How to Fix a Floor Jack

How to Fix a Floor Jack?

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A floor jack is one of the most useful items ever invented. Though small, it allows you to access the bottom of any heavy vehicle for easy repairs. Having a flat tire is a huge nightmare, and at times like these, floor jacks come handy.

Because floor jacks are designed to lift heavy objects, manufacturers ensure that they are as robust as possible. Nevertheless, they are still equally prone to damage. What do you, then, if your floor jack suddenly stops working? Obviously, as early as now, you need to learn how to fix a floor jack.

That’s exactly what we’ll talk about today. We’ll list common floor jack issues and provide the solution to each one. However, before that, allow us to define what a floor jack is and where it is used.

What Is a Floor Jack?

Whether its regular maintenance or replacing a worn-out tire, a floor jack is a must-have tool for car owners. Their durability and sturdiness make them a better jack than their counterparts. They are not only more reliable but are also super easy to use. Floor jacks will provide you with the right amount of stability whenever you need it.

Floor jacks are capable of lifting all kinds of cars. Steel-based floor jacks are designed for large cars, and the ones made of light metal are used for small cars.

If you like to maintain your car regularly, then you most probably need a floor jack every now and then. We suggest you get a robust floor jack with anti-rust coating and large dimensions. Keep in mind that with floor jacks, the larger the dimension, the better is the stability that it can offer.

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How to Fix a Floor Jack: Commons Issues and Their Solutions

To fix a problem with your floor jack, you need to investigate the underlying reason first. While there are many things that can go wrong, we have narrowed down some major problems and found their solutions.

1. Floor Jack Is Not Lifting

This is the most common problem. You are trying to lift your car, but the floor jack refused to do what it’s supposed to. This almost kills the purpose of using a floor jack. If a floor jack won’t lift weights, it means that it is failing to do what it was built for.

Why It Happens

Before we give out the solution, take a look at some of the reasons behind this problem.

  • Overloading
  • Low or high hydraulic levels
  • Trapped air
  • Tight release valve
  • Rust
  • Less lubrication

How to Fix It

Here’s what you can do to make your floor jack lift the heaviest weights.

  • Overloading

Check your floor jack’s lifting capacity. Make sure that you are not trying to lift a car that weighs more than the floor jack’s capacity. Most floor jacks come with a safety feature. In case of an overload, this feature makes the floor jack stop working.

You can check the car’s weight, which is written on the door pillar. In general, you can lift small trucks and regular cars using a floor jack with two to three tons of lifting capacity.

  • Low or High Hydraulic Levels

Make sure that the oil level lies in the given range. Too low or too high can highly affect the lifting capability of your floor jack. Avoid overfilling the oil at all circumstances. It can decrease the performance of the floor jack with a high degree.

If the oil level is below the limit, refill it with a high-quality oil. The use of low-quality oil can cause extreme damage to your tool. However, if the oil level is beyond the required level, you can drain the excess oil from the jack.

  • Trapped Air

The next thing you can do is to investigate if there is air trapped in the jack. Trapped air can also prevent the jack from lifting the weight. To ensure that your jack is air-free, use the method of bleeding.

To do this, remove the screw of the oil filter and place the release valve in an anti-clockwise position with respect to the handle. Then, pump and screw the handle as many times as needed. Keep doing so till the air is completely removed, and the jack starts working.

  • Tight Release Valve

If the jack does not lift the weight even after these steps, check your release valve. It should be tight and not loose at all. A loosen release valve can stop the jack from lifting weights.

  • Less Lubrication or Rust

Another reason can be high friction between the moving parts of the jack. Apply some oil to reduce friction and keep the moving parts away from rust and corrosion. Do this step regularly, even when your jack is working properly. It will keep it in working condition for a long time.

If nothing works at all, it is time to inspect your jack thoroughly. Look for any cracks or oil leakages that can be the culprit. Check the casing and the ram carefully. There might be an issue in that area.

2. Oil Leaks

This is another common problem that is due to normal wear and tear. In this problem, the oil chamber or reservoir of the floor jack starts leaking. So, how should you approach this issue? Will it require the help of paid repair professionals, or can you do it alone? Before we tackle, that, let’s talk about the reasons why there are oil leaks.

Why It Happens

The common reason behind this issue is worn-out O-rings. You can simply replace the O-rings to solve this issue. The next section includes a step-by-step guide to replacing the O-rings.

How to Fix It

Here is how you can replace the O-rings without taking your jack to the repair shop.

  • First of all, thoroughly inspect the jack to pinpoint the exact location of the leakage. To do this, place the floor jack on a strong work surface. Keep in mind that the floor jack is extremely heavy, so make sure that the work surface is strong enough to carry it.
  • The next step is to loosen the valve screw. This screw helps in lowering and raising the jack. You can loosen the screw by turning it in an anti-clockwise direction with respect to the jack handle.
  • Now you need to drain the oil from the jack. To do this, make the floor jack stand on its one end in such a position that the screw points towards the ceiling. Secure the position of the jack with clamps to make sure it does not move. Drain all the fluid from the hole of the valve screw into the drain pan. Once done, you can put the jack back to its position.
  • This is the most important step, which is replacing the O-ring. When the O-ring becomes faulty, it can cause oil leakage. It is placed on the valve screw. Simply remove it using a screwdriver. Then, clean the screw thoroughly with the rag and, finally, fix a new O-ring.
  • Now, you are all set to refill the jack. Place a funnel on the hole of the screw valve and fill the jack with a high-quality fluid. Make sure to stay in the recommended range. Do not overfill the jack.
  • In the end, tighten the valve screw in a clockwise direction. Once again, lower and raise the weight using the valve screw to check the floor jack for any leakages.

3. Overload Valve Turned on Accidentally

If there is something wrong with your jack, but you cannot find any apparent reason. You might want to check your overload valve.

Why It Happens

This happens when the overload feature is turned in the wrong direction. There is a reason why this valve has a “Don’t Open” warning. Once turned, it can cause serious damage. Make sure to avoid messing with this feature at any cost. However, if it still happens, know that there is a solution to that as well.

How to Fix It

As mentioned, the overload valve represents the safety feature of the jack. It stops it from working when you try to lift a weight more than the jack’s lifting capacity. It is recommended not to change the position of the valve in any situation.

However, if the valve is turned by you accidentally, take it to hydraulic jack specialists. They will help you in bringing the jack into its original position. Turning the jack in the wrong direction affects the tension of the jack’s spring. Hence, it can cause a huge change in the overall functionality of the jack.

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4. Jack’s Wheels Are Not Rolling Properly

Understandably, floor jacks are heavy-duty tools as they are designed to lift heavy vehicles. Hence, it is not possible to simply carry it wherever you need it. Floor jacks have sturdy wheels, which make them highly portable, allowing you to take it anywhere you want. However, if the wheels do not roll properly, this can create a big problem.

Why It Happens

The wheels of floor jack are extremely sturdy. Hence, we can rule out the wear and tear part as it is highly unlikely. The only reason behind the improper rolling is high friction.

This issue usually occurs when the jack is stored without proper cleaning after every use. It can also happen if you do not wipe off the dust or store the jack in a place with high moisture.

How to Fix It

Storing floor jacks in high moisture places can highly affect them. The wheels can catch rust and become too rusty to roll. The first thing you should do is to lubricate the wheels properly. Use a high-quality lubricating oil on the wheels to get them to function properly.

To ensure the proper rolling of the wheels, use a premium quality lubricating oil right away. It will reduce friction and make the moving parts highly smooth. Avoid using low-quality oils as they will not only have a lesser effect but will also damage the metal quality.

5. Cracked, Bent, or Broken Floor Jack

As the name suggests, if you notice that there is a crack or dent on the floor jack’s case, it is time to take action.

Why It Happens

There is no specific reason for this problem. It simply means that the time of your current floor jack is up. Floor jacks are heavy-duty tools. They cannot break or bent just like that. If this happens, it will be due to some serious reasons or prolonged use.

How to Fix It

If the floor jack’s frame or case is cracked, broken, or bent, we suggest replacing that floor jack with a new one. It is highly unsafe to keep using that floor jack. The frame of the jack is the most critical part of this tool. All the stability depends on the jack’s frame. If you see it bending, it means that the frame is not holding the pressure correctly. Continued use is extremely risky.

Do not try to fix it at any cost. A jack with a broken or bent frame must be replaced. However, if you see a scratch or small dent on the frame, there is nothing to worry about.

6. Foamy or Milky Oil Leakage

Another problem that you might come across while using a floor jack is leakage of foamy oil. This can look very odd, but it has a very basic reason behind it.

Why It Happens

When air or water mixes up with the oil in the reservoir, this issue occurs. It mostly happens when you forget to wipe off the dust with a rag from the drain plug.

How to Fix It

To resolve this issue, you need to change the oil or refill the oil reservoir. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing that.

  • Find the drain plug. It will be on the housing or under the tool tray, depending on the model.
  • Wipe the drain plug with a rag to remove grease or dirt.
  • Open the plug using a wrench.
  • Adjust the jack’s position to drain all the oil out of the jack and into the drain pan.
  • Once it is empty, place a funnel on the drain plug hole and pour the hydraulic oil in the oil chamber.
  • Make sure that no wrecks or dirt fall in the oil reservoir.
  • Remove the air using the bleeding process.
  • Tighten the release valve.
  • Clean the drain and wipe off any extra dripping during the process.

Conclusion

Whenever your floor jack is giving you a hard time, there is a definite reason behind it. Knowing the actual reason can help you in repairing the damage quickly and thoroughly. Pinpointing the underlying reason may not be a piece of cake, but if you know how to fix a floor jack, you can easily do the job.

We hope that you have gotten the answer you were looking for in this article. However, if there is a more serious problem, we suggest consulting the professionals and manufacturers for expert advice.

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