A Basic Guide To Floor Jacks
Whenever working on your car, there is nothing that proves more valuable than having the right tools for the job. Among these, a floor jack is one of the most important tools that you will never miss even in a shade tree garage. That said, we must appreciate that there are various types of floor jacks and their uses vary. Before you become your own mechanic, you should understand what defines a good jack as well as the safety mechanisms that you should put in place. Left in the dark? The following guide comes to your aid.
Factors to consider when buying a floor jack
The type of cars that you expect to service
Right from steel floor jacks to aluminium jacks, the type of cars that you expect to service should top the list of factors considered when buying a particular type of jack. Ground clearance makes the base when choosing jacks in this case. Simply put, ground clearance defines how high above the ground your car sits. Any car with low ground endurance can be lifted easily using a hydraulic jack. This jack is suitable for most people as well as cars, a reason why you should settle for such when you have vehicles such as sedans, vans, trucks and coupes.
The amount of weight that a particular jack will support is crucial because it determines the cars that will be serviced using that particular jack. The typical hand-operated hydraulic floor jacks can safely lift from 1.5 to 20 tons. As a rule of the thumb, your floor jack’s maximum lifting capacity should be higher than the weight of your vehicle. When opting to buy such jacks, therefore, assess the weight of vehicles that you expect to service and go for a jack whose lifting capacity is above the average.
Its lifting speed
If you have handled jacks before, perhaps you understand that standard jacks take approximately 8-10 strokes of the lifting bar to hit their full-high. If you require a jack that hits its full-high in just 3-6 strokes, then you have to choose a jack that has a swift lifting mechanisms or rather dual lifting pistons.
You will come across steel and aluminium jacks, all of which have different potentials. For a jack that will be used in and around the garage alone, steel is the best bet. Although such Jacks are relatively heavier, they can handle most of your lifting needs when you need all the time and attention to service your car. If you need a jack that you will be moving with on the other hand, aluminum makes the best option as the material is light and therefore convenient to carry around.
Having reviewed what you need to know when buying a floor jack, the next important point is understanding the various safety mechanisms when using such jacks. Here is the insight:
Floor Jack Safety Tips
Always use jack stands
Regardless of its maximum lifting capacity, it is not advisable to trust your jack that it will lift the entire vehicle. Mechanical components designed to move are bound to fail at a higher rate than any other devices, a reason why you should use jack stands at any given point. Whenever there is wear on the hydraulic components, the slow descent on your car can go unnoticed and therefore result in fatal accidents.
Raise your car on level ground
Never raise your car on any other terrain unless it is a level ground. If your jack rests at an angle, there is a tipping hazard that arises and the car is therefore likely to fall.
Lift and lower the car slowly
The speed at which you lift and lower the car will determine whether you notice problems early enough. Lowering the car swiftly results in a variety of scenarios where the car is likely to get damaged, a reason why you ought to maintain extra care.
Irrespective of the type of jack, therefore, it is important to understand the basics relating to their purchase and operation. Pay close attention to the important factors governing the purchase of floor jacks and keep in mind the safety mechanisms in order to have a good moment with your car.