What is A Floor Jack – The Ultimate Expert’s Guide

What is a floor jack
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Floor jacks are an oil hydraulic system that is used for raising vehicles, trucks, and SUVs for making some mechanic work. These are operated by placing the floor jack under a vehicle’s frame or axle. It is recommended to use wheel chocks when using this equipment for safety purposes. Floor jacks can be adjusted to various heights, depending on the purpose of their application and user preference.

Floor jacks are not only used to change vehicle tires but they have various functions related to vehicle repair, brake inspection, and maintenance. A jacked-up vehicle makes your job much easier to inspect and repair.

How to Pick the Right Floor Jack for Your Car?

In order to choose the best floor jack for your car, you need to understand its key features and cross-check them with your car’s requirements. Some of them are load capacity, lift range, etc, which are discussed below.

Key Features of a Floor Jack

Load Capacity

This feature talks about lifting power. Floor jacks are rated in tons – 2 tons, 3 tons,s or 4 tons. This means that they can lift 2-ton loads, 3-tons, or 4 tons respectively. Or 4000 lb, 6000 lb, or 8000 lb. 

When you want to purchase a floor jack – assuming that you’re doing it for a car – you should know about the vehicle’s weight. After that, it will be easier for you which ton floor jack you should look for. 

In general, get a floor jack with a higher load capacity than the weight you want to lift with it. For vehicles, you can buy a floor jack with equal capacity as your car’s weight or ¾ times it. Because you cannot lift all of your trucks at once. If you want to do so, you will need to jack up one wheel or two at a time, which obviously will weigh less than the overall weight.

And that’s the reason why most floor jacks have around 3 tons (6,000 lb) load capacity since most vehicles lay in this range. This is how to pick the right ton floor jack for your car.  

Minimum Height

Another consideration factor is the minimum height of a floor jack. And it becomes even essential to double-check if you want to purchase it for a low-profile vehicle, Corvette, GTR, etc.

Here again, first comes your car’s ground clearance. You should measure it or find it in the manual. After you get the ride height of the car, it’s easier to pick a floor jack since you know now which will easily fit under it. 

The minimum height of the jack should be less than the clearance of the vehicle. Separately, low-profile floor jacks are built for low-clearance cars. So you should find that one. 

Most floor jacks have around 3 – 5 inches min-height which easily fits under most cars. And some jacks have extenders or neck saddles which makes them perfect for high-clearance trucks. 

Maximum Height

It is the extended height of a floor jack. Or in other words, it is the clearance you will get after you fully pump the jack. The max height varies depending on the floor jack. It provides space for the jack stand installation and creeping under a car.

The more the maximum height of a jack, the more clearance you’ll get. Since you’ll need to use a jack stand for the load holding, the floor jack should give you enough space for the stand installation, especially when you want to fully extend the jack stand and then put it beneath your car. 

For lifted trucks, the max height of a jack becomes important. If the jack point in your lifted vehicle is higher than the maximum height of the jack, it won’t be able to touch the point let alone raise it. If you place some steel, wood, or concrete blocks under the jack for gaining some height, that’s another topic. 

Pump System

Then comes the pump system in floor jacks. They will either have a single-piston pump or dual piston. Though a double piston costs more than a single piston, it lifts vehicles more quickly. With a few full strokes, the dual-piston floor jack will raise your car off the ground. 

How Much Does a Floor Jack Cost?

Floor jacks come in various price ranges and you need to decide before buying one accordingly. If your car is not heavy-duty, then go for a standard floor jack which starts from the $50-$100 range. For professional use or if you have a heavy-duty vehicle like SUV, you can buy high-end hydraulic floor jacks with a higher load capacity.

Related: How Much Should You Spend on a Floor Jack? An Expert’s Guide

How to Use Floor Jacks?

We have provided the following procedure which works in almost all cases: 

  • Put the car on a flat surface, apply the parking brake and chock the wheels properly. If you are using your garage then ensure that it is dry, clean & level ground with no obstructions around where you will be working. Make sure that there is enough light available since this would help you better understand what needs to be done next.
  • First of all, lift up one side at a time by adjusting the height according to your need depending upon how much clearance you want.
  • After that, place a jack stand under the point that you have lifted. A jack stand holds the weight and the jack only lifts it. So it’s essential to install a stand without relying on the jack only.
  • Now remove the lug nuts using a socket wrench and place the spare tire on. Replace the lug nuts hand-tight at first and then torque them to manufacturer specifications with the wrench. 
  • Lower your car slowly by releasing pressure off of the jack until it is fully down.
  • Replace any items you may have removed from around your work area and now you are done!

How to Bleed a Floor Jack?

You can bleed your floor jack by following the steps given below. 

  • First, locate the bleed screw on your floor jack. It is typically a small, silver-colored screw that is located on the lower portion of the pump body.
  • Second, use a hex key to loosen the bleed screw. Do not remove it completely from the pump body.
  • Third, slowly turn the bleed screw counterclockwise until you see fluid begin to escape from the hole. Be careful not to overtighten the bleed screw or you may damage it.
  • Fourth, allow fluid to flow from the hole until no more bubbles are visible in the fluid stream.
  • Fifth, retighten the bleed screw using a hex key. Do not over-tighten!
  • Sixth, release pressure off of the jack by depressing 

How much weight can a 2-ton floor jack lift?

How much weight can a 2-ton floor jack lift? A 2-ton floor jack can lift a 4000 lb load that is almost 1814 kg. It is what the jack is rated for. 2 tons is the load capacity. However, it does not mean that you cannot raise a 5000 lb car with a 2-ton floor jack. 

You can easily lift such a vehicle’s one wheel which will weigh less than the whole weight. Because you cannot raise all of the cars at once. You will be raising each wheel at a time, placing a stand, and lifting the other. So one corner has less weight and can be raised with the 2-ton floor jack.

How much can a 3.5-ton jack lift?

A 3.5-ton jack is capable of lifting 7,000 pounds of weight. That means, whether you have a car, truck, or SUV, it should not weigh more than this weight for safe operations. Along with that, make sure you have checked the ground clearance of your vehicle. 

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