Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

How to buy a floor jack

Tips on how to buy a floor jack

A good floor jack is a long term investment. It allows you to save a bundle of money on car maintenance and repairs. So I’m giving you some tips on how to buy a floor jack. If you go into this looking for the cheapest floor jack, you’ll be mighty unhappy. Cheap floor jacks don’t hold up, don’t raise the vehicle to a workable height for bigger repairs, and are more difficult to operate. Here’s what to look for when buying a floor jack

The floor jack must fit under your vehicle

Car lift points are located behind the rocker panel on cars. floor jack minimum heightThat means the jack must have low enough clearance to fit under your rocker panel before you can even start to raise the vehicle. If you’ll be working mainly on cars, look for a low-profile floor jack. That’s usually listed as “minimum height.” Measure the clearance from the ground to the lift point on your car and buy a jack that will fit that clearance. Minimum heights is not as critical on SUVs, CUVs and light trucks.

The jack must lift your vehicle high enough to make the repair

What good is a jack that won’t raise your vehicle high enough for you to perform the repair? The cheaper floor jacks only raise a vehicle by about 14” while more expensive floor jacks can raise the vehicle as high as 24”. That’s high enough to remove a transmission.

floor jack maximum lift height

Floor jacks with rapid pump are easier to use

Rapid or dual pump raises the jack platform much faster and with few pumps until it contacts the lift point. For example, a jack with a rapid pump feature may rise from floor level to the lift point with only one or two pumps, while a jack without that feature may require a dozen pumps.

A larger floor jack platform is much easier to place and is more secure

Small 2” platforms are much more difficult to place than a larger 4” platform.

floor jack platform size

Get the largest weight capacity you might need

The price difference between a 2.5-ton and a 3-ton floor jack is negligible. Don’t risk your safety by buying a floor jack that can’t handle the weight of any vehicle you anticipate working on in the future.

Jack material is an important consideration

Aluminum floor jacks are the easiest to carry and maneuver but cost the most. If you have don’t anticipate having to carry the floor jack, weight isn’t as important. So a steel or even cast iron floor jack would be an ok choice.

©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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