Repairing VS Replacing your Floor Jack
When you own a car, a floor jack is an essential part of your inventory. However, due to wear and tear, which happens to almost every tool, you may have to consider replacing or repairing your jack.
In times like this, knowing which brand of floor jack you use is crucial as it is easier to take it back to the same company for a quick fix or a complete replacement.
It is important to know every single component of a floor jack for you to determine whether a part can be repaired or whether there is a need to replace that part or the whole tool.
The following are the main components that make up the floor jack:
This is the “tank” that stores the hydraulic fluid that powers the jack.
- Check valve
Allows pressurized hydraulic fluid to flow to the master cylinder from the down stroke. Primarily, it prevents the fluid from flowing back into the reservoir when the lever is pumped to lift the jack arm.
This arm can be pushed up and down. It pushes hydraulic fluid from the reservoir into the piston, causing the jack to rise. When pulled up, it draws in the fluid, then pushes it on the downwards stroke.
- Master Cylinder
This cylinder fills up with the hydraulic fluid from the reservoir when the pump is engaged.
It is a part of the floor jack that is pushed upwards and outwards as a result of the hydraulic fluid in the master cylinder.
- Release Valve
A release valve facilitates the return of the hydraulic fluid back to the reservoir.
This whole process is a cycle of sorts that ensures that the floor jack remains fully operational. However, you may experience some challenges when you have a dysfunctional floor jack which may lead to problems with the flow of the hydraulic fluid in the floor jack. This decreases its efficiency.
Common Indicators of Wear and Tear
Wearing of the floor jack may be caused by any part that does not function as well as it used to. Considering how many parts there are, it is vital to know each and every one and clearly understand its role.
No matter how well you know the tool, though, time takes a toll on the parts. Due to wear and tear, floor jacks can become a challenging tool. There are some common problems you might experience with your jack, including:
- Refusal to Extend
Have you ever been stranded in the middle of nowhere without access to a mechanic, with nothing but a jack that refuses to extend? Well, if you’ve been here you probably know how messy it can be. For starters, new jacks, usually have an extremely high extending capability which helps lift a car for repair.
However, when jacks wear off, this capacity is reduced to the extent where they simply will not extend! This problem is caused by leaking of hydraulic fluid in the system, which ends up affecting the functionality of the piston. Fortunately, this can be repaired, depending on the nature of the leak. If the leak isn’t a major one, then a temporary solution would be to always top up the fluid before using the floor jack.
Here’s how to fix it:
- Oil appearing Milky
The reason behind this is the entry of water into the system, which in turn mixes with the oil hence making it appear milky. There is no way to repair this issue is it has been going on for a while!
If, however, your jack’s oil has only just started showing signs of milky discoloration, taking it to a repair service immediately might just solve the problem for you.
- Appearance of Damaged Wheels
Regardless of the tool you use, always lubricate your wheels regularly and frequently. In fact, a floor jack’s wheel is more vulnerable to quick wear and tear. Lubricating the wheels eases the work being done and increases the jack’s efficiency. Even if you have a flat tire on your wheel, you can simply get a replacement wheel in most stores. Replacing a damaged wheel is easy enough to do at home.
- Kick-back Handles Syndrome
Usually, the whole system of the floor jack should work seamlessly. However, if the handle wears off after some time, it may cause a kickback after a downward stroke. This may harm you, which is professional speak for “you will probably get socked in the chin.” Therefore, when you use the floor jack and the handle kicks back after a downward stroke, STOP USING IT! This problem may require a little more technical knowledge than you have, so leave the repair to the pros!
- Damaged Frame
Of course, after consistently using a floor jack you must be assured that its frame may experience damage due to the stress applied to it regularly. This should not scare you, as it’s completely normal for any load bearing tool. However, if you see a slight crack in the frame of your floor jack then avoid using the jack since it may harm you. It is advisable for you to call on a professional to repair it.
Choosing Whether to Repair or Replace your Jack
The question many people have is since their jacks have undergone wear and tear, which would be the best alternative: to repair the jack, or replace it? Surprisingly, both are good options. However, there are several factors you may need to consider before choosing between the two.
Logically, it would be senseless to repair a jack that costs $100. This is because you may need more money to fix it than you would to buy a new jack entirely.
- Extent of the Damage
The extent of the damage on your jack is also a factor in deciding which option would be better. If your jack isn’t severely damaged, then you should consider repairing it. This would be cheaper than acquiring a new floor jack regardless of its price.
- Availability of Replacement Parts
Checking out the availability of the parts that need to be repaired is crucial as it helps determine the best option for your jack. Floor Jacks that have replacement parts in almost every hardware store are easier to fix than those without.
Whatever alternative suits you, be it replacing or repairing, at the end of the day you want to ensure you have spent as little as possible to fix your jack. However, if you should choose to replace your jack instead, it is always advisable to take your time when choosing a new jack. It is better to purchase a slightly more expensive jack that is more durable than a cheap, low-quality one that will fail you in a matter of weeks.
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