The Proper Way to Maintain a Floor Jack
Although hydraulic floor jacks are generally hardwearing, there are some that are prone to leaks and minor malfunction. This maintenance guide will give you step-by-step instructions on troubleshooting your floor jack.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools that you'll need:
- Floor jack fluid
- Hydraulic floor jack
- Clean rags
Step 1: Inspect the hydraulic floor jack for outward signs of damage. Look for any missing, loose, or damaged parts, leaks, or cracked welding. When examining the jack, check its ram pistons for corrosion or pitting. If the ram pistons are damaged, the ram may fail to work properly, making the jack unstable and unfit for use.
Step 2: Check the floor jack parts. Start by turning its handle to close its release valve. Then, bring up the hydraulic piston by pumping the handle. Every pump should raise the saddle by a few inches. Observe the jack's movement as it goes up and down. If the movements are jerky, check the ram pistons for pockmarks.
Step 3: Check your hydraulic floor jack fluid levels. Remove its oil plug and check inside the fluid chamber. The fluid level should rest about 0.25 inches above the cylinder. If fluid levels fall below this point, add more fluid.
Step 4: Test the floor jack by raising a part of your vehicle. Make sure to place the floor jack's saddle on a secure lifting point on your ride to prevent subframe or floorboard damage. If the jack can't lift the load properly, then it's time to check the tightness of your release valve. If the release valve is fine, then you may be looking at hydraulic malfunction. In this event, it's best not to use the jack until it has been repaired.
- Never overload your floor jack. Before use, check its weight rating and the axle weight on the vehicle. Your car's axle weight can be found on the door jamb (driver's side).
- Always use the right hydraulic fluid for your floor jack.