How To Bleed A Floor Jack

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Some people are a little surprised to find out that the floor jack they just bought needs regular maintenance to keep it working in a safe and reliable way.

One of the biggest dangers with floor jacks is air getting into the system. A jack uses hydraulic pressure contained within a closed system to generate lift.

This makes it pretty difficult for air to find its way into the system – though not impossible. Over time, air can seep in through valves and plugs. This can lead to the jack under performing and eventually failing, and whatever’s held above your head you can come down in a hurry. Needless to say, that’s something we all want to avoid at all costs.

The solution is regularly getting the air out of your jack’s system. Thankfully, the process of how to bleed a floor jack is quick and easy.

Things You’ll Need:

How To Bleed A Floor Jack (3 easy steps, then repeat)

Step 1. Extend The Ram Piston

Extend the ram piston by pumping the jack until the piston extends to the highest position. Make sure the ram piston is fully extended before continuing to step 2.

Step 2. Release The Pressure Valve

Next, you’ll need to release pressure in the jack by opening the pressure valve. With most jacks, a flathead screwdriver will be needed to turn the pressure valve. Depending on the type of floor jack you are working with, there are a couple of methods for getting at the pressure release valve.

On newer, or sometimes expensive jacks you can get at the valve by turning the jack’s handle counterclockwise.

On cheaper jacks they like to make the process a bit more difficult. In this case, you should find the valve under the jack handle. You’ll first have to remove the handle to get at the valve.

Once you’ve located the valve, use the screwdriver to gently turn it counterclockwise (about one-half of a turn). As the jack’s pressure releases, the ram piston will begin to retract automatically.

Step 3. Remove The Filler Plug

Next, you’ll need to remove the filler plug (which is usually found on the main body of the jack). This process can be quite confusing as the filler plug can look exactly like the jack’s check valves. It is very important to distinguish between the two because the check valves should not be touched.

To continue with this step you’ll need to get a hold of the floor jack’s user manual. If the manual is nowhere to be found, you can Google the name and serial number of your jack and try to find the user manual online.

When you precisely locate the screw for the filler plug, use the flathead screwdriver to slowly twist it counterclockwise until it is removed. Once the plug is off, you’ll hear the hiss of any trapped air being released.

After a few seconds or when the hissing has stopped, you can twist the filler plug back into place by turning it clockwise. Make sure the valve is hand tight when you are finished.

Final Step: Repeat Steps 1, 2 & 3 Until All Air Is Released From The Floor Jack

The final step is to repeat the whole process until all air is released from the jack’s system (you may need to repeat the whole process two or three times).

How Often Should I Bleed A Floor Jack Under Normal Circumstances?

How often you’ll have to do this all depends on how hard you work your floor jack. If you are a mechanic and lifting cars on a daily basis, you should bleed your floor jack at least every 5 or 6 months.

If you’re more of a casual user and only break out the jack to change a flat tire, then you’ll probably get away with bleeding it at least once a year.

Are There Warning Signs For Air Being In The Floor Jack?

There are a couple of things to look out for that might be a warning of air in the jack’s system.

If the jack’s ram has a spongy feel to it, that is usually a clear sign that air has got into the system. If you notice this, you’ll need to bleed your floor jack right away.

Another tell-tale sign that air’s in the system is when the jack slowly lowers itself over time.

For example, if you jack up a car and leave it to go do something else. And when you return you could swear the car is lower than what you left it – this can be a real danger sign and you should bleed the jack as soon as possible.

Bleeding your floor jack is a quick and easy job that you will have no problems mastering. That being said, it is a very important piece of maintenance that will keep you and everyone around you safe in the workplace. Just remember the warning signs – your jack needs to be bled if:

If you find yourself wondering which are the best floor jacks on the market, you can read more here.

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