A jack is a device constructed to lift heavy objects off the ground easily. A jack depending on the method of force generation can be classified into three types namely Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electric Jacks. Out of these, Hydraulic Jacks come in handy for a variety of operations and are known to be the most useful jacks of all as these require lesser effort to lift the object than the mechanical ones and also are a safer option than the electric ones. In this article, we will try to gain some knowledge about hydraulic jacks and get to know how to use them.

Introduction to Hydraulic Jacks:

floor jack

A hydraulic jack is a device consisting of mechanical arrangements that use the fluid power for operating these jacks. Using a hydraulic jack, even by applying a small force you can easily raise heavy loads off the ground. These devices are based on Pascal’s Law. The pressure that is applied by you on the fluid inside the container will be equally distributed in all directions. The components present in a hydraulic jack consist of containers (usually cylinders), a pumping system, and hydraulic fluid (usually oil). The pressure exerted by the fluid on all points of the cylinders is the same but the force that is produced by the larger cylinder is greater and it is in direct proportion to the surface area of the cylinder thus the larger cylinder experiences a multiplication effect on the force.

Uses of Hydraulic Jacks:

A Hydraulic Jack has a variety of applications ranging from small-scale applications or large-scale applications. These can be used in the railways, in the defense, as earthmoving equipment, in the aeronautical, as material handling equipment, in the hydropower plants, during mining, and in lifting the platforms. Providing a stable transmission movement even under varying or maximum load conditions makes the hydraulic jacks suitable for these applications.

Types of Hydraulic Jack:

There are two types of Hydraulic Jacks which are as follows:

1. Bottle Jack:

Bottle Jack

These are also called Hand Jacks and these provide an easy and effective way for raising the vehicle for carrying out the repairs, modifications, and inspection. These have a wide range of size and lifting capacities.

2. Floor Jack: 

floor jack

These jacks are also called Trolley Jacks, also known as floor jacks, are unlike bottle jacks which operate vertically. These jacks have a greater range of lifting heights than the bottle jacks and may be available in two sizes namely, small and large.

Out of these two, the floor jacks are costlier but safer options and if used properly can last for a long period. On the other hand, bottle jacks are cheaper, easy to transport but a lesser safer option than floor jacks. Bottle jacks can’t fit underneath cars having low ground clearance while the floor jacks can fit beneath the cars easily. Due to the presence of a wider base in floor jacks, they are more stable as the weight is distributed more evenly in this case. The choice of the hydraulic jack depends on the requirements of the customer.

Steps to use a Hydraulic Jack:

These are the steps that must be followed for using a Hydraulic Jack

  • Step-1: Start by locating the jacking points that are found, usually one foot in front of the wheel or one foot behind the wheel that you are operating on. Read the owner’s manual for any trouble in locating the jacking points.

Fig 2: Locating Jacking Points for the vehicle

  • Step – 2: Ensure the ground on which you are using the jack is leveled and block the wheel using wheel chocks and apply the parking brakes to prevent rolling. Check for any damages on the hydraulic jack to ensure the safety of the user.
  • Step – 3: Place the jack on the jacking point of the car such that they are in a stable position.
  • Step – 4: The hydraulic jack should be checked for any damages before being used to lift the car.
  • Step – 5: The car is jacked up by moving the lever/handle on the hydraulic jack up and down which helps to lift the car off the ground.
  • Step – 6: The jack stands are placed beneath the axle-stand points under the car. Note that they should never be placed under the axle itself. Refer to the owner’s manual to be sure about the location of the axle-stand points.
  • Step – 7: Start working on your car and after you finish working remove the jack stand.
  • Step – 8: The car is lowered until the jack no longer supports the weight of the car.

To know more clearly about How to use a Hydraulic Jack, Watch the video carefully

Precautions to be Taken While Using Hydraulic Jacks:

  1. Ensure that the weight of the car is less than the maximum lifting capacity of the jack before using it to prevent any serious damages.
  2. The wheels should be blocked and parking brakes should be applied before lifting the car.
  3. Ensure that the hydraulic jack does not have any damages by lifting a heavy object and checking for any damages in it.
  4. Ensure that the jack is positioned under the jacking point to prevent any serious damages.
  5. The hydraulic jack should be used only to lift the car and not to support the car. For supporting the car, the jack stands should be used.


  • Are the Hydraulic Jacks safe to use?

Hydraulic Jacks are safe to use as long as you follow the proper set of instructions while using them and take precautionary measures. You should check the specifications of the jack before using it.

  • Where should you place the jack under the car?

The jacks should be placed under the jacking points of the car for the proper lifting of the car. Refer to the owner’s manual to find out the jack points.