Whether you love working on your beloved vehicle or own an expert workshop, high-quality floor jacks are necessary for any garage. Weekend DIYers and car enthusiasts are fully aware of the convenience brought about by this tool. A jack is an essential requirement each time you wish to raise your vehicle for various reasons.
You require a functional jack to perform minor maintenance tasks like brake services and oil changes to more complex jobs such as transmission or clutch replacement.
Nonetheless, not every regular jack is created the same. Though many commercial jacks may be utilized on typical vehicles, you may require something different, like a hybrid floor jack, depending on whether you are working on a low-profile vehicle or a larger truck. For example, you will need to search for high-end jacks tailored to lift trucks for higher-than-normal truck owners, and a tuner will instead require a low-profile model.
Which Car Jack Do I Need?
Before contemplating vehicle repairs or maintenance, you should know how to pick a car jack.
Gravity maintains the truck or car firmly fixed on the pavement, and therefore the lifting capacity is a significant consideration when choosing a jack. Typically, cars weigh about 1,500kg, with some SUVs and trucks weighing up to 3,000 kgs. Therefore, you will need jack stands and a car jack while working on them.
How should you then pick the correct car jack for your particular application? There are various jacks to choose from when you want to lift a car, like a floor jack, scissor jack, farm jack, screw jack, Z-jack, and bottle jack. Our article focuses on the floor jack, particularly the low-profile floor jack.
The Floor Jack
A floor jack is a stable, strong, and easy to maneuver tool used to lift vehicles more easily while offering a more rapid lifting process than other pricier tools. A wide floor jack offers extra safety features and greater stability than a narrow trolley jack. Since the lift arm moves in a curve, you require a smooth surface to facilitate movement of the jack frame beneath the vehicle. This is the perfect choice from an operator safety point of view since it is stable and offers sufficient room to insert a jack stand.
A floor jack may be termed a low-profile jack for low cars like sports cars and other lowered vehicles. On the other hand, a regular jack may provide maximum lift height capabilities and are thus perfect for SUVs and trucks.
A mechanic’s toolbox with the best low-profile floor jack makes the task easier and more efficient, particularly due to the rapid lifting feature.
Factors To Consider When Picking the Best Low Profile Floor Jack
If you value your car a lot, you might be reluctant to lift it with any floor jack offering maximum height. Therefore, before settling on the best low-profile floor jack to buy for your personal use or mechanic’s tool kit, you must be familiar with this handy tool. Below, we have highlighted the most crucial aspects of low-profile floor jack’s for you to make an informed decision while buying.
Electric Vs. Manual
We have two kinds of jacks when it comes to tools for jacking up your vehicle: electric and manual.
- Electric jacks are usually scissor-style. They serve by turning a big screw and pulling a pair of hinged joints together, pushing up the lifting platform, lifting the vehicle. From their design, the jacks cannot be low profile. The shortest of the scissor jacks are over 5 inches tall, too tall for a majority of the low-profile vehicles. Therefore, if you choose an electric jack, it will not be low profile; a manual jack is the way to go.
- Manual jacks are available in a wide array of styles, using hydraulic pressure to lift vehicles. The arms of floor jacks are long, with the wheels sliding beneath the vehicle and an extended, knurled grip handle pivoting up and down. As you lift and lower the handle, hydraulic fluid is pumped through the system, lifting the arm until it lifts the vehicle.
Type of Material
Dependent on your jack model of choice, low-profile floor jacks can lift loads of between 2,000 to 8,000 pounds. Therefore, the jack must be made of superior quality materials as durability and strength are paramount.
Most floor jacks have an all-steel construction. Though the durable steel frame significantly contributes to the jacks’ weight, usually about 100 pounds, it consequently makes them strong. Therefore, you would want to use steel while lifting extremely heavy vehicles. Though it might rust with time, some regular pivot lubrication and frequent maintenance following every use should help with this.
On the flip side, a lightweight aluminum construction floor jack is a lightweight construction, at times weighing only 50 pounds, and fully capable of lifting many vehicles. In addition, you can easily roll the jacks around, they do not rust, and are sufficiently sturdy to lift the front of your vehicle off the ground without any challenge, thanks to the durable steel frame. The aircraft-grade aluminum construction lightweight floor jack might be your favorite aluminum jack largely because of the convenient weight.
The lifting arm is probably the most essential part of low-profile floor jacks. Though vehicles with great ride heights might not need uniquely designed jacks, lower vehicles such as modified and performance cars require something capable of getting to the jacking point of the vehicle without causing body damage. Therefore, the lifting arm design is a crucial consideration.
A classic floor jack arm slopes down to your lifting point, while many low-profile floor arms sharply curve to offer more clearance as you slide under the vehicle. This lets the jack’s lifting point get to the vehicle’s jacking point without causing damage to the body or crushing side skirts.
The whole idea of a low profile design floor jack is offering a bottom height that is sufficiently low to go underneath a low-riding vehicle while still being able to offer sufficient maximum height to lift the vehicle from the ground. Most of the best low-profile floor jacks have three or 3.5 inches bottom height, facilitating their ability to scoop lowered vehicles from the ground.
A floor jack’s lifting point is also known as a saddle. The size of the saddle can be a major consideration while choosing a floor jack. Reduced saddle sizes focus more pressure on a reduced region, which may lead to the caving of the jacking point in older vehicles. Additionally, an inch or two across, reduced saddle sizes may be challenging to place on bigger suspension components, like a ball joint or A-arm.
Nonetheless, a larger saddle, about three or four inches wide, may be burdensome to operate around fuel lines, brake lines, and other open components of compact vehicles. Therefore, you will have to be cautious with the larger saddles, though adhering to the manufacturer’s jacking-point guidelines usually solves the problem.
An ideal low-profile floor jack should be sufficiently compact to go under the vehicle while still being a powerful tool to lift the car from the ground. Taking an average compact vehicle to weigh less than 3,000 pounds, 2-ton lifts are usually adequate for lifting the back, side, or front without any challenges.
Bearing that in mind, some muscle cars and lowered SUVs may weigh anywhere between 4,000 to 6,500 pounds, meaning 3.5-ton jack capacity should be capable of safely lifting them. Therefore, though the main consideration is the vehicle type being lifted, it would be safer to use more jack than required instead of a jack at its maximum weight capacity.
Rollers and Handles
A floor jack handle is what you will use to pump hydraulic fluid into the lifting mechanism to lift a vehicle. A longer handle makes pumping up the system easier. Additionally, such a handle is also helpful as you pull a large floor jack around; therefore, it is best to find one having a knurled grip for optimum grip.
Floor jacks are typically heavy, but the loads they are used to carry are usually heavier material. Therefore, rubber wheels are not sufficient. Instead, robust steel, polyethylene, and rugged nylon wheels will make for the perfect jack in such applications. Durable nylon wheels, for example, have greater capabilities of handling the extra weight of the lifted vehicle and still roll relatively smooth across your garage floor.
A point you should always bear in mind is that floor jacks are not significantly easy to steer, maneuver, or roll. Therefore there is a great probability that they will frustrate you if you are a new user. Their main task is to get beneath the vehicle and lift it, not do figure eights on your garage floor.
A low-profile jack is a straightforward tool. It is a jack, offering the lowest lifting capabilities than typical jacks. However, picking the best might be challenging due to the various models and variations available, including the knurled grip and hybrid construction.
This article assists you in making an informed decision on which feature-loaded high-quality floor jack to invest in by equipping you with practical information and features of floor jacks to look for while deciding between various low-profile floor jacks.