Whilst you probably already know this, it is better to clear things up first! A hydraulic jack is a small yet mighty device which uses force to lift up heavy loads (i.e. a truck) and it uses a hydraulic cylinder to do this.
A hydraulic jack creates high levels of pressure through moving oil between two cylinders with a pump plunger. This plunger is pulled back which opens a suction valve and draws in oil. As the plunger is pushed down, the oil gets pulled through a discharge valve and into the cylinder’s chamber. This suction valve then closes, causing a massive amount of pressure to build up within the chamber and forcing the piston to rise. This piston then lifts the truck up until the pressure is released… simple, sort of!
Not all jacks are up to the job of lifting a truck, though, and it is very important to choose the right one. It’s very dangerous using the wrong kind of jack and can lead to serious injury. The trucker section website has lots of useful guides and information about truck maintenance, so it is worth checking them out to learn more.
Here are three questions to ask yourself when choosing a hydraulic jack:
#1: What Am I Lifting?
Possibly the most important question to ask yourself is what you’re lifting. Depending on the vehicle you are lifting, you will need the right equipment – you don’t use the same equipment used on a two-tonne car to lift a ten-tonne truck!
In choosing the right jack, look at its capacity; there are various sizes of hydraulic jack which have a lifting capacity from 2 tonnes all the way up to 150 tonnes and beyond! It’s a very simple question which has an obvious answer: if you have a ten-tonne truck, don’t get a five-tonne jack.
#2: How Much Space Do I Have?
Your jack is going to be pretty useless if you can’t fit it under your truck to actually lift it up! Many trucks (and even cars) are getting lower, which requires a more compact jack.
It’s not usually a massive issue, but it is something worth having a look at, especially if you’ve got an ultra-modern truck with a low amount of ground clearance.
#3: How Much Lifting Height Do I Need?
Some jacks are limited on how high they can lift an object (in this case, your truck). Different jacks have different lifting heights which largely depend on the number of steps the jack’s piston has – the more steps, the higher the piston can lift your truck.
Rather helpfully, manufacturers will typically state the extent to which their jack can lift an object, so it is just a case of properly reading the product description and specifics of the jack before making your purchase.
Buying a jack isn’t a complicated process, but many people make the mistake of buying an unsuitable jack because they have not considered a few simple questions before going out and buying one. Buying the wrong jack can have terrible consequences and cause damage to your truck, or even yourself!