Jack Pad Buyer’s Guide
- Jacking up your vehicle requires the use of a reliable floor jack and a pair or set of jack stands. Wheel chocks are also important to keep your vehicle from moving. Another important component that can help improve jacking safety is the jack pad.
- Jack pads, also referred to as jack saddle pads or jacking pads, are rubber or plastic pads that are placed in between your floor jack or jack stand and your vehicle’s jacking points.
- Although some think that jack pads aren’t needed when lifting up their car, there are several important benefits of using jack pads.
- Jack pad benefits include: proper force distribution, chassis paint protection, and more stability when jacking up a vehicle.
- When choosing jack pads, make sure they are compatible with your floor jack or jack stand and with the jacking points in your vehicle.
- Jack pads can be bought individually, in pairs, or in sets of four. Individually sold aftermarket jack pads cost around $10 to $30 while jack pad sets can cost anywhere from $20 to $100.
If you’re planning on doing any repairs or replacements to your vehicle that would require you to lift it up, knowing how to jack up your car safely is absolutely essential. Safe vehicle lifting is a must for any mechanic, car enthusiast, or DIYer, and one of the key things to learn is use of proper car lifting equipment.
Jacking up your car, truck, or any other vehicle requires the use of a reliable floor jack and a pair or set of jack stands. Wheel chocks are also important to keep your vehicle from moving. Another important component that can help improve jacking safety is the jack pad.
What are Jack Pads?
Jack pads, also referred to as jack saddle pads or jacking pads, are rubber or plastic pads that are placed in between your floor jack or jack stand and your vehicle’s jacking points. Jack pads usually come in sets of four to match the four jacking points in a vehicle. Some vehicles come with their own floor jack and jack stands, while others require them to be purchased separately.
Benefits of Using Jack Pads
Are jack pads necessary? This is one of the most commonly asked questions by many car and truck owners when they are planning to jack up their vehicle. Although some DIYers think that jack pads aren’t needed when lifting up their car, there are actually several important benefits of using jack pads.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of using jack pads:
Help With Force Distribution While Jacking Up Your Vehicle
Many floor jacks and jack stands just have a small point of contact with your car’s jacking points. Since the force from lifting your car is concentrated on this small surface, it’s not very stable. The addition of jack pads between your jack or jack stand and your vehicle can help improve stability when lifting your vehicle.
Protect Vehicle Contact Points from Damage
This one is closely related to the benefit mentioned above. Because of the small area of contact, there’s a risk of bending or warping the metal surface of your car where it rests on the floor jack or jack stand. Jack pads protect your vehicle from sustaining any such damage.
Keep Jack from Slipping
Since most jack pads are made with high-friction materials, placing a jack pad between your floor jack or jack stand and your vehicle also reduces the risk of slipping. This keeps your vehicle more secure when lifted.
Protect Your Chassis’ Paint Job
It’s common knowledge that metal-on-metal contact can cause chipped paint and unsightly scratches. To avoid this, don’t let your car’s jacking points come in contact with the jack stand or jack directly.
Types of Jack Pads
When looking for jack pads, it’s important to know the difference of the various jack pads available on the market to make sure that you’re buying the right type for your intended application.
A quick online search will usually lead you to three types of jack pads:
Floor Jack Pads
The most common type of jack used for lifting vehicles at home are floor jacks. Floor jack pads are made to fit snugly on a floor jack’s saddle or jacking pad slot so that they won’t slip or be displaced when you use your floor jack to lift your car. Floor jack pads are usually circular.
Jack Stand Pads
Jack stands are safety essentials for anyone who plans on lifting their car. A set of jack stands helps ensure that your vehicle won’t suddenly drop on you or on the ground in case your floor jack fails to support it. Jack stand pads are made to go between your jack stand and car’s jacking points. Jack stand pads are usually block-shaped with a concave upper surface.
Levelling Jack Pads
There’s another type of jack pad that is usually just used for RVs, motorhomes, and campervans. These jack pads are called levelling jack pads or stabilizing jack pads. Not to be confused with floor jack pads or jack stand pads, these jack pads are used mainly to level RVs on sloped or uneven ground. Unlike the jack pads used for jacking up cars or trucks, these jack pads are not used with floor jacks or jack stands but are placed directly under the motorhome’s jacks.
Choosing Your Jacking Pads
Jack pads might not be a car necessity, but it’s still important to consider things carefully before buying some. Poor quality jack pads can crack, bend, slip, or break while in use. This means that instead of helping you secure your car better while it’s jacked up, the wrong jack pads actually compound the safety risks.
There are three main things to consider when choosing your jack pads:
Compatibility with Car Jacking Points
Different car manufacturers outfit their vehicles with different types of jacking points. Make sure that your jack pads are made for the specific type of vehicle you have. Some common types of jacking points are:
- Pinch Welds - the most common across a variety of makes and models
- Plastic Rectangular Jacking Points - common among newer BMW vehicles
- Oval Holes or Slots - usually found in Chevrolet vehicles
- Circular Holes or Slots - found in Tesla Model vehicles
It’s important to get the right jack pads to fit your vehicle’s jacking points. In Tesla Model cars, especially, there’s a risk of damaging the battery pack if you don’t use the proper jack pads that slot right into the circular holes when you jack up your car.
Compatibility with Car Jack
Floor jacks usually have a groove or slot for your jack pads so that the pads don’t slide around when in use. Although there are universal jack pads that are designed to fit most floor jacks, it’s still important to measure the circumference of your floor jack’s saddle and ensure that the jack pads you’re buying will be a perfect fit.
Type of Material
Jack pads are usually made using one of these three materials:
- Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) or Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)
- High-Grade Rubber
- Aluminum with ABS Plastic
Metal jack pads with a plastic coating on the contact point offer the best durability, but really high-quality TPE/TPU and rubber jack pads are usually enough for typical applications.
Some jack pads have added features to improve safety. These include magnetic pads that ‘stick’ to your jack and your car. Some jack pads are also oil-repellent and have guaranteed slip-free surfaces.
How Much Do Jack Stand Pads Cost?
Jack pads can be bought individually, in pairs, or in sets of four. Individually sold aftermarket jack pads cost around $10 to $30 while jack pad sets can cost anywhere from $20 to $100.
Tips on Buying Jack Pads
Your car's jack pads is one of the little-known parts of your car that, despite its relative obscurity, actually helps make your vehicle safer and more convenient but not in the way you would expect. Mounted on strategic areas of your vehicle, the jack pads serve as the specified lifting point for the floor jack and hydraulic lift. The pad is also designed to compress, helping cushion the weight of the vehicle against the jack. And because it is placed on an area where it is constantly exposed to the elements, the jack pads would eventually deteriorate and fall out of the vehicle. And when it does happen to your car, the pads have to be replaced as soon as possible.
Choose the best material
Jack pads are usually made from the following materials:
- Rubber: The most commonly used material in jack pads, rubber is highly flexible and can serve as an effective cushion for the car to rest on. However, it is easily affected by the weather, and it can be damaged by excessive heat and frozen by the cold. Most rubber jack pads are also combined with a plastic backing for additional strength and support.
- Silicone: Silicone jack pads have the same flexibility as rubber, but they are more resilient against extreme temperatures. However, they are not as common as their rubber counterparts. They tend to be more expensive.
Make sure that it's the right fit
The biggest consideration you need to make when buying a replacement jack pad for your vehicle is its compatibility with your car. This is because jack pads available in the market today are made to conform to a specific car make and model and are not interchangeable. So before you purchase a jack pad to replace the missing or worn-out one in your car, make sure that it is actually compatible first. You can use the old jack pads as reference, but if that is not possible, you can also check the part and manufacturing number often found on the product description page of the replacement part.
How to Fix your Car's Jack Pads
Located at four specially designed stress points underneath the car, jack pads are rubber cushions that serve as the designated lift point for floor jacks and hydraulic lifts. Because of their position in the vehicle, jack pads are prone to deterioration and falling out. When a car is missing a single jack pad, it is dangerous to use a factory jack to lift the car, as the jack may slip off and dent the floor sheet metal or, even worse, fall on while you are working underneath the chassis. What's more, a missing jack pad can cause air pressure to build up via airflow up the vacant jackpad holes, leading to wind noise or damage on the headliner. So if you notice that one or more of your jack pads are missing or heavily worn out, they should be replaced as quickly as possible.
Difficulty level: Easy
- A can of undercoating spray
- Lubricant or soapy water
Step 1: Slide underneath your car and find the mounting locations of the jack pads. The jack pads are either round or rectangular in shape and are found near the front and rear door of the vehicle. If the pads have fallen off, you should be able to see the hole where the pads are plugged into instead.
Step 2: If the worn or damaged jack pad is still mounted onto the underside of your car, use the flat screwdriver to pry the pad out of its mounting hole. If the pad is covered by a protective plastic plug, push the screwdriver under the edge of the covers, to the edge of the holes and then push down in order to free the cover. The pads should become loose halfway, so all you have to do is to grab them and pull the pads out.
Step 3: Once the old pads are removed, spray around the mounting holes with undercoating spray and wide it from the inner lip of the hole and let it dry. This will make it easier for you to insert the jack pads later.
Step 4: Apply soapy water or rubber lubricant on the rubber insert of the jack pad and press it into the mount hole. We recommend using a floor hack to help press the pad firmly onto the hole. Once the pad slides in flush with the underside of the car, the installation is complete.