How To Choose the Correct Jack for Your Vehicle

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A car jack is one of the most important tools to have in your garage. Without a jack, you can’t safely get under your vehicle for routine maintenance or repairs. With a variety of jack stands at AutoZone, follow the tips below to find the right car jack for your needs.

Assess the Weight and Size of Your Vehicle

Before purchasing a jack, you need to consider the weight of your vehicle. Look in your owner’s manual or at the sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb. Find the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), the amount of weight your vehicle can carry. Many cars will split the weight into two numbers, a front and rear weight.

Different jacks are rated to lift different amounts of weight. Once you know your vehicle’s tonnage, go for a jack that can lift at least three-quarters of your car’s gross weight. For most small cars, a two-ton jack will be able to lift a corner of the vehicle. For heavier SUVs and trucks, go with a jack rated to lift four tons. Keep in mind that the higher the capacity, the slower the jack will be.

Find a Reach That Suits Your Vehicle

If your vehicle is a lifted SUV or a lowrider, you need to consider the reach of your jack. A standard jack may not be able to lift a raised car off the ground enough for you to get under it safely. Choose a car jack with a maximum reach high enough to lift your vehicle correctly.

Choose the Right Materials

Car jacks are made from several different materials, each with pros and cons.

  • Steel: The most durable yet cheapest, but also the heaviest. Most people who have a steel jack don’t move it very far.
  • Aluminum: The least durable yet most expensive, but also the lightest. These jacks are often used for roadside assistance or mobile repairs.
  • Hybrid: Average durability, cost and weight. Made from both aluminum and steel, these jacks are relatively new to the market and are used by those who don’t like the weight of steel jacks.

Tips for Using a Car Jack

  • Use wood blocks or wheel chocks to keep your vehicle from rolling while you’re working.
  • For safety while performing roadside maintenance, keep a set of reflective triangles with your portable jack to set up along the side of the road.
  • Before using your jack, make sure you’re on a level surface, your vehicle is in park and the emergency brake is on.
  • Place your jack under your vehicle’s jack points to avoid damaging the underside and body of your car. Your owner’s manual will note their location.

The perfect jack is essential for safely working on your vehicle with ease. Make sure you consider how much weight the jack needs to lift, how high the arm needs to raise and what kind of material suits your needs. Find your next car jack at AutoZone and drive away with a great new tool for your garage.