What Is a Floor Jack?
The floor jack is one of those tools that every auto mechanic needs. It serves the purpose of lifting a vehicle from the floor, enabling you to efficiently work on the repairs underneath your vehicle, replace flat tires, and a lot more.
The floor jack, also known as a car jack, is a manually-operated device designed to deliver an incredible load advantage to raising hefty loads. There are countless uses to which the floor jack can be put, and most of the applications relate to raising cars. These machines use various methods to execute lifting efforts and, in most cases, these involve lead screws and fluid pressure. Floor jacks are applicable for lifting various types of vehicles from different categories such as sports cars and pickup trucks.
Benefits Of Floor Jacks
A good quality jack has many advantages. For example, it’s easy to use and it delivers huge lifting power to lift the car off the ground, all while requiring minimal effort. A 4 ton professional floor jack can have an impressive range of lifting based on the particular model.
By lifting your vehicle above the ground, these machines enable you to do the necessary repairs on your car. Furthermore, floor jacks are easily controlled, making it easy for you to lift your vehicle.
A floor jack can raise your vehicle in no time. They are pretty affordable, depending on their performance and build material.
How To Pick The Best Floor Jack
With so many options available on the market, it can be a challenge to pick which floor jack suits your needs the best. Let’s cover some key factors to take into consideration before you start shopping for a floor jack.
We recommend you visit some of the e-commerce websites or an online shop that sells floor jacks and see what customers have to say about them. Review the customer feedback section and ratings across different categories to determine which one might be the best for you.
What Are You Using It For?
Floor jacks are meant for lifting vehicles off the ground so you can get a look underneath and do the necessary repairs and maintenance. When it comes to the size, they usually tend to be a bit on the long side, which means they aren’t as easy to stash in a trunk for use away from home.
There’s no point in having a floor jack that won’t be able to lift your car or pickup truck. In addition, if you try to stretch the jack’s maximum load capacity, you could potentially risk getting injured and the car getting damaged.
If you aren’t familiar with your vehicle’s weight, you can either find these details in the owner’s manual of your car or you can visit the manufacturer’s site for the correct details. Depending on that number, select a jack model that’s capable of lifting it off the ground.
Not only does the floor jack have to raise your car up, but it also has to enable enough space for you to work with ease.
So, if you intend on going under your car with the use of jack stands, you’ll have to make enough space for you to go underneath the vehicle so you can do the necessary repairs and maintenance.
Be sure to take your car’s measurements before you go shopping for a floor jack. Also, make sure the floor jack model you purchase has a maximum lift height that meets or even exceeds the measured height, or you’ll be wasting your money.
The vehicle type you drive will partially dictate the model of floor jack you need. A low-profile design is suitable for low-riders, but likely won’t have the height you need to boost a big pickup truck.
On the other hand, a very tall jack may not even fit under your low sports car.
Materials And Durability
If you intend on using your floor jack on a regular basis, be sure to look for one that’s made with heavy-duty alloy steel or thick aluminum and that comes with metal wheels and casters, as opposed to plastic ones.
Models with thinner, lighter materials may be suitable for the occasional lift, but likely won’t last as long.
Every country has its own regulations when it comes to safety, so depending on your location, ensure the jack you’re purchasing meets your local safety standards.
In the USA, be sure to look for any of the following: ANSI, ASME, and PALD when you decide to purchase a floor jack.
Overload and over-extension prevention systems are also must-haves as they guarantee safety, so make sure any you consider has these features.
The only valid reason to be concerned about the lift speed is if you’re into racing and need a quick pit stop.
Dual piston floor jacks generally lift faster compared to single-piston models. A jack that comes with a long handle will also do the job faster and make it easier as well.
Prices of these machines can vary quite a bit depending on all sorts of things such as build quality, the manufacturer, weight capacity, etc. By and large, you get what you pay for.
If you think you won’t be using floor jack often, then a low-cost model should be more than enough. For some more serious mechanics, it’s generally recommended to invest a bit more in a high-quality jack that comes packed with better construction.
The Best 4-Ton Floor Jacks
BIG RED 4-Ton Hydraulic Low Profile Design Floor Jack
- Capacity: A hydraulic garage jack that can be used for general or heavy-duty industrial use and has a 4-ton capacity
- Features: Equipped with large steel casters and 360-degree swivel casters for smooth maneuverability
- Lift Speed: A dual-piston pump lifts loads 5 times faster than a single pump and is ideal for most cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs
- Lifting Range: From 4″ to 20″ allowing you to gain easy access under low-profile vehicles
- Average Price: $269.99
TCE 4-Ton Hydraulic Low Profile Service Floor Jack
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Load Capacity: 4 tons
- Maximum Lifting Height: 20 Inches
- Lifting Speed: A dual-piston pump lifts loads 5 times faster than a single pump
- Features: Equipped with large steel casters and 360-degree swivel casters for smooth maneuverability.
- Average Price: $268.99
Torin 4-Ton Floor Jack With Dual Piston Quick Lift Pump
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Load Capacity: 4 tons
- Maximum Lifting Height: 20 Inches
- Lifting Speed: quick lifting due to its dual piston pump
- Features: a built-in safety overload system that prevents use beyond load capacity
- Average Price: $278.99
AFF 4 Ton Dual Pump Hydraulic Floor Jack
About this product:
- Capacity: 4-ton capacity, featuring a universal joint technology, giving you a more controlled descent
- Features: A twin hydraulic system for faster and more efficient lifting
- Quick-Lift: Pinned and padded saddle offers a quick lift
- Easy to Move: The rear-mounted swivel casters make for easy maneuverability
- Easy to Store: 2-piece handle helps with installation, positioning, pumping, and easy storage
- Average Price: $405.00
How to Safely Use A Floor Jack?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to safely operate your floor jack.
- Park your vehicle on a solid, level surface, and engage the parking brake.
- Chock your wheels at the opposite end from where you’ll be lifting the vehicle to prevent accidental rollback
- Get your jack stand(s) ready to position before lifting up your vehicle. If you plan on working under your car, or you intend to leave your car lifted for an extended period, jack stands are a crucial part of the equipment.
- Check if you can notice any flaws, leaks, or cracks on your jack. Look for leaking fluids or a loose or broken saddle. Test it to make sure it raises and lowers smoothly.
- If you don’t already know where they are, locate the lift points under your vehicle. These details will be in your owner’s manual. Note that using a jack anywhere other than the designated lift points could cause damage to your car and can be unsafe.
- Make sure that you have enough space to work and that the area around your vehicle is clear of any tools, replacement parts and accessories, or debris found in your garage.
- Assemble the handle and insert it into the receptacle a the back of the jack.
- Using the handle, position the floor jack under your vehicle with the saddle being in the center under the lift point.
- Pump the handle up and down until the saddle is nearly touching the vehicle and then adjust as necessary until the saddle is positioned fully under the lift point.
- Lift the vehicle to the adequate height for the job and position your jack stand(s) so that they can be ready to take the vehicle’s weight.
- When the jack stands are set in place, slowly lower the car by turning the handle gently counterclockwise.
- Once the weight is entirely on the stand(s), you can lower the floor jack the rest of the way.
- When you’re done working on the vehicle, repeat steps 8 and 9.
- Make sure there’s no one under or near the vehicle, and clear the space of tools and debris.
- Continue pumping the handle until the floor jack is carrying the weight of the vehicle, and the vehicle is clear of the jack stand(s).
- Carefully remove the jack stand(s) and set them aside.
- As you did in step 10, turn the handle counterclockwise until the vehicle begins to slowly descend.
Taking Care of Floor Jacks
Generally, these machines will last for years; this, however, will be based on your maintenance culture. Here, we covered some of the ways you can take care of your floor jack.
Make sure you know your jack well enough by frequently checking for fissures, loose bolts, and dents that could risk the liability of the device.
Ensure That It’s Always Clean
More often than not, your floor jack will be in contact with grease, dust particles, and all kinds of dirt. Be sure to wipe it regularly with a damp cloth to clean it up, increasing its durability and longevity.
Always make sure you free-up pressure in the jack cylinder before you store it. Additionally, make sure you don’t store it when it’s all wet as the water brings rust which reduces the lifespan and durability of your jack.
Floor jacks are an incredible piece of tools, irreplaceable to anyone who needs to do some fixing beneath the vehicle. Nevertheless, properly and safely using the floor jack requires knowledge of the exact type to use, how to use it, and what safety precautions are recommended for safe usage.
I am Dave McCurdy I am the content developer on the ecodrivingusa.com website. I have 6 years of experience in marketing as an automotive major.