Choosing the Best Floor Jack For Your Truck, Car, or SUV: What Size?
The first thing to consider when choosing a floor jack is which type of vehicle you have. If your truck has a flat bed then you will probably want something with a higher center of gravity like a 2 ton model. A 4 ton model would be too heavy for most vehicles and not strong enough to lift heavy items such as furniture. You may even want a 5 ton model if you plan on doing some work in the garage.
If your car has a rear seat then you will likely want something with lower center of gravity such as a 1.5 ton model. Most cars are built to handle 1.5 tons so it’s fine to go up one notch and get a 2 ton model since they’re designed for heavier loads than trucks and SUVs.
In general, the larger the load, the smaller the jack. However, there are times where you might need to lift a very large item such as a ladder or even a tree trunk. In those cases you’ll want something with bigger dimensions.
There are two basic types of floor jacks used for lifting things off floors; solid wood and metal. Solid wood models tend to be stronger than their plastic counterparts but weigh more due to being made from thicker pieces of wood. If you are just using it for a car you don’t need a 2 ton wood floor jack for that purpose.
Metal jacks are generally smaller and lighter due to their construction. They offer more foot room and sometimes even have a slightly higher lifting rating, but they can bend or dent if dropped from too high or if used to lift heavy objects incorrectly.
What is a Floor Jack?
A floor jack is a device used to lift and hold up the frame of a vehicle using hydraulic pressure. It usually has a hole through which a vehicle’s lifting eye or hook is placed to secure it in place. A floor jack can be used to lift almost any part of a vehicle to provide increased accessibility when working underneath it, and many people use them to change their car’s tires.
Floor jacks typically consist of a base, a lifting arm, and a pump. The base of the jack has a small compartment in which the hydraulic fluid is stored. This fluid is pressurized by pumping it with a hand pump that causes the lifting arm to rise.
The lifting arm incorporates a release valve that can be used to lower it once it has been raised to the desired height.
Most jacks have a lifting range of between 1 and 3 tons, but some models have a larger lifting capacity suitable for trucks and recreational vehicles. Some jacks incorporate dual-acting heads that can be adjusted to lift from either side of the vehicle to provide greater flexibility.
What is a Jack Stand?
A jack stand is a support device that is used in conjunction with a floor jack. It provides additional stability when lifting a vehicle and reduces the risk of serious injury in case the floor jack fails or slips out from underneath the car. There are several different types of jack stands, including the universal “X” stand, the wheel support type, and the tandem hydraulic cylinder type.
The universal “X” stand is a popular design that supports a vehicle’s weight via two arms that are clamped onto a pair of the vehicle’s wheels. This type of stand is suitable for most vehicles but may not be strong enough to support larger or heavier cars and trucks.
The wheel support type of stand resembles an “X” when viewed from the side but has legs at the front and rear that clamp onto the vehicle’s wheels to prevent it from moving when it’s being raised. This stand can only be used on vehicles with a solid, flat surface on which to clamp the legs.
The tandem hydraulic cylinder jack is similar in design to a wheel support stand with the exception that two legs are clamped over the vehicle’s wheels. This type of stand is generally reserved for use on heavier vehicles such as trucks and buses.
What is a Quick Reach Jack?
A quick reach floor jack features an extra long handle that allows the user to jack a vehicle up without having to bend down as far to reach the lifting mechanism. These jacks differ from traditional jacks in that they do not raise the vehicle as high and are intended for use only on cars and small trucks with normal ground clearance.
How to Use a Jack Stand
Step 1: Get the vehicle securely jacked up and chocked. This means that the wheels need to be placed on sturdy jack stands and blocked so the vehicle cannot slip or move at all. Chocks should be placed in front of and behind each wheel to prevent it from moving forward or backward.
Step 2: Place the floor jack underneath the car at the desired lifting location.
Step 3: Pump the jack handle until the vehicle is lifted high enough for you to slip a jack stand under it.
Step 4: Open the jack stand’s clamp enough to slip it around the frame of the car then snap it shut, leaving it in place to support part of the vehicle’s weight.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the remaining three corners (front left, rear left, front right, rear right).
Step 6: Check all of the jacks and jack stands to make sure they are securely in place and will not slip out from under the vehicle.
How to Use a Quick-Reach Floor Jack
Step 1: Place the quick reach floor jack underneath the car at the desired lifting location.
Step 2: Pump the handle until the vehicle is lifted high enough for you to slip the jacking pads under the vehicle.
Step 3: slip the jacking pads underneath the vehicle and tighten the quick release valve on top of the pump mechanism to hold the pad in place.
Step 4: Open the release valve and lower the vehicle onto the jacking pads.
Step 5: Check all of the jacks and jacking pads to make sure they are securely in place and will not slip out from under the vehicle.
Floor Jack Safety
As with any vehicle maintenance or automotive repair project, safe and responsible jack and equipment use is of the utmost importance. This is especially true when working under a vehicle that is suspended in the air, as even the smallest mistake could lead to a very serious injury or fatality.
Never place your face or body in line with any hydraulic jack. The jack could slip or malfunction while you are working, causing serious injury or even death.
Always wear safety goggles when working under a vehicle to prevent foreign objects and fluids from getting into your eyes.
Be sure that the vehicle is stable before you ever get under it.
Be absolutely sure that the jack is holding the weight of the vehicle before you crawl under it.
Never place your face or body in line with any part of the vehicle’s drivetrain no matter what location you are working on the vehicle. Opening car doors or dropping the fuel tank could cause them to fall and strike you if they are not properly supported by a jack.
Never get under a vehicle that is supported by jacks in just two locations (most vehicles are supported by four wheels on the ground and a fifth located near the transmission).
Do not over-tighten the valve on the quick-reach jack. Doing so can cause the plastic handle to break off inside the pump. This malfunction could cause the entire pump and mechanism to become inoperable or even explode.
Do not use the quick-reach floor jack for more than a few minutes at a time. Any floor jack can only handle a limited amount of weight for short periods of time, even if it is rated for far heavier loads.
Do not use the quick-reach floor jack on vehicles other than cars. It may have the strength to lift heavier vehicles, but it definitely was not designed to do so.
Be sure to store the floor jack and all other automotive supplies someplace safe where they cannot be tampered with by children, damaged by other people or animals, or otherwise put into a situation that could cause harm or injury.
Never try to store the floor jack under a vehicle that it is lifting. The jack could slip out and cause serious injury to you or someone else.
How to Properly Store Automotive Supplies
Keeping your automotive supplies in good working order is just as important as using them safely and correctly. Not only will proper storage help protect yourself and others from harm, but it can also help extend the life of your equipment and make them available whenever you need them.
Make a storage area that is easily accessible and within view of your work area or vehicle you will be working on. This will allow you to keep an eye on the equipment while you are working and make it easier to find if you need to use it.
The storage area should be clean, dry, and free from any hazards that could cause damage to the equipment. Store all of the automotive equipment and supplies in a place where they cannot be contaminated by any harmful fluids, such as antifreeze or motor oil.
Be sure to use a storage container that is made specifically for the automotive supplies you are keeping. A tool box specifically designed for automotive use will not only protect your supplies from damage, but it will also help keep them organized and easy to find. Storing automotive supplies in their original containers is also a good way to keep them organized for quick and easy access.
Never store any automotive equipment or supplies inside a car. Doing so could cause the tools or equipment to become damaged, misplaced, lost, stolen, or be unusable when you need them most. You may also be risking damage to the vehicle’s interior or electrical system from leaking fluids.
Never store automotive supplies or equipment in a place that is not secured. It is all too easy for tools to walk off while you are working on a vehicle, or for someone to tamper with them if they are out in the open.
Keep automotive supplies in a dry place, especially those that contain chemicals that can spoil when exposed to heat and humidity. Be sure to replace any storage container if it leaks, as the liquid could damage the tools inside. Some parts cleaners and other automotive fluids should be kept in a cool, dry place that is out of the sun.
These are especially important if you need to add them to your car’s engine or fuel tank.
Do not store flammable liquids near sources of heat or sparks, as even a small drop of gasoline can cause a major fire. If you have to store fuel in your home, always keep it in an approved container that is specifically designed to carry it.
Always keep a small amount of fuel in your car so that you can drive it to a safe place in the event of a bad storm. Keeping automotive supplies outside in extreme weather conditions can cause them to spoil or become unusable. Wet equipment is also more likely to short out or malfunction when you need it most.
Do not store automotive supplies in plastic containers, as they let moisture seep in over time. Instead, use a metal container with a sealable lid that you can open and close as needed.
Be sure to rotate your stock of automotive supplies on a regular basis. If you let them sit around for too long, they can become stale or go bad. Stale parts are more likely to break or malfunction and bad chemicals can cause damage to the equipment you are using as well as personnel in the area.
Check stored automotive supplies regularly for any signs of spoilage or damage caused by exposure to moisture or heat. It is a good idea to replace any fluids that have spoiled so that you know you are using good quality chemicals in your vehicle.
Always store automotive supplies out of the reach of curious children or anyone else who shouldn’t be playing around with them. Ingesting some of the chemicals in these supplies can cause sickness and even death if swallowed, and sharp tools and equipment can cause serious injury if misused.
Never use automotive chemicals or supplies for any purpose other than that for which they are intended. Using the wrong fluids in your car’s engine can be very costly as well as damaging to your vehicle, and some of these supplies can be very harmful if used on the wrong part of a car or in the wrong way.
Be sure to dispose of any automotive supplies or equipment that is past its sell by date, has spoiled, is damaged, or has been dropped on the floor. Tools can be very dangerous if they are not in good working order, and spoiled fluids can damage the parts of the car as well as the environment you are working in.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to store your automotive supplies in good working order for as long as you need them.
Sources & references used in this article:
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