Stuff We Use: Hydraulic Floor Jacks


stuff we use hydraulic floor jacks

On our never-ending quest to improve this place by listening to feedback from the B&B, we are taking a new tack with these product posts, choosing instead to focus on items we use and have purchased with our own meagre income. After all, if we’re giving you the truth about cars, we ought to give you the truth about car accessories.


We recognize there’s no shortage of items we’d like to improve around this place to make it a better experience for our B&B, not the least of which is implementing an ability to deign every single one of you with a vehicle from the Panther platform.


But until the pencil-necked VerticalScope accountants permit that largesse, we’ll have to be content with the fact we’ve come to learn you lot pretty well over the years – and, as such, we know you’re all bringing home hopeless hoopties which will eventually require the services of a hydraulic floor jack.


With that in mind, here are a pair of jacks – or reasonable facsimiles thereof – which have inhabited this writer’s various garages over the last couple of decades. First up is the brute which sees regular duty in the present day. Rated at three tons, this red runner has never failed to raise (and keep elevated with a pair of robust jack stands, of course) whatever vehicle it has been slung under. As a point of order, my jack is of the Motomaster brand from Canadian Tire, though close inspection of the photos for this Amazon-sourced jack seems to suggest it is all but identical. The thing rolls easily enough, with the handle having enough gumption to endure my predilection to use it as a grip point for raising the jack’s rear wheels over an obstacle.

stuff we use hydraulic floor jacks


And, yes, the wheels are just as loud as you think when this jack is being rolled across a concrete floor or tarmac driveway. With a volume and pitch loud enough to wake the dead – or at least every neighbor for three blocks – the writers of TTAC would like to petition jack manufacturers to start installing rubber wheels or at least wrap the things in a rubber-like material. There’s probably a very good durability reason why they don’t do this already.


But no such complaints are leveled at this jack’s ease of use, with just a few quick heaves of the handle required to make contact with a car’s jack point and send the thing skyward. One feature mine has that this linked item does not seem to possess is a small auxiliary handle jutting out from just under the main one, right about the place where the one shown here has a plain black cylinder shape flange. This little handle permits raising of the jack in close quarters where the long handle would be tough to move up and down. It’s a brilliant feature and one all hands should look for in their next three-ton jack.


About the only complaint I have, and it is not minor, concern the perpendicular gears which are supposed to mesh when the handle is spun to release hydraulic pressure and lower the car. It took approximately no time at all for those gear to become misaligned, meaning the handle spins uselessly when trying to lower a car (or reset the jack for its next use). For years, I’ve simply been using a flathead screwdriver and hammer to spin the offending gear when required, an approach which works just fine. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

Prior to this three-ton brute, I owned a little two-ton solution similar to this unit. It served its purpose well as a floor jack for hoisting a terribly knackered Ford Escort when this dirt poor university student tried to save money by changing the oil in his own car (and the cars of friends, it must be said). I recall the jack pad – that part which actually makes contact with the vehicle – to be hilariously undersized, resulting in me adding a length of 2×4 lumber to the jack pad which would then be sandwiched between the jack and the car. This helped enlarge the car/jack contact surface and (maybe) distributed weight loads a bit more.

stuff we use hydraulic floor jacks


The handle on this little hoist was easily removable, kept in place whilst on task by a notch and groove arrangement between the handle and its holder. Despite repeated abuse over a series of years, it never once popped out of place or caused any problems other than my own brain dead moments in which I tripped over the damn thing. When (intentionally) removed, it was the perfect size to lodge on the left or right side for simple storage just above the wheels. That plastic handle was useless and broke almost instantly.


As with all articles talking about car repair and lifting the things off terra firma, our lawyers are sternly reminding us to exhort that users of these tools need to read and heed all of the various warnings and instructions that accompany these things. Stay alert, be safe, and don’t do anything stupid. 


With that statement off our collective plates, we’ll be glad if one of these selections will suit. As planned, this series of posts will continue to focus on items we actually use and have bought with our own money. We hope you found this one helpful.

[Images: The Author]

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