What Size Jack Do I Need For My Car? [An Expert’s Guide]

Browsing for information on what size jack you need for your car? Well, this article serves as a comprehensive guide that will provide the answer you’re looking for.

Let’s get started.

Arcan A20016 / XL2T

  • 4000 lb load capacity
  • 2.75 – 24″ lift range
  • 97 lb weight
  • Dual piston pump

What Size Jack Do I Need For My Car?

The size of your car jack depends on your car’s weight and ground clearance. Once you know your vehicle’s weight, you’ll have the answer to the size of jack required. Additionally, understanding your car’s ride height is crucial to ensure the jack easily fits underneath.

Weight Capacity

Jacks have limited capacity and should not be overloaded for safety reasons. A car’s jack cannot safely lift a heavy-duty truck. However, it is generally safe to use a truck’s jack for lifting a car. The weight capacity of a jack, whether it’s a floor jack, bottle jack, scissor jack, or electric jack, is clearly indicated on the device.

Indeed, jacks are typically named based on their load capacity, such as 2-ton, 3-ton, or 4-ton jacks. This indicates the maximum weight capacity the jack can safely lift. It’s crucial not to exceed this capacity to ensure safe lifting operations.

For example, if your car weighs 3000 lb (1.5 tons), you should select a jack with a capacity ranging from 1.5 to 2 tons. Opting for a jack with a slightly higher capacity, such as a 2-ton jack capable of lifting up to 4000 lb (2 tons), provides an additional safety margin.

This approach helps you determine the appropriate size jack for your car. Since cars like sedans and SUVs typically weigh less than trucks, most jacks on the market are suitable for lifting them. However, it’s essential to understand the safety limits and avoid lifting weights exceeding the jack’s capacity.

The Jack’s lift Range

In addition to the jack’s capacity, another crucial feature to consider is the lift range. Jacks have both a minimum height and an extended height.

As mentioned earlier, knowing your car’s ground clearance is essential in conjunction with its weight. Here’s why: a jack’s minimum height should be lower than the car’s ground clearance to ensure it can fit under the jack point.

For example, if your car has a ground clearance of 4 inches, typical of low-profile vehicles like sports cars, can you install a car with a minimum height of 5 inches underneath? No, you can’t. That’s why the lift range is crucial. Manufacturers may indeed design jacks that don’t fit under certain cars if you select the wrong jack. We’ll explain later what type of jack you need for your car to avoid this issue.

The extended height refers to the maximum height the jack can reach when fully extended. In other words, it’s the clearance you’ll have once the jack is installed and pumped to its maximum height. The maximum height should exceed the height of the jack stand, which holds the load after it’s lifted with the jack. We’ll delve into jack stands further below, but it’s important to note their role in safely supporting the vehicle.

Related: What is a Jack Stand? The Ultimate Expert’s Guide

What Type of Jack You Should Prefer for Lifting Your Car 

1. Floor Jack

A floor jack is indeed the optimal choice for lifting a car. It typically has a minimum height that is lower than the car’s clearance, unless you own a low-profile vehicle. In such cases, a low-profile floor jack specifically designed for these cars is necessary.

Most floor jacks boast a capacity of 3 to 4 tons, which is ample for lifting standard cars. Additionally, they often feature quick-rise pumps, which not only save you time but also reduce physical exertion. Therefore, when considering a jack for your car, a floor jack is an excellent option to fulfill your lifting needs.

2. Bottle Jack

Bottle jacks are primarily employed for lifting heavy machinery and trucks, proving indispensable in construction and industrial settings. While they excel in such applications, they are less commonly utilized by mechanics for lifting cars.

This is largely due to their tall stature, which poses challenges when attempting to install them underneath vehicles, particularly those with limited clearance. Consequently, bottle jacks are not the preferred choice for lifting cars in most scenarios.

4. Scissor Jack

This device serves emergency purposes, fitting under the jack points and capable of lifting one wheel of a car at a time. However, a scissor jack is not comparable to a competent floor jack and is generally considered inferior. Due to its manual operation and crank handle, it can be challenging to operate efficiently.

This device serves emergency purposes, fitting under the jack points and capable of lifting one wheel of a car at a time. However, a scissor jack is not comparable to a competent floor jack and is generally considered inferior. Due to its manual operation and crank handle, it can be challenging to operate efficiently.

Hydraulic Pump

While advocating for the superiority of floor jacks over other hydraulic jacks, it’s essential to acknowledge the distinction between the two types of floor jacks based on their hydraulic pump systems. These jacks can either feature a dual-piston pump or a single-piston pump.

A dual-piston floor jack facilitates rapid lifting, thereby saving both time and energy by minimizing the number of strokes required. Despite being relatively expensive and heavy, the efficiency they offer justifies the investment. On the other hand, a single-piston floor jack operates inversely in terms of speed and efficiency.


Aluminum jacks offer the advantage of being lighter compared to their steel counterparts. However, they come at a higher price point. Aluminum floor jacks typically weigh approximately half as much as steel jacks, making them easier to handle and transport.

Equipped with four wheels, aluminum floor jacks effortlessly roll over the ground, eliminating the need for lifting and carrying. Despite their lighter weight, aluminum floor jacks still weigh around 50 lbs, which may be relatively heavy for some individuals.

Last Words

We trust that this article has provided clarity on determining the appropriate size jack for your car. In summary, it’s advisable to select a jack with a load capacity exceeding your car’s weight and a minimum height lower than its ground clearance.

For further assistance in choosing the ideal jack for your car, refer to the comprehensive guide provided in the article below, where you can explore some of the best options available.

Related: The 3 Best Car Jack for The Money in 2024

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