First, you need to choose the right type of car jack. Here’s a rundown of the most common types.
Scissor jacks: This is the most common type of jack that will work with just about any car. They’re simple to lift and often come stashed in the spare tire compartment of new cars. Scissor jacks operate by turning a large screw, which causes the two sides to “scissor” together and raise the vehicle. They’re usually lightweight and compact, so they make great additions to emergency kits.
Bottle jacks: In terms of portability, bottle jacks are a step up from scissor jacks. The name comes from the shape of the hydraulic jack: it looks like a bottle. These jacks use a hydraulic mechanism to provide a lot of lift. They can still be small enough to fit in your trunk, and are ideal if you have a larger vehicle like a truck or SUV.
Floor jacks: These hydraulic jacks are often used in garages with jack stands. They have wheels for easy movement, since they tend to be pretty heavy and unwieldy. These jacks are workhorses, known for their durability and reliability. They also tend to be much more expensive than scissor or bottle jacks. You likely won’t need a floor jack unless you perform maintenance often.