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What is a Floor Jack?

A floor jack is an essential tool for lifting vehicles, allowing you to perform maintenance or change a tire with ease. It uses hydraulic power to provide a stable lift, ensuring safety and efficiency. With a floor jack, car care becomes a manageable task. Curious about how to choose and use one safely? Let's explore the mechanics behind this indispensable garage ally.
Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

There are three different types of floor jacks. Two are used in homes and businesses, while the other is used in automotive repair shops. Though the name is the same, each type is used in completely different ways.

When floor joists are sagging or foundation walls are crumbling in a home, a floor jack is used to prop a house up in order to replace the foundation walls or to support the floors while replacement joists are added to the original framework. Once the foundation is repaired or replaced, the house is gently lowered and secured to the new foundation.

Jacks are used in racing to lift each side of the car to change tires out quickly.
Jacks are used in racing to lift each side of the car to change tires out quickly.

If the foundation of the home is in good shape, there is also a type of floor jack that is basically a solid metal pole with a flat end. The flat end is placed under the house’s main beam and cranked tightly into place. This solid post helps support the main joists and prevent sagging. Without proper attention, sagging or rotting floor joists will eventually collapse.

Another type of jack that is given this name is used for telephone and cable adaptors. It contains the phone plug-in or data plug-in port and can be sunk into the flooring or mounted on the baseboard in the area where the floor and wall meet. This jack is usually pre-wired, so it only needs to be connected to existing telephone or data wiring within the home and then mounted into place.

An automotive floor jack uses hydraulics to raise and lower heavy vehicles, usually personal cars and trucks. It is placed flat on the ground during use. Every automotive jack is rated for different weights, generally ranging from 2 to 20 tons (1,814 to 18,143 kg). The hydraulic lift system can be used to easily lift heavy vehicles simply by pumping the long arm extending from the jack’s body. In this way, the jack allows the mechanic to change the tires or to remove them in order to check brake systems, examine undercarriage damage, or check exhaust pipes, among other applications.

In most cases, a hydraulic lift is used instead of a jack when it comes to car repair shops. For quick tire changes and undercarriage checks, however, a floor jack is the best tool. In addition, it is commonly used in racing to lift each side of the car and to change the tires out quickly.

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Discussion Comments


I want the history of floor jacks and I can't seem to find it anywhere, except for a few vague ideas of who it was invented by. I would love some assistance if it could be given.


I am interested in finding the type of floor jack that fits in the floor and in which an electrical outlet is placed. Robert

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    • Jacks are used in racing to lift each side of the car to change tires out quickly.
      By: Christopher Dodge
      Jacks are used in racing to lift each side of the car to change tires out quickly.