Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

How to Use a Floor Jack Safely – 5 Pro Tips

How TO Use A Floor Jack Safely

In our Choosing the Best Floor Jack for Your Truck, Car, or SUV article, hydraulic lifting expert Bob Fox of Sunex Tools helped explain the differences in jack materials and capacities. In the second part of our conversation, I asked Mr. Fox for tips on how to use a floor jack safely that deal with common mistakes and misconceptions. Using a floor jack properly involves a combination of common sense and proper technique.

Use a Floor Jack for Lifting NOT for Supporting a Load

Eventually, all hydraulic jack seals will fail. If the jack is supporting a load when the seal fails, catastrophic injury, death, and damage are likely. Use the jack only for lifting and, when the load is in position, use jack stands to support it.

How to use a floor jack safely

Only Operate Floor Jacks on a Hard, Level Surface

From the “Do we even have to say it?” files comes this gem of wisdom. A floor jack is really a hydraulic transformer (perhaps not as cool as an Autobot). As it transforms, it must push against a level surface to keep the proper point of contact with the load. If the surface is soft, it might not be able to transform in the first place. An unlevel or soft surface can cause catastrophic failure or injury when the vehicle you’re working on slips.

use a floor jack safely

Don’t Use a Floor Jack as a Dolly

It’s common to see someone use a jack as a dolly but that’s risky. The load can shift or slip off the saddle (the jack’s point of contact) and come crashing down. Aside from the damage it could cause to the vehicle, it can bend or twist jack components as well.

Balance the Load

For safe, effective lifting, you must balance the load on the jack’s saddle. Clearly, an unbalanced load can shift dangerously toward the heavy side. Also, be sure you move the jack in straight to the load rather than an angle. Going in at an angle can cause an issue as the jack transforms during the lift.

How to use a floor jack

Double Pump It Up

You can speed up the time it takes a jack to reach the load’s point of contact by using a double pump piston jack. Once under load, however, Pascal’s laws of hydraulics take over and the jack can’t lift on both the up and downstroke. Double pump piston jacks bypass one of their pumps under load and only lift on the downstroke.

double pump piston jack

Hopefully, these basic tips on using a floor jack safely helped. If it gave you a better sense of security when working under vehicles or similar, leave us a note. We also want to hear form you if you have additional tips. Just leave them in the comments below.

Related articles

Hilti Nuron Power Tools and Battery Technology

In late 2021, Hilti invited Pro Tool Reviews and a couple dozen of its “closest friends” to Switzerland. We attended the world debut of both Hilti Nuron battery technology and updated power tools. Releasing around 70 tools at the event—mostly featuring brushless motors—the launch was one of the largest we’d seen since we started covering […]

Makita Gears up for 2022 WOC

Makita is returning to the 2022 WOC (World Of Concrete) in Las Vegas next week. They plan to have an expansive and interactive booth in the new Diamond Lot outdoor exhibit area. Makita will present a full range of demonstrations for contractors. They plan to show off more cordless solutions that deliver lower noise, less […]

Table Saw Guide: How to Use a Table Saw

The heart of most woodworking shops is a table saw. Even when you have the choice of using a Festool track saw, panel saw, or any of the various types of miter saws, the table saw still reigns king for most woodworkers. Of all the tools, the best table saws provide tons of versatility. With […]

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x