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Floor Jack Won’t Lift? Here’s A Quick Fix

A pair of floor jacks and jack stands.

Starting out a wrenching session by discovering your floor jack won’t lift can be a frustrating situation. Maybe it worked fine last time, or maybe it is new out of the box. Regardless of how things were before, the reality now is that your vehicle is staying on the ground. Before you give up and head to the store for a new jack, there’s a few quick simple steps that may just get you lifting again.

Floor Jack Problems

Your floor jack only has one job: lifting heavy things. It is actually quite amazing that your floor jack can transform the action of pumping the handle up and down into lifting a several ton vehicle. But what if your floor jack is experiencing the following problems:

  • It won’t lift the rated weight load.
  • It won’t hold the rated weight load or feels “spongy” under rated weight load.
  • It won’t lift to full height.

These three problems can usually all be solved by bleeding the floor jack of trapped air.

Bleeding A Floor Jack

Unlike hydraulic oil, air can be compressed. Since the main operating principle behind a floor jack is that fluid can’t be compressed, air can throw a wrench in the works. So you need to get the air out of the hydraulic oil. Luckily it is just takes a few easy steps:

  1. Turn the jack handle clockwise direction until it is tight. Then turn the handle counterclockwise two complete revolutions so the lift arm won’t raise.
  2. Pump the handle approximately 10-15 complete pump strokes.
  3. Rotate the handle in a clockwise direction until tight. Then pump the jack to its maximum lift height.
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all air has been purged from the system.

Here’s a video to walk you through the process:

That’s it! If you go through this process and still find that your floor jack won’t lift, it may be time for a rebuild or to pick up a new floor jack. And remember a floor jack is purely a lifting device and NOT a holding device, so ALWAYS use jack stands.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on what to do when your floor jack won’t lift, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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