Most repair and maintenance functions performed on automobiles require hand tools. While the variety of such automotive hand tools is extensive, floor jacks and gear pullers are the essentials of any repairman’s toolkit.
Floor jacks for vehicle maintenance use their mechanical advantage to allow manual raising and lowering of cars and trucks. More powerful versions of these hand tools apply hydraulic power to raise the vehicle higher. Floor jacks are rated for a maximum lifting capacity, usually between two and twenty tons.
Irrespective of its capacity, the floor jack is placed flat on the ground while its extended arm is pumped to raise the vehicle. This allows the mechanic to change tires as well as examine brake systems, undercarriage damage and exhaust pipes. Such floor jacks are commonly sighted in automobile races, where they are used at pit-stops to change tires quickly.
Floor jacks for trucks and other heavy vehicles usually have wheels so that they can be maneuvered easily when positioned under the vehicle’s frame. These can also be extended considerably and provide a low profile when collapsed.
Another common hand tool for vehicle repairmen is the gear puller. As the name suggests, this hand tool helps its user to pull gears from their mounting shafts. Composed of a threaded rod, it applies pressure against the shaft until the gear comes loose.
The two-jaw puller is most suitable for small gears with tight quarters. As the rod comes in contact with the shaft, the jaws grasp the gear while the rod is simultaneously tightened. The resultant pressure helps the jaws pull the gear out easily. Sometimes, the puller is tightened further and pressure is applied for several minutes before the gear can be removed.
Another variety, the three-jaw gear puller, facilitates the application of even pressure as the rod is tightened against the shaft. This is especially useful for large or stubborn gears.
The bolt-on gear puller is used on gears of automobile engine harmonic balancers and steering wheels with threaded bolt holes. The puller is bolted to the gear and the rod is tightened against the shaft. The pressure causes the gear to pop loose for ease of extraction.
While there is no dearth of styles of both floor jacks and gear pullers, it is essential for an automobile garage owner to select those that best serve his purpose and provide the best value for money.