of four caster wheels that enable easy movement from one place to another, as well as to put the jack in place. It is important to now the key lifting points of your car, once you spot them, placing your car jacks under these areas will be easy.

Notably, handles are made with padding below them. The padding ensures your vehicle is safe when it hits the pump lever. Once you have put it in place, pump the level up to lift the vehicle to the needed height.

Car jacks are built to lift your vehicle to do repairs underneath. Make sure to use the stands to support your car in one place. As soon as you are done repairing your vehicle, you can lower it safely back on the ground.

Speed

Other than being durable and sturdy, car jacks are also faster than conventional car jacks. They come with caster wheels, and so, you can position them or move them effortlessly. As stated earlier, jacks are not the same, and each one requires its own set of pumps before they reach maximum height.

Moreover, car jacks are built using hydraulic tech, which makes them efficient and faster than other common jacks.

Flexibility

The only disadvantage of specialty car jacks is that you can only use them in specific situations. On the other hand, you can use scissor jacks, hi-lift jacks, and bottle jacks on certain vehicles and also use them for other things such as changing your car tire.

You can use floor jacks to lift different types of vehicles so long as you check their weight limits. A car jack lets you lift and do repairs on an array of cars like SUVs, sports cars, sedans, and other types of cars.

Car jacks are not only flexible, but you can use them together with other accessories to move and lift heavy parts. However, you need to secure these attachments and accessories well to be able to do this.

Tips on How to Choose a Car Jack

There are different types of car jacks in the market. So, finding the right one for your type of car can be a daunting task. Most of the time, you will be overwhelmed by the many choices in the market and may even fail to choose a jack that meets your needs, as reported by FloorJacked.

With the following tips, however, you can find the right car jack that not only meets your needs but also that which is within your budget.

Lifting Capacity

Car jacks come with different lift capacities of between 2 and 15 tones. The smallest capacity is ideal for small vehicles and the bigger capacity is perfect for bigger vehicles. If you wish to lift medium vehicles such as crossovers and wagons, it is advisable to use a car jack with a 3-ton capacity.

For trucks and other larger vehicles, look for a car jack with more than 7 tons. Keep in mind, the car lifting capacity must be more than 20 percent the weight of the vehicle to make sure the operation is safe.

Lifting Height

The lifting height of a car jack is the difference between the maximum and minimum lift values. For heavy vehicles or heavy-duty machinery, you need to work with a jack that has a massive lifting range. For low or light vehicles, you do not need a generous lift range, what matters is the type of lift jack that you choose.

Lifting Speed

Many car jacks take up to 10 lifting pump drives to reach to the maximum, but fast car jacks can get to the maximum height with only five lifting pump drivers.

Manufacturing Material

If you are looking for a jack model to use in your home garage or in a repair workshop, look for one that is made of steel. Steel is stable and durable than aluminum. However, if you want to carry it to different places, you may want to opt for aluminum-built car jack because it is lighter than the steel car jack.

Special note

When looking for a car jack for your vehicle, make sure that purchase jack stands too. Jack stands are available in a host of sizes and shapes. The best thing with jack stands is that they give you an extra layer of support and safety.

In addition, jack stands are a great source of additional stability. Therefore, you can focus on repairing your car. When choosing the stands, keep in mind the stipulated rating applies for each pair. For instance, the 8-ton rating is 4 tons for each. Collectively, they offer approximately 8 tons worth load bearing capacity.

Conclusion

The best way to find the right car lift jack for use in your home or auto repair workshop is to know everything about the product that interests you and what it can do for you. The items discussed in this guide are known to be some of the best products on the market- both offline and online. So, take advantage of the merits and demerits to learn more about car lift jacks and how to choose the best product that fits your needs and budget.

This will ensure that you end up with the right product that will serve you for the longest time possible.

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