Shop Equipment: How to Choose a Floor Jack – UnderhoodService

Shop Equipment: How to Choose a Floor Jack

To make the proper floor jack choice, you must first consider the vehicles that you will be working on. Are they pickup trucks with oversize tires and lift kits, or heavy-duty trucks? Do you work on performance vehicles and street tuners that are low to the ground? How about everyday tire service and grocery-getters?

When there are many different types of floor jacks to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?  Is there any one product that will meet your needs?  

To make the proper floor jack choice, you must first consider the vehicles that you will be working on. Are they pickup trucks with oversize tires and lift kits, or heavy-duty trucks?  Do you work on performance vehicles and street tuners that are low to the ground? How about everyday tire service and grocery-getters?  Floor jacks come in a variety of designs, so making the choice starts with identifying your needs and then selecting a jack that meets the criteria.  

For heavy-duty trucks, such as a bread delivery van or a pickup truck with big tires and a lift kit, choose a floor jack that has higher tonnage and lift range. The long-chassis service jacks are designed to handle heavier loads and higher than normal lift points. For example, the 4-ton and 10-ton floor jacks can lift up to 25-plus inches, giving you added lifting height required with these vehicles. They also have an additional feature that helps you lift higher loads with minimal effort. Some of these jacks have air assist that eliminates high effort pumping; instead using an air cylinder to do the heavy work for you.  

Performance vehicles and street tuners are a unique category since most of these cars are lower to the ground than the average automobile. Typically, the aluminum floor jack has improved access designed specifically for these vehicles, and therefore, can reach under some of the most wild body kits and suspension upgrades.  Another added benefit with aluminum floor jacks is that they are lighter, making them easier to move around the garage.   

For the rest of the vehicles on the road, a standard floor jack that provides versatility for a number of applications is the best choice. Heavier than the aluminum category, they provide the application range from subcompacts to light trucks. These jack designs are typically found in most automotive repair shops and tire shops. They are the workhorses of the floor jack world and represent a majority of the floor jacks in service today.

When considering the right floor jack for you, it is also important to think about jack stands. Jack stands come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Not only do the stands provide an added element of safety, but they also provide additional stability under the vehicle so you are able to do your work effectively. The heavier the load is, the wider the base and saddle is to accommodate these applications. Smaller, lighter jack stands are designed for smaller vehicles. It is important to also note that when you are selecting a jack stand, the load rating is stated for use in pairs. For example, a 6-ton rating is 3-tons each. As a pair, they offer 6-tons of load-bearing capacity when used together.  

Article courtesy of Snap-on Tools.

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