While working on a car, you will need to access the underneath of the car and that will require a carjack. The main purpose of the jack here will be to lift the car off the ground by a few inches. Having a jack in the trunk of your car is, therefore, a must for emergencies. When we choose the right jack and properly maintain it, it can have a life of up to a decade. Choosing the right jack is thus a necessity. For choosing the right jack, you should have a basic knowledge of the different types of car jacks available in the market. This article will help you gain that basic knowledge.
1. Introduction to Car Jacks
A carjack is a mechanical device that is used to raise a car from the ground by a few inches. These are designed in such a way that the user will require a small amount of energy to lift the car a few inches to perform the required mechanical work with ease.
2. Importance of Car Jacks
The basic function of a car jack is changing tires. But the use is not restricted to that and is extended further. The maintenance of the car periodically is a must and for this, a good carjack is the most important requirement. These are essential to carry out minor modifications and repairs, an inspection of brakes, replacement of oils, etc. A vehicle lifted ensures that the job is completed much more easily. These are used along with jack stands, which will ensure that the vehicle will be lifted safely and supported securely to make sure that the repair can be done securely beneath the car.
3. Choosing the Right Jack
When you want to invest in buying a new carjack, the key factors are the cost and the ease with which you can use the jack. Mostly, the carjack is manually operated where you need to apply some effort to lift the vehicle. Four main important factors need to be taken into consideration while choosing the right jack that are:
- Type of vehicle you want to use CarJack for
- Material of the CarJack
- Maximum Weight Capacity of the CarJack
- Maximum Lifting Capacity of the CarJack
There are a wide variety of vehicles ranging from economy cars to heavy trucks and each of these requires a different carjack for the operation. The material selection may range from steel to aluminum to hybrid of these depending on the strength requirements. The maximum weight capacity depends on the weight of the vehicle you want to lift and the maximum lifting capacity depends on the maximum height you want to lift the vehicle. These two are the most important factors and should be chosen accurately and precisely.
- How to Identify Jack Points on a Car?
- Where to Put the Jack When Changing a Tire?
- How to Use a Hydraulic Jack? – Step by Step Guide
4. Types of Car Jacks
Browsing through the internet, you will see different types of car jacks each with its unique characteristics. We need to inspect the 4 most used car jacks in the market, knowing both the pros and cons which will help a great deal with the selection of the most suitable carjack.
The oldest carjack is the scissor jack. This is the most cost-efficient carjack in the market. They are compact and portable which makes them the leading options in the market when you are looking for an option to carry inside the trunk of the car for emergencies. During purchasing these carjacks, ensure that you look closely at the basic factors including the minimum and maximum height achieved and the maximum weight capacity of the carjack. Scissor jacks require a lot of effort for turning the handle which will make them ineffective when used with heavy vehicles.
Fig: Scissor Jack
Floor Jacks or Trolley Jacks:
The most widely used car jack is the floor jack or trolley jack. It can be easily carried around using the four wheels and the handle helps the user to easily pump the hydraulic lift to raise the car from the ground. It will raise and bring down the vehicle in less than ten pumps. This carjack will come in very handy while changing the tire and making minor modifications and repairs. The drawbacks of the floor jack are that it will take a significant amount of space and can not be used with tall or very heavy vehicles. Ensure that you choose a jack that has been approved to lift the weight of your vehicle.
Fig: Floor Jack
This type of jack will work on the principle of Pascal’s law which means you will have to apply a small pressure on the lever of the jack which will help you to raise even the heavy vehicles easily. There are various types of hydraulic jacks available in the market, we will here focus on the bottle jacks as the other car jacks are more expensive and are designed for workshops specifically. Most of these models have a wider base size for more stability. These are compact and have wide-ranging lift capacities.
Fig: Bottle Jack
The Electric Jack has a motor that will help you automate the car lifting using a simple remote control. In this way, you can use the jack much more comfortably than the above three. Electric jacks are present in wide varieties, so you have to properly inspect the required maximum weight capacity of the jack and the required maximum lifting height achieved by the jack.
Fig: Electric Jack
5. Precautions to be taken while using Car Jacks
- Properly follow the instructions given in the owner’s manual.
- Ensure that you support the vehicle on the jack stand before going underneath it. Never go beneath the vehicle while it is supported only on the car jack.
- Never start or run the engine when the vehicle is supported on the jack.
- Ensure that the vehicle is on a leveled ground before jacking.
- Ensure that you position the jack properly in the jack point otherwise it may lead to serious injuries.
- Check the jack for any damages before using it otherwise this will cause serious damage.
- What is the right jack for a car?
The right carjack will depend on a variety of factors such as the Type of Vehicle you want to use CarJack for, the Material of the CarJack, the Maximum Weight Capacity of the CarJack, and the Maximum Lifting Capacity of the CarJack and is different for a different vehicle.
2. Is a 2-ton jack enough for a car?
A two-ton jack is enough for most sedans and small cars. But in case you have a pickup truck or SUV, that will require twice that weight capacity.
3. Are Scissor Jacks Safe?
The scissor jacks are safe as long as you select the one with the right ratings. Choosing the wrong rating can cause the failure of the jack and severe damage to the user and the vehicle.