Best Car Jack in Comparison.
Car Jack Reviews & Buyer Guide.
A flat tire is particularly annoying on the way to a summer vacation, but with a scissor jack and a little practice changing tires, the problem is quickly solved.
In the field of commercial car repair, on the other hand, a hydraulic maneuvering jack is ideal for jacking up the car without any effort at all.
Choose a jack with sufficient lifting capacity from our test or comparison table: While a lifting capacity of one ton should be completely sufficient for small cars, you need a jack that can lift at least two tons for an SUV.
Jack Buying Guide:
How to choose the right product from the above jack test or comparison.
- In addition to hydraulic shunting jacks, there are the lightweight and mechanical scissor jacks.
- Hydraulic shunting jacks are mainly suitable for use in the workshop or under your own carport. The jacks are relatively heavy and very solid.
- In addition, you can easily jack up the car with these models by lifting movements.
Scissor jacks are actually present in every car, so that a flat tire can be fixed quickly and easily. The devices are relatively light and can be easily transported. Jacking up involves a lot of effort.
From Easter to October is summer tire season. Twice a year, a car owner must change his tires if he does not have all-weather tires. Changing tires can be more or less time-consuming depending on the motor vehicle, but the job should be done in an hour for common mid-range cars. In order for you to accomplish the wheel change, the car must be jacked up. Since most people do not have a lifting platform for their car, the good old car jack has to be used for such simple tasks. The jack is one of the most important tools for the car. But which jack should you use? Is the simple scissor jack enough, or does it have to be a hydraulic model after all? To inform you comprehensively about the common models and the correct use of a jack, the guide text to the big jack comparison 2021 should give you all the essential information on the subject.
What types of jacks are there? How do they work?
A jack is a tool and is used to ensure accessibility to a motor vehicle for repairs and maintenance. For changing wheels (such as summer tires and winter tires), the models are also used in domestic use. For changing wheels in case of breakdowns, actually every vehicle has a small scissor jack on board.
However, in the trade there are significantly more variants of the jack. According to the construction, the following types are distinguished:
- Rack and pinion jack
- Spindle jack
- Hydraulic drive
- Air cushion
Not all designations have become accepted on the market. Therefore, in the following, we would like to introduce the most important types of jacks and briefly paraphrase their design before you venture into your own jack test.
Most shunting jacks now have a hydraulic drive. The special feature of the shunting jacks is that you have rollers. This allows the jack to be transported quickly and easily to its destination. Most models have two large and non-maneuverable rollers. Steering is done by two smaller rollers that can rotate 360 °.
The jack otherwise consists of a lifting arm with a plate-shaped bearing surface. A few years ago, shunting jacks still had a chain drive with chain transmission, but now the hydraulic drive has become completely accepted. For lifting, a lever is needed to pump the hydraulic fluid into the jack’s piston, thereby lifting the car. It can be removed and is also used for maneuvering. By moving the lever up and down, the jack can be operated without much force. To lower it, a small valve is opened.
Caution: on most models, this operation requires a little dexterity to prevent the car from hitting the ground.
On inexpensive jacks, the rod must be repositioned on the valve axle. In the high-quality devices, the valve axis is connected to the hydraulic axis, so the rotation of the operating handle is quite sufficient. Most of the products in the jack comparison were shunting jacks. In addition to the shunting jacks, stamp jacks are also used, which also use a hydraulic drive. The only difference is that they do not have rollers.
- simple and fast operation
- little effort required for jacking
- safe stand
- lowering requires practice
- hydraulic systems are prone to errors
- high weight
The scissor jack has a characteristic diamond shape. With one corner it rests on the ground and the other is engaged on a slightly raised bar on the underbody of the car. The car is lifted by means of a spindle jack, which is slowly rotated. The crank must be operated by hand. The lifting and lowering process is entirely mechanical. There is no automatic lowering with this jack.
Scissor jacks are particularly suitable for mobile use. For minor breakdowns, this tool is ready in any vehicle. Due to the small base, the scissor jack can also be used on uneven surfaces. Unlike the hydraulic shunting jacks, these models do not have wheels and cannot be used for maneuvering. In addition, the stability is much worse compared to the other models.
- very light
- can be used everywhere
- especially suitable for breakdowns
- lower stability than shunting jack
- high effort to lift the vehicle
- not suitable for maneuvering
Air cushion jack
Air cushion jacks are sometimes called balloon jacks. It is a balloon made of tear-resistant plastic, which is filled with the outflowing exhaust gases of the exhaust and thus pumps up the car. The air cushion jack can also be used on soft or sandy ground. In rallying, these jacks are used. In domestic use, they have not yet gained acceptance, because the price is quite high. Nevertheless, balloon car jacks can be recommended to all people who do not want to exert effort to lift the car.
Attention: however, it is problematic that the air cushion can be destroyed by sharp objects.
In our jack comparison, these models were noticed only marginally, because they are rather cumbersome for simple home use. For normal vehicles, where the wheels are changed on flat surfaces, balloon jacks do not play a major role. If you are planning a desert vacation in Jordan, they can give very good results.
- very fast and easy lifting of the car
- easy lowering by releasing the air
- no effort at all
- high price
- correct positioning requires some practice
There are now jacks from many different manufacturers. The price range goes from 20 Euro to over 200 Euro. The manufacturers Kunzer, Rodcraft, Arcs, Goodyear, Michelin and Hi-Lift-Jack stand for high-quality jacks that have an extremely solid stand. But are they affordable for a consumer? Is a simple model from Unitec or Mannesmann perhaps enough? Or is even an access ramp for jacking up sufficient for you?
Of course, it doesn’t matter much whether you buy your jack in a workshop or on the Internet. Buying in a specialist store naturally has the advantage that you can take a close look at the jack – but your own jack test is usually not possible in the store either. When buying online, you have to rely on the manufacturer’s specifications. Customer reviews can also tell you how the model has done in various applications. How the jacks react to other surfaces such as sand or cobblestones, for example.
In our 2021 jack comparison, it was shown that the load capacity, lifting height and underride height are of particular importance.
Type and drive
Jack type and drive are relatively closely related. In our jack comparison, it has been shown that hydraulic shunting jacks usually have hydraulic drive, while scissor jacks need to be cranked mechanically.
When choosing the right type of jack, you should go by your personal preferences. For people who prefer easy pumping up and even easier pumping down, we can recommend the hydraulic shunting jacks. They are particularly suitable for use in your own workshop or under the carport, when the ground is very flat. Jacking up was particularly easy with a jack from Kunzer. The stability was also better than other vehicle jacks in this category.
There were also scissor jacks in our jack comparison. They are significantly more difficult to use, as cranking requires far more force. However, they are a good alternative if the road or path the car is on is rather uneven. In addition, these models are particularly suitable as transportable jacks.
Maximum load capacity
In order to give you some idea of the lifting capacity of a jack, we would like to give you some values of average weights of different types of cars.
Vehicle type average weight
small car 1 t – 1,2 t
sedan 1,5 t – 2 t
SUV 3 t
motor home 3,5 t
Since you usually only lift one wheel, only a quarter of the weight is usually on the jack. Therefore, a simple scissor jack with a maximum lifting capacity of 1 ton may be sufficient for a sedan. In terms of lifting capacity, the Arcs Liftmaster delivers the best result in the comparison. No other model came close to the lifting capacity of 3 tons.
Maximum lifting height
The lift height indicates how high the jack can be extended. The lift height should depend on your car. For small cars, lift heights of 30 cm are quite sufficient. For an SUV, you will need a much larger jack. In our jack comparison, there are only a few models that have a lifting height of 50 cm. Some jacks from Kunzer and the Arcs Liftmaster are such devices, which are especially suitable for motorhomes and SUVs.
The underride height indicates how small the jack can be made. For normal cars, the underride height may not be that important. For lowered cars, the underride height plays a big role. In this area, we can mainly name the simple scissor jack, because it could be made the smallest with 8 cm. Better here was only the professional model from Rodcraft RH215 with an underride height of 75 mm.
What are important tips for changing tires with the jack?
- So that you do not suffer any accidents during the wheel change, we would like to give you here the most important tips for the operation of the jack – these are especially important if you do not have the opportunity to carry out your own jack test before buying.
- You should not take wheel changing lightly, as even experts make mistakes all the time. You should heed the following tips when changing tires:
- Park your car on a hard surface that is as level as possible. Be sure to apply the parking brake.
- For your own safety, place a brake wedge or brick on the diagonally opposite wheel. If you change the front wheel on the passenger side, they should wedge the rear wheel on the driver’s side.
- If your car has separate hubcaps, you will need to remove them first. For this we can recommend the use of a chisel or a normal screwdriver. You should loosen the hubcap in several places and carefully remove it completely.
- The first thing you need to do is to loosen the lug nuts before lifting the car. You should put the lug wrench on the first bolt and loosen it by turning it counterclockwise. A lot of energy is needed especially when loosening. If you do not manage to loosen the bolt even with all your strength, you can try to move something by your body weight. In this case, you should stand on the wheel nut wrench. If this does not help, you can increase the lever by extending the wrench with another iron rod.
- If you have also loosened the other bolts, you should use the jack. The screws should only be loosened and not completely unscrewed, so that the lifting can be done without problems.
- Now you can position the jack correctly. A look in the manual can tell you where exactly the jack should be placed on your car. Usually, a jack is placed directly in front of the rear axle or behind the front wheels. If the ground is sandy or grassy, you may want to place a piece of wood under your jack.
- Lift the car slowly and steadily. When the tire is just barely touching the ground, you can unscrew the bolts. You should keep the bolts in a safe place.
- Change the height of the jack until the wheel is floating in the air. Then you can remove the wheel. The other wheel should be mounted in the correct running direction. Usually, the running direction is indicated on the shell as a small arrow. Tighten the wheel nuts as tight as you can.
- Then you can slowly lower the jack. This takes a little practice, especially with hydraulic models.
After you have lowered the car, you should once again tighten all the bolts so that the wheel does not fall off on the next trip. We recommend going to a gas station to check the tire pressure. If you haven’t used your wheels in a while, they probably need to be inflated.
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