Car Hydraulic Jack Repair

Updated March 23, 2017

Powering tools, lifts and jacks, hydraulics are not only powerful but also compact. The combination of a pump, fluid, line and a piston in a cylinder can lift anything from a sub compact to an over-the-road tractor-trailer truck. Hydraulics are such an integral part of keeping the work flowing in a garage than any interruption from a malfunction can stop everything. Repairing a car jack quickly is essential to getting cars off the ground for access to engines, drive trains and suspensions.


Whether manually or power actuated, hydraulic car jacks have seals to contain the hydraulic fluid pressure. Seals are around the piston port on the cylinder, the fittings to the cylinder and between the hydraulic fluid supply and the cylinder. Manual hydraulic jacks are naturally simpler devices and require disassembly and a seal kit for replacing worn and failing seals. It's always best, however, whenever disassembling any hydraulic device to first drain the hydraulic fluid. Do not worry about storing or saving the fluid. When the repairs are complete add fresh fluid to the reservoir.


Large hydraulic car lifts for lifting entire vehicles are powered by electric pumps to generate fluid pressure. Pump repair involves seals, fittings and the electrical motor. If a pump malfunctions begin repairs by disconnecting the power supply. It's important the pump impeller be completed sealed. Check the seals around all shafts entering and exiting the pump. For checking electrical issues you will have to plug in the pump and use a voltmeter attached to the wire leads to check for proper power output.

Fittings and hoses

Fittings are high-pressure connections between the pump, hose and jack. With fittings and hoses the only possible repair is replacing the part. Also, if either the fitting or the hose fails and begins leaking, then both the hose and connected fittings must be replaced. Occasionally, you can cut a hose and attach a new fitting, but this usually shortens the hose to the point it loses its flexibility. Better to replace the hose than have it rupture quickly under unnecessary stress.


If the cylinder or piston is damaged (hit by a vehicle or a large tool for example), the repair will probably involve replacing the unit. Trying to repair the metal components of a hydraulic cylinder and piston and have it still remain aligned and completely sealed is not cost efficient. Ordering a new mechanism and replacing the damaged unit will take less time and money.

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About the Author

Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.