Automotive Floor Jacks: A Brief Overview

A floor jack usually means different things to different people depending on where it is used. The type of jack used in most car repair garages or shops to lift your car as high as 25.5 inches and carry out repairs appropriately under your car is known as the automotive floor jack. However, there is a different type of jack used to raise bigger objects such as houses or buildings with beams that need to be replaced due to sagging.

When people hear the term ‘floor jacks’, they usually associate it with automotive floor jacks because they were the first ever floor jacks manufactured. This type makes use of a pump arm, and air compression or hydraulics to lift vehicles in order to have easy access to the undercarriage.

The automotive floor jack allows you to carry out a brake job or change tires with effortless ease. They are handy tools that are usually available in garages, car hoods, farms, and a host of other places where vehicles are usually repaired. The automotive floor jack has made it easy for the average DIYer mechanic and vehicle owner to carry out repairs.

The automotive floor jack should not be mistaken for a hydraulic lift which is also used in a lot of repair garages or shops.

Do you want to lift your car as high as 25.5 inches? If so then you should consider an auto floor jack. Here are some of the key features to look for:

There are various types of floor jacks to pick from so it’s important to know the basics before you make your selection.

1. Hydraulic Jack

This is the most well-known type of floor jack. Many mechanics pick this type due to the convenience.

2. Scissor Jack

The scissor jack is often bundled with vehicles when shipped from the factory. The jacks are usually space-efficient and lightweight. This explains why many automakers add them to the trunks of cars/vehicles so the owner can easily change tires when one goes flat.

What’s the structure of this jack? It contains a lead screw used to compress a scissor link in order to achieve elevation. This variety of jack usually has great limits in lifting capacity and height. That’s because they’re designed to be very compact.

This type of floor jack has pros and cons. They’re great when you need to lift the vehicle quickly. However, it’s important to note they only lift the vehicle enough to swap tires in/out. Factories often add a jack to vehicles that’ buried in your vehicle. They often won’t lift the vehicle high enough to do tasks like transmission work. The reason is they won’t allow enough space for a person to get under the vehicle. This type of car jack has existed for quite a while but many mechanics pick hydraulic lifts for use in garages.

3. Hydraulic Jack

A hydraulic unit usually includes a trolley with 4 wheels that include a hydraulic cylinder. The cylinder raises/lowers the lever arm that contains a tiny platform that works with your car/truck. This type of floor jack typically has a lever that’s detachable, which is pumped to work the lifting mechanism. There are various benefits of this type of floor jack so it’s one you should definitely consider. As always you should consider the pros and cons to decide if it’s the right option for your needs.

4. Bottle/Piston Jack

This is like a floor jack in that it requires hydraulics to operate. The jack includes concentric cylinders that use hydraulic pressure through pumping a lever. IT works like a standard floor jack. However, the big advantage of this type is it requires a small space for operation. If you’re working in a small space/uneven surface a small footprint is more stable in various situations.

However, it’s important to note that this type of jack also has a major drawback. The free height is quite low. In other words, they aren’t able to get as low as a standard floor jack or scissor jack when fully compressed. As a result the jack is difficult to use on lowered cars including sedans and sports cars. So this jack is usually used to lift trucks as issues like ground clearance aren’t as major.

There’s another plus worth noting. Bottle jacks produce the biggest lifting capacity value versus other kinds of jacks.