By Chris Ward, January 1, 2019
At one time, you will need to change a spare tire on the side of the road or do some maintenance in the garage. When doing either of these activities, you will need to get at least one wheel off the ground. You will need a good quality jack to get the wheel off the ground or to lift the car allowing you to crawl under it when doing some maintenance. A good jack should lift your vehicle without causing any damage. The jack should also provide the right lift distance, the right weight, and promise smooth movement.
This article provides you with five tips to buying the best car jack.
- Capacity. Jack capacity is the weight rating for a car jack. A good jack should have a rating for at least three-quarter of a vehicle’s gross weight. As such, a one-and-a-half-ton jack could lift a car that weighs as much as 4,000 pounds. A jack does not have to raise the entire weight of the vehicle, but it has to lift half the weight. However, if you operate at the limit of the jack’s ability, it will get tough to raise the car, and you will leave no room for error. You need to look for a good car jack that is rated for your vehicle’s weight.
- Lift Distance and Speed. Lift distance is a measure of how high the jack can safely raise your car. You will need a jack that gives you enough room to do what you want. Do not forget that wheels and suspension play will add to the lift distance required. Taller vehicles will need a jack with higher lift distance. Pay attention to the number of pistons. Dual piston jacks will get to a full height more quickly than single piston models. However, the speed does not have an impact on operability.
- Weight. Here, we are referring to the weight of the jack. Most floor jacks are heavy, but some are heavier than others are, thus affecting mobility. The weight of the jack will determine how easy it is to carry. When buying the best jack, consider your needs. Will you be using the jack in your garage, or will you use it in other locations?
- Movement. Most jacks have wheels, but not all wheels are equal. In addition, some jacks do not have wheels like the OEM jack in the trunk. When purchasing the best jack, make sure that it offers natural movement if you will be using it in your garage. If you want a jack to use on the road, look for a wide, flat bottom jack for better stability.
- Price. Floor jacks come in two price ranges: economy ($30 to $ 40) and semi-pro ($65 to $99). Economy jacks have a short wheelbase, a narrow width, and a small “saddle.” You have to crawl under your car to place it in the right position for jacking. Semi-pro jack has a broader, more stable wheelbase, a high lift, and a long pump handle. You do not have to crawl under the vehicle to place it in the right position. However, they take up more garage space.
Make sure you read reviews on the best car jacks for better decision making.