Whether you own a car or an SUV, a floor jack is a necessity for you. Car owners experience problems like flat tires or punctures every now and then. Suppose you are far away from a gas station or a mechanic, how will you change your flat tire? How are you going to lift the flat tire so as to replace it with a new one? This is where a floor jack comes in handy. But you may wonder, what size floor jack do I need?
The size of floor jack for your vehicle depends on a number of factors including size, weight and height of the vehicle. It is important to pick a jack that fits your car appropriately so as to avoid any damages whereby the weight of the car overweighs that of the jack.
What is a Floor Jack?
There are those who have no idea of what a floor jack is. Simply put, a floor jack, otherwise known as a car jack is a tool that helps to lift heavy objects with much ease. It is useful in various fields which involve loads that are quite heavy. In the scenario of a vehicle, it can easily lift up your car giving you room to mend a puncture on your tire.
Types Of Floor Jacks
Floor jacks are of different types based on their functions. Usually, there are three main ones that are common among vehicle and truck owners.
Hydraulic floor jack
These types of jacks use hydraulic power to operate thus the name. They are very convenient and easy to use. The four wheels and trolley allow you an easy time to move from one point to another. Also, they can raise a vehicle to any height, especially if you are aiming for the highest height. Further, the wheels offer optimum stability therefore preventing the jack from toppling over. Their downside is that they are costly and bulkier, making portability an issue.
In most occasions, you are likely to find this type of jack in the trunk of vehicles because they come with it. The scissor jack is small in size and features a lightweight design which greatly improves its portability. Due to their design, they cannot lift vehicles to maximum height. They have a limitation. Moreover, they may fail to support very heavy vehicles such as trucks. Most motorists use it alongside the road when they experience flat tires.
Similar to the hydraulic jack, the bottle jack or the piston jack operates through hydraulic power. If you are operating in a limited space, then this is the most convenient jack to use. However, it cannot lift smaller cars because of its height. Thus, it is the most suitable to use on trucks.
What is the right type of material for a floor jack?
The quality of construction of a floor jack really matters a lot. It does not only improve its lifespan but also enhances its performance. Jacks that constitute cheap materials rarely survive for long.
Floor jacks that feature a steel construction are the most popular in recent times. Apart from the fact that they last long, they are also budget friendly. However, they are quite heavy and hence carrying them around becomes a problem. They are common in motor garages.
On the other hand, there are aluminum jacks. These are very expensive but do not have a long lifespan like their steel counterparts. Further, they weigh less and will not give you a lot of difficulties during movement.
Lastly, we have the hybrid jacks. These are a combination of both steel and aluminum materials. They are neither heavy nor pricey. Some parts such as the lift arms are made of steel while the others are aluminum.
What size floor jack do I need?
You are planning to shop for a floor jack but have no idea which size is right for your vehicle. There are certain vital factors you need to consider so as to determine the right size.
Size of the Vehicle
How big is your vehicle? This literally means the weight of the car. According to experts, a floor jack should weigh about one third of the vehicle’s weight. For example, if your car has a weight of 6000 tones, the floor jack should be 2000 tones. This ensures that the jack does not strain because of the car’s weight. At no point should the weight of the car be more than the jack’s lifting capacity.
Height of Vehicle
How high or how low is your vehicle? There is the aspect about ground clearance that defines the height between the ground and the point where the floor jack is. A car that is low needs a jack that fits under it comfortably such as the scissor jack. You can still use hydraulic jacks on a low profile car because you can adjust the ground clearance.
Nevertheless, vehicles that are high need bottle jacks because they can adjust to maximum heights and are good for trucks. And if your vehicle is neither high nor low, any size of jack can work as long as it fits correctly.
Purpose of the jack
What do you plan to use the floor jack for? If you need it to change flat tires by the roadside, then a scissors jack is the most suitable. For the purposes of repairing and maintaining underneath your vehicle, use the bottle or hydraulic jack. Through this, you are able to determine the size of jack you need for whatever operation you want to perform on your car.
The size, weight and height of your vehicle answer the question, what size floor jack do I need? Also, it is important to know the purposes of the floor jack beforehand. This will help you make a decision on the size you will need. What you need to understand is that the vehicle’s weight should not outweigh the jack’s lifting capacity. That way, the output will be great.