Floor Jack Not Lifting All The Way

Floor Jack Not Lifting All The Way – What Can Be The Solution?

Your precious floor jack might not be at full strength when at work. Wanna know why? The floor jack is not lifting properly because of incorrect fluid levels. That’s the “Most Likely” scenario. Try removing the oil plug and looking into the chamber to check the oil level. 

Apart from this, other factors might also play their hands, such as the “Grade” of the oil. 

But how can you get the problem fixed? Fixing the oil level may not always be the right move. 

In that case, you can take a look at this article. Here you will find several reasons why your floor jack isn’t lifting all the way. This write-up will save you the trouble of taking your floor jack to a professional and help you fix the issue at home.

Floor Jack Not Lifting All The Way

Let’s Explore the Reasons Behind Floor Jack Malfunctions and Solve the Problems!

I understand you are currently in a pickle. But don’t worry, everything will be alright in a jiffy. Quickly look at the reasons and solutions for a jammed floor jack. 

Reason 1: Lack of Hydraulic Fluid Jammed the Floor Jack Hinge

The hydraulic fluid in the floor jack is the component that provides the pressure to lift the weight. If this fluid level is low for some reason, the jack won’t be able to lift as much weight or may not lift at all. This usually happens if you don’t use the right type of hydraulic fluid.

How to Solve the Problem?

In situations like this, I do two things related to hydraulic fluid. Firstly, I use the recommended hydraulic fluid. Which hydraulic fluid does your manufacturer recommend? Check the tool’s user manual, and you will find the answer.

What if you are already using the recommended oil? 

In this case, I make sure my floor jack’s fluid level is on point. It’s really easy to check. What I do is simply unscrew the fluid filler plug and remove it. Then I dip a dipstick into the filler hole, and this stick shows the level of hydraulic fluid in the reservoir.

If I notice the fluid level is not right, I pour in more fluid. You will find such liquid in any nearby hardware store.

Reason 2: Collection of Air Bubbles Can Reduce the Pressure

With time, air bubbles form in the hydraulic system. This makes it hard for the jack to lift. As these air bubbles don’t have any route to escape, they create an invisible block inside the jack, making it impossible for any of the parts to move.

Let’s Find the Solution of the Problem

Such situations are complicated to handle. Bleeding the system does help to remove the air bubbles and restore the proper pressure. 

However, if air regularly gets into the system, then your floor jack clearly has a leakage. This is an issue you can’t solve at home. For this, you’ll have to take your tool to a workshop.

Reason 3: Worn Hydraulic Seals Ruins Floor Jacks Functionality

You probably know that hydraulic fluid is the soul of floor jacks. It keeps the entire machine running as it should. And hydraulic seals are the component that keeps the fluid in the system and helps to maintain the necessary pressure. 

A damaged hydraulic seal will just lead to a leakage. In this scenario, the device won’t work properly. The seal can wear out or get damaged if exposed to extreme temperatures or harmful chemicals or has been on the tool for years. 

Age is actually the primary reason why these seals break apart.

Let’s Troubleshoot the Issue 

You have probably already guessed that replacing the seals is the solution. But I must confess… replacing the seals is a complex procedure. You will have to disassemble the jack and install new seals. The disassembly process is the point where the struggle begins.

I start the disassembling process by releasing the pressure on the jack first. I turn the release valve counterclockwise until it’s fully open. Then I remove the cylinder from the jack base. 

Of course, I need a screwdriver for this process. After removing the hydraulic cylinder, I removed the other parts holding everything together. 

Now, I am careful and slow while detaching the old, worn-out hydraulic seals from the cylinder. A seal puller is my choice of tool at this point. I have to do it carefully so as not to damage the cylinder walls or other components.

If you notice gunk or dirt, wipe it off with a cloth. Then I install the new seals into the cylinder using a seal installation tool. This is also a delicate process because here, I have to be careful to ensure the components are properly aligned. 

After it’s done and everything is in the right place, I reverse the disassembling process and put the floor jack in the way it was before. And ta-dah! With a new seal, my floor jack is good as new again.

Reason 4: The Lifting Arm is Damaged and This is Why It’s Not Bending

This is the most apparent reason your floor jack is not lifting properly. The lifting arm in a floor jack is the part that actually does the weight lifting. If it’s bent or damaged in any way, it surely won’t be able to get its job done.

This is basic physics. A straight, long handle will make the lifting process easier. It requires a bit of force to lift more weight. 

But if the handle is bent or damaged, you will have to apply more force for the same weight. This is probably what’s happening with your floor jack. It’s really easy to identify. 

Just gently and slowly run your hand on the lifting arm and notice if you feel any bend at any point. You will easily find the bend with your naked eye if the bend is too much.


Unfortunately, this problem is not something you can solve at home. It’s a hardware-related issue; thus, you must seek help from a hardware expert. You have to replace the lifting arm with a new straight one.

Don’t try to fix the current one with hammers. Straightening the arm is an option, but opting for a replacement is better. I have noticed that such repair doesn’t usually work in the long run. So, take my advice and have the lifting arm replaced. It will literally cost around 10 bucks.

Reason 5: Poor Maintenance Has Killed The Floor Jack

I lost my first-floor jack due to my lack of attention. I used the tool and then left it in my garage for weeks. One day, I realized my floor jack had collected rust and gunk. It wasn’t even flexing properly, let alone lifting weight.

The same can happen to you. Have you pulled out your floor jack after months and suddenly found it’s not as strong as before? Yes, your poor maintenance is the reason why your floor jack broke.

Not lubricating the hinges, leaving any kind of wear unaddressed, and storing the tool in a cool, moist place are why your floor jack will bid farewell soon.

Let’s Find a Way Out

Congratulations, you are not doomed yet if your floor jack can still lift a bit of weight. It’s possible to save your floor jack from further damage. 

Just make sure to maintain certain things. No, you don’t have to be high maintenance to ensure your floor jack remains healthy. I am lazy, and I don’t find any of these too troublesome.

Firstly, and most importantly, I always lubricate the hinges and all the moving parts of the floor jack after every use. I use low-concentrated oil. 

Even if I am not using it for months, I pull it out of its den every two weeks and apply some oil. And while I am on it, I check for any kind of wear or damage.

Remember, wear, and rust are like cancer for floor jacks. They will spread and ruin your entire tool if you let them be. So, make sure to fix rust the moment you see any.

What matters most is the position where you keep the floor jack. My floor jack stays in my garage, and you can do the same. But you have to make sure it’s a dry place. 

It doesn’t have to be cool. Just make sure there isn’t any heat source near the tool. Otherwise, it will get damaged within months.

Apart from these issues, I have seen overloading the jack and malfunctioning release valves cause the floor jack to break down. However, these are not common cases. If such problems occur, take your floor jack to a workshop. These are severe damages you can’t fix at home.

My Last String of Thoughts

Floor jacks are made to withstand extreme weights. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have a breaking point. These tools will wear off if you overload them or neglect proper maintenance. 

Fortunately, if your floor jack is still lifting weight, even if not all the way, there is still a chance. You can easily get your tool fixed for an affordable price. Just follow the tips and tricks mentioned in this write-up that you just read, and everything should be fine.

Eddie Burton - Senior Author
Senior Author: Eddie Burton

Eddie Burton is a passionate car enthusiast and a seasoned mechanic with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has worked with a variety of vehicles, from classic muscle cars to modern luxury cars, and has extensive knowledge of all types of auto parts and accessories.

Eddie’s love for cars began at a young age when he would spend hours tinkering with his first car, a 1967 Mustang. Since then, he has pursued his passion for cars by working in various garages and workshops, honing his skills and expertise in everything related to automobiles.

As a contributor to our website, Eddie shares his in-depth knowledge and experience with our readers, providing valuable tips and advice on auto parts, repairs, and maintenance. He’s committed to helping car owners get the most out of their vehicles by providing honest and practical reviews of auto parts, accessories, and tools.

With Eddie’s vast experience and expertise, you can trust his recommendations and insights on everything related to cars. Whether you’re a seasoned car owner or a newbie in the world of automobiles, Eddie’s articles and reviews will help you make informed decisions and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

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