Is it ok to use a scissor jack instead of a floor Jack?

You always use the right jack for your car to do maintenance jobs. Usually you can use floor jacks to lift your cars. But when only a scissor jack is close to you, and you need to work on your vehicle. So you may ask, is it ok to use a scissor jack instead of a floor jack?

is it okay to use a scissor jack instead of a floor jack

Is it ok to use a scissor jack instead of a floor jack?

Yes, you can use a scissor jack instead of a floor jack. However, it depends on what you want to do with your car. Understand that scissor jacks only come in handy in cases of emergency, like when you need to change tires. But, for doing other major repairs and maintenance task, use a floor jack for job safety.

Changing tires requires you to stand by the side and not get under your car. Anything other than this, use a floor Jack. Scissor jacks are light-weighted, so can’t really take the weight of your car and hold it long enough for you to work under.

Plus, scissor Jacks can only lift your car to a certain point.

Basics of scissor jacks

What is a scissor jack? Scissor jacks, otherwise called screw jacks, are the most common jacks, as you would find them in almost all cars. Generally, these jacks are supplied along with purchasing a new car and are always found in a car’s trunk. They come in handy in cases where you have a flat tire while driving and need to change it.

They are named scissor jacks because of their design. The design includes two diagonal components connected by hinges and screws, forming the shape of a diamond. The top of the diamond shape is a flat surface on which you place your vehicle and lift your car.

Scissor jacks come in different types, each serving different purposes. First, there is a manual scissor jack; then an electric scissor jack operated with the push of a button.  The stabilizing scissor jack is also useful in leveling trailers; no wonder they call them heavy-duty scissor jacks.

Each of these scissor jacks has its limit, so don’t use it on loads higher than its capacity. For example, avoid using a 2-ton scissor jack on a car worth 3 tons or above.

Scissor jacks are portable and lightweight. So they are not only easy to carry around, but also occupy less space; hence they easily fit into the trunks of cars. These jacks are also less complex to use and very affordable.

They are, however, only suitable for specific jobs, like tire change. Plus, they can’t take much weight and are incapable of lifting your car to specific heights. So if you have larger, heavy, or high-profile cars, a scissor jack may not be what you need.

How to use a scissor jack

To begin, ensure all the necessary things you need are readily available. Scissor jacks come in two parts: the jack itself and its handle; keep them in sight.

  • Park your car on a flat hard surface and turn on the hand brake to avoid car rolling. You can also support with chocks.
  • Locate your car’s safe point for jacks and slide the scissor jack under.
  • Once the jack is under the safe spot, slide in the jack’s handle and begin cranking the handle marked “R” to raise the jack. Continue to raise the jack until it is lifted off the ground.
  • Once your car is off the ground, remove the handle, this prevents you from tripping and jack knocking
  • To lower your vehicle after you’re done, crank the handle in the opposite direction–often marked “L.” Do this until all wheels touch the ground again

Basics of floor jack

Floor jacks are a type of hydraulic car jacks used to lift a variety of automobiles. They come in handy for lifting heavy vehicles as heavy as 10 tons. However, while a floor jack can take heavy weight, each type has its load rating; don’t use a 3-ton floor jack on a car weighing 4 tons.

Which floor jack you buy depends primarily on what you need. There are ceramic and even aluminum floor jacks. You will also find a heavy-duty floor jack, especially for heavy-duty vehicles. And if you own a very low-profile car, you may find the low-profile floor jack very useful.

Another impressive feature of floor jacks is that they are very versatile. Unlike scissor jacks made mostly for tire changes, floor jacks can be used for tire changes or carry other repairs like changing oil under your car. Due to their designs, floor jacks are also known to last longer.

But since floor jacks depend on hydraulics to generate their lifting power, they are pretty heavy and, as such, can’t be lifted by an average person. So they are left most of the time in garages or workplaces. However, for easy mobility around the garage, it comes with four wheels. Also, floor jacks are not easy to use due to their design. So not everyone can operate.

aluminum floor jack

How to use floor jack

Unlike the simple scissor jack, floor jacks are a bit more complex. So be sure you know what you’re doing. To begin

  • Park your automobile on a flat, firm surface and put on the hand brake to prevent rolling.
  • Look for your car’s strong points for jacks (this should be indicated in your owner’s manual) and place the jack.
  • Slowly lift the jack to ensure it falls under the frame’s sill.
  • Continue to crank the height adjustment handle until the car is lifted from the ground.
  • Place your jack stands under the recommended lift points.
  • Slowly lower your automobile to rest on the stands.
  • To lower your car after working, move the adjustment handle to its vertical position and spin. This should release the air in the pump and bring your car down.

Important note: For safety, never go under your car without jack stands. Jacks may fail and crush you under the vehicle.

Scissor jack vs. Floor jack

Both jacks are good and unique in their way. So floor jack vs. scissor jack which is better?  Which is better depends largely on the work you intend to do on your automobile, automobile weight, and automobile height. For example, if you only need to change tires, scissor jacks should suffice. However, get a floor jack for more work like replacing oil, brake pads, etc.

With their compactness, scissor jacks offer a straightforward lift solution fitting for on-the-go assistance and are a common factory jack included in many vehicles. Their durability and the ability to meet various car jack lifting needs make them a solid option for customers. However, floor jacks, known for their higher lift capacity and sturdiness, are better suited for garage or service jack functions. U.S. Jack recommends floor jacks for business use due to their versatility and safety solutions in demanding situations. Each jack type serves its job with quality, but floor jacks are the best option for heavy-duty lifting.

Thus, you may use a scissor jack for lighter trucks and cars with very low profiles. If your automobile is heavy, consider floor jacks; they can withstand heavy weight and lift your car to your desired height.


Is it ok to use a scissor jack instead of a floor jack? Yes, you can, but it depends on the type of work you intend to do, the car’s weight, and its profile. Use scissor jacks on light vehicles and for tire changes only since you won’t require getting under the car. A scissor jack would not even provide enough ground clearance for you to get under your car.

Solomon Osuagwu

Osuagwu Solomon is a vetted auto mechanic with over ten years of experience in the garage and five years of experience as a service writer. He prides himself in writing accurate information on professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, buyer’s guides, comparisons, and car reviews. If he’s not in his repair garage, he’s writing automotive blogs to help car owners and fellow mechanics to troubleshoot and proffer solutions to several car problems.

Recent Posts