Autos: jacking capacity

Self-tutoring about autos: the tutor looks into the capacity one might need for a vehicle jack.

One of the vehicles I maintain, I was surprised to learn, has a curb weight of around 4500 pounds. Yet it seems to me a lot of jacks people use are 2 tons. (1 ton = 2,000 pounds: here I use American units because it seems to me that those are what one sees in this context.)

I was curious about what capacity of jack is required to lift an arbitrary vehicle, and why. It turns out that, since the jack will be lifting only one corner or perhaps one end of the vehicle, it need only support around 3/4 of the vehicle’s weight. With that in mind, a 2 ton jack would be sufficient for use with a 4500 pound vehicle.

When a vehicle’s weight exceeds 5000 pounds, however, one would want a 3 ton jack to be safe. (My observation of jacks suggests that the next jump up from 2 tons is 3 tons.)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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