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A-Check Miscellaneous

Top 3 Best Workshop Cranes in 2020

Engine cranes, workshop cranes, or engine hoists, as you can imagine, are used to carefully lift and remove your car’s engine. Whether you’re an avid vehicle hobbyist or plan on opening your own auto shop, you absolutely have to have one of these hoists in your workshop. There’s absolutely no way you’re going to rebuilt or restore an old engine while it’s still situated under the hood.

Workshop cranes may look a lot alike and come with the same features, but the hidden details matter quite a bit. In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at workshop cranes and find out what sort of things you need to consider when shopping for one. But before we jump into our buying guide, let’s see what our editors claim are the three best workshop cranes you can own today.

Workshop Cranes



3 Best Workshop Cranes

AC Hydraulics WJN5

The first item on our list is a relatively unknown workshop crane from AC Hydraulics. The WJN5 really deserves a lot more love than it receives for its sturdy build and maneuverability. First of all, the WJN5 stands at roughly 5 feet high so its hydraulic pump is always within reach. It comes with an adjustable boom that starts at 37-1/2 inches and extends up to 54 inches from the main frame.

 AC Hydraulics WJN5 Hydraulic Workshop Crane

The maximum lifting height is 92 inches off the floor. The wheels on this badboy make it easy to move around your workshop thanks to the two fitted wheels up front and the two swivel casters in the back. When it’s time to put the WJN5 away, it takes literally seconds to bring the legs in and up, the hydraulic jack to its folded position, and the boom down and out of the way.

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Pro Hoists Commander 1000 Series

The Commander 100 Series from Pro Hoists is a lot different than what you’d normally expect to find in an auto shop, but this doesn’t mean won’t serve a purpose. Built mainly for large construction projects, the FM5122 is built to stand the test of time and take punishment throughout its lifetime. Unlike the AC Hydraulics, the Commander 1000 is a stagnant unit that does not have casters but rather rests on a base that needs to be bolted onto the ground.

1000 Lb Davit Crane Hoist Truck Jib with Winch for PWC or Dinghy

For the average workshop, this may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but if you run an auto shop and have cars parked at a specific spot, then it won’t be a problem at all. This hoist has a maximum load capacity of 1,000 pounds when the boom is fully retracted. When extended to the max, the boom reaches a length of 66 inches with a load capacity of 400 pounds. This hoist comes with a hand-crank wench, but if you’d really like to speed things up, consider picking up the compatible motor (sold separately).

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mymerlove 2T Folding Engine Crane

The third and product on our list is the 2T Folding Engine Crane by mymerlove. The first thing we noticed is the 6 casters that hold the frame up. All 6 of them swivel 390° to help turn and strafe the hoist to wherever you need it. The four rear casters come in handy when the unit is completely folded up for storage as they keep it standing upright without needing wall support.

mymerlove 2T Folding Engine Crane with Balancer Workshop Crane Mobile Car Lifting Tool

The boom can be set up at four different positions. From fully retracted to completed extended, the boom measures in at 41-4/5 to 63 inches and can lift anything between 1,000 and 4,000 pounds. Although the hook found on the end of the boom does not rotate, the actual hoist does, so removing gas engines and most diesel engines can be done with a certain level of grace and without scratching (assuming you know what you’re doing).

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Workshop Crane Buying Guide

If none of the three products mentioned on the list above are available to you or you’d like to do your own shopping, you can use this quick buying guide to determine which model is the best choice. Here are the criteria we used to select our top picks.

Workshop Cranes

Construction Quality

One of the saddest things about workshop cranes is that they’re not all built the same. What we mean by this is that some modes are made of questionable materials that aren’t durable enough to lift what they’re meant, and this can lead not only to buyer’s remorse but also expensive repairs (imagine dropping your car’s engine onto the floor from more than 5 feet up!). Luckily, it’s a lot easier to find steel workshop cranes than aluminum or other less-dense material.

Boom Length and Adjustability

The length of the boom needs to extend over the hood of your car without making contact with the bumper. The ideal length depends on how long the hood. All workshop cranes made for auto shops are built with long booms, or their booms can extend to just less than twice the length when fully retracted.

Workshop Cranes

Leg Length

The less contact the workshop crane makes with your vehicle, the better off you’ll be. This means taking a look at the legs of the crane and determining whether they’ll slide underneath your vehicle without touching your car’s bump and/or wheels.

Weight Capacity

This is perhaps the most important spec to pay attention to. You need to know how much weight the hoist can lift before investing in one. Not all car engines are the same weight and size, so first determine how much your crane needs to lift then find a model based on that figure. Luckily, at least for standard auto shop work, most cranes are made to lift up to at least 2,000 pounds – more than enough for a standard gas engine – but there are several models that can surpass the 2-ton mark.

Workshop Cranes

Maneuverability

As you can see from our list, workshop cranes can either be maneuverable or stagnant. In our opinion, workshop cranes on wheels are the much better choice since they don’t take up much room at all, even when fully extended. In the case of the Pro Hoists Commander, a stagnant crane, you can mount this baby onto anything without worrying about it slipping and sliding around. If you’d like to attach it onto the bed of your truck, there’s nothing stopping you (additional mounting parts sold separately).

Motor Compatibility

Whether you’re happy with working a hydraulic pump or manually reeling in the chain/line is up to you. However, if you’d like to speed things up, then a motor could be the perfect add-on for your workshop crane. Not all cranes are compatible with motors, so before settling on a particular model, make sure that the manufacturer either has motors for sale or other brands can supply a compatible motor.

Workshop Cranes

Foldable

Last but not least is the foldability of the workshop crane. When it’s time to close shop for the day, folding up a crane and placing it in the corner will leave your auto shop/garage looking more spacious and will not become a tripping or bumping hazard. Even the Pro Hoists Commander can be folded up after being removed from the mount.

FAQs

1. I need to pick up [name of object with an awkward shape] that weighs [less than the crane’s weight capacity]. Will this work?

Throughout this article, we’ve focused mainly on using a workshop crane to lift car engines since that’s what they’re mainly used for, but there might be the odd chance of you lifting something else such as a stack of 8 x 6s. Even though the object you’re lifting is far below the maximum weight capacity of the crane, you also need to consider the shape and size. If, for instance, the objects are evenly balanced when hooked to the hoist, then there shouldn’t be a problem lifting them. However, you have to use your own judgment to avoid lifting things up since they may cause the boom to either drop to the side or collapse downward.

Workshop Cranes

2. How long does it take to assemble a workshop crane?

Honestly, even without experience, you should be able to finish assembling the unit in 30 minutes – 60 minutes tops. Putting a workshop crane together is as simple as snapping the pieces in place, tightening a few bolts, and attaching the wheels to the legs. The manufacturer provides online instructions for those who don’t receive a manual in the box.

3. Does the boom extend past the legs?

In most cases, no, it does not. This is done intentionally to maintain the crane’s center of gravity and reduce the risk of tipping forward when hoisting heavy objects. We’re not recommending you do this, but some customers have talked of having specially made extensions for their booms that reach beyond the length of the legs. This, however, completely throws the minimum weight capacity off whack, and the manufacturer will assume responsibility. We won’t either, for that matter. If you’d like to modify your workshop crane, do so at your own risk.

Conclusion

When it comes to lifting and moving heavy objects around your garage or auto shop, there’s no better tool than a workshop crane. In this article, we’ve taken a look at the top three workshop cranes according to our educated editors, and we’ve thrown in a quick guide on the things you need to keep in mind when shopping for an engine hoist. Hopefully, after following this guide, you’ll have a good idea on what sort of things make for a high-quality workshop crane and purchase an excellent model that works best for your situation.




Categories
A-Check Automotive

Top 5 Best Tire Balancing Machines in 2020

A tire balancing machine is a must-have tool for those of you who plan on opening your own auto shop. After scouring the market, you’ve probably come across dozens of different models with a ton of variance. The problem isn’t finding a working tire balancing machine, but rather finding the best. If your quest is the find the best tire balancer, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve taken a look at numerous models that the market has to offer and settled on these five machines.

Heavy Duty Power Tire Changer



5 Best Tire Balancing Machines

Mayflower 680 Wheel Balancer Machine

The Mayflower 680 is one of the simplest yet most effective wheel balancers we’ve ever tried. First of all, the 680 is able to balance wheels that measure up to 44 inches in diameter (10 to 24 inches rim diameter) and up to 20 inches wide. The maximum weight of a wheel that can slid onto the shaft is 155 pounds.

Mayflower - 1.5 HP Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Balancer Rim Clamp Combo 560 680/1 Year Full Warranty

After mounting the tire, the balancing process takes only between 6 and 9 seconds before giving you an accurate (±1-gram of variance) reading of where the tire is unbalanced. The 680 comes with all the tools and accessories you need to get started, such as multi-sized cones, a tire width measuring tool, and a set of stick-on weights to balance your first tire.

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Mayflower 950 Tire Changer with Bead Blaster

Though not a wheel balancer, the Mayflower 950 is another essential tool to have in your auto shop or garage. Together with a wheel balancer, you can a lot of DIY car maintenance at home with your very own tire changer. The 950 is an excellent tire changer that comes with clamps that grasp onto rims as large as 20 inches (24-inch inner diameter) or 37-inch diameter wheels.

Mayflower - 1.5 HP Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Combo Balancer Rim Clamp 950 680 Bead Blaster / 1 Year Full Warranty

The great thing about this is to break beads, you can simply point the included bead blaster. It takes less than a second and is done by pushing the pedal halfway down. To use this machine, you’ll need to have your own air compressor. Mayflower recommends using a 20-gallon tank that generates at least 90 PSI.

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Mayflower 980 Tire Changer and 800 Wheel Balancer Combo Kit

If you’re looking to build your auto shop or DIY garage from the bottom up, then there’s no better place than to start with a tire changer and wheel balancer combo kit.
Mayflower
offers a pack that includes the 980 Tire Changer and the 800 Wheel Balancer. The 980 is a semi-automatic tire changer that features a powerful 1-1/2-HP motor. The bird head and protector claws are able to grab hold onto rims of between 13 and 24 inches (15 to 28 inches inner diameter).

Mayflower - 1.5 HP Tire Changer Wheel Changers Balancer Machine Combo 980 800 Red Edition / 1 Year Full Warranty

With a 5,600 pounds of pneumatic power, the tire changer can break even the toughest beads on any tire with relative ease. Or you can use the included bead blaster to separate the tire’s beads from the rim in the blink of an eye (air compressor of between 120 and 145 PSI required). As for the 800 Wheel Balancer, you get the same magnificent power and balancing accuracy (±1-gram variance) ass the 680. The only difference between the two is that the 500 is red in color.

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Mayflower 950 Tire Changer and 680 Wheel Balancer with Bead Blaster Combo Kit

If you like the large wheel capacity of the 950 and prefer a wheel changer coated in a blue finish, then consider this combo kit. Instead of purchasing the two individually, Mayflower has the 950 Tire Changer and the 680 Tire Balancer packed up and ready to ship to your front step.

Mayflower - 1.5 Horse Power Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Rim clamp 950 Bead Blaster / 1 Year Full Warranty

With this combo kit, you’ll have all you need to change and balance the tires of large trucks and SUVs. There’s also a motorcycle cone in the pack if the odd rider decides to stop by your shop for a quick tuning.

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Mayflower 560 Tire Changer and 680 Wheel Balancer Combo Kit

Maybe you like the large capacity of the 680 Wheel Balancer but don’t have enormously large wheels on your car. Instead of spending your hard-earned cash on a wheel changer that’s too large to grasp onto your sedan or hatchback’s tires, you might find more use out of the
Mayflower 560 Tire Changer
.

Mayflower - Wheel Balancer Tire Balancers Machine Rim Car Heavy Duty 680/1 Year Full Warranty

The 560’s clamps support rims of between 10 and 18 inches (12 to 21 inches inner diameter) and wheels of up to 35 inches in diameter. There’s no bead blaster, but the onboard bead breaker should do the trick just fine.

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Tire Balancing Machine Buying Guide

Do I need a tire balancing machine?

This depends on how serious you are about taking care of your car and how far away the nearest auto shop is to your home. The slightest imbalance can lead to adverse effects later on. In fact, it only takes a couple of miles of driving on unbalanced wheels before you may notice a slight rocking. Plus, the uneven weight distribution on your tires will add strain on the suspension and bearings which will lead to costly repairs later on. Do yourself a favor and get your tires balanced periodically, either with your own wheel balancer or by getting it done professionally (the costlier option over time).

Heavy Duty Power Tire Changer

Combo Kit or Single Tool?

This depends entirely up to you. We’d personally recommend getting a combo wheel changer and tire balancer kit since – at least if you treat your car like it’s your baby – the machines will pay for themselves eventually. You might also want to get a combo kit if you’re looking to build your own auto shop from the bottom. Remember: it’s much more cost-effective to purchase both tools in a kit than to get them individually. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your existing tire changer or balancer, then getting a single tool is definitely the more affordable option.

Things to Consider when Shopping for a Tire Balancer

Wheel Size

Firstly, you’ll need to determine whether the tire balancer can actually support your and/or your customers’ wheels. The length of the shaft – the piece that juts outward on the side of the machine – should give you a rough idea of the maximum wheel width that can fit safely onto the machine.

Included Cones and Flange Discs

The cones that come in the box are used to balance wheels of various sizes. Obviously, the you’ll need to use the correct-size cone with the wheel to prevent wiggling while the wheel spins on the shaft. In the case of these Mayflower products, their cones may not be the correct size for your wheels, especially if we’re talking about motorcycle wheels or humongous truck wheels. In either case, you may need to purchase cones separately.

Heavy Duty Power Tire Changer

Weight Sensitivity and Included Weights

The products we mentioned on our list have an accuracy of ±1 gram which is among the most accurate available on the market. You really shouldn’t invest in a machine that produces greater variance since, as we stated earlier, the slightest imbalance can cause some pretty serious damage the longer you ignore it.

Ease of Use

Tire balancing machines may seem like complicated tools, but after reading the manual of these Mayflower products, everything will become crystal-clear. All you need to do is measure the distance between the side of the machine and the wheel (a built-in ruler can help with that), the width of the wheel, and the diameter of the tire. Fasten the oversized wing nut onto the outer end of the shaft, and give the tire a pre-roll to see whether it spins without wobbling. Give it another pre-roll and turn the machine on. After around 5 seconds, these Mayflower tire balancing machines will give you an accurate reading of which spots – if any – are imbalanced and need stick-on weights.

FAQs

1. Will these machines only balance car tires?

Car tires, motorcycle tires, tractor tires – you name it. As long as the rim can be mounted onto the shaft, you’re good to begin the balancing process. However, even though these balancing machines can be used on all types of tires, this doesn’t mean the included cones and attachments are compatible. If the cones don’t fit, you’ll need to purchase them separately. They’re relatively inexpensive and last for several years.

2. What if I want to change tires of smaller diameters (8 inches or less)?

You can change tires of any size using any of these Mayflower tire changing machines. The only thing is that their grips are made for tires of a specific diameter range. To change tires on smaller rims, you’ll need to purchase a dual function adapter separately. If you’d like to go beyond the clamp’s capacity, then you’re out of luck. The only thing you can do is get a larger tire changing machine to do the job.

Heavy Duty Power Tire Changer

3. How important is the bead blaster (comparing the 560 and 950 Tire Changing Machines)?

In our opinion, a bead blaster can be extremely valuable if you work with dozens or hundreds of tires daily. They speed up the job of removing the beads from the rim when changing tires. However, if you plan on using your tire changer exclusively for your personal vehicles, then speed may not be of much importance, and you can easily get through life with the built-in bead breaker. Essentially, a bead can increase productivity if and only if you run a professional auto shop.

Conclusion

Maintaining well-balanced tires is important in ensuring the longevity of your tires. Regardless of how careful you are when driving, there will come a time when the tires become unbalanced, and ignoring this problem will cause not only damage to the tires but also to your car’s suspension – a whole other set of problems to deal with. If you’re interested in investing in your own tire balancer, either for personal use or as a basis for our commercial garage, then there’s no better place to start than with Mayflower’s selection of machines.




Categories
A-Check Automotive

Top 3 Best Tire Mounting Machines of 2020

If you’re thinking of starting your own home garage, then a tire mounting machine is one of the best investments you could make. Changing tires and wheels take quite a bit of effort, and if you don’t have the right tools on hand, you could either end up damaging your rims, puncturing the tire, snapping your tools, or even hurting yourself and others in the process.

Tire Mounting Machine

An automated machine that clamps the rim and removes the tire for you in seconds reduces these risks significantly. In this article, we’ll show you our picks of the best tire mounting machines money can buy. We’ll also throw in a brief buying guide that you can use to do your own shopping if our picks are not available in your region.



Top 3 Best Tire Mounting Machines

Mayflower 1.5-HP 560 Tire Changer and 680 Wheel Balancer Combo Set

The first machine we’re looking at isn’t just used to mount and remove tires. This combo kit also features a wheel balancer to help your professional garage get started immediately. Essentially, you can kill two birds with one purchase by getting this Mayflower kit.

Mayflower - 1.5 HP Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Balancer Rim Clamp Combo 560 680/1 Year Full Warranty

The Mayflower 560 is the semi-automatic tire changing machine that can clamp onto rims from between 10 and 18 inches inside diameter and 12 to 21 inches outside diameter. The entire unit supports wheels of up to 35 inches – more than enough space to remove any size tire you have from your rims.

This machine does not come with a bead blaster – a feature that blasts huge amounts of air into the tire’s inside cavity – nor does it have assist arms for removing rims from flat tires. However, you should be able to get along fine without them. Furthermore, upon purchasing this machine, you’ll also receive a wheel balancer that works with rims of between 10 and 24 inches in diameter and wheels of up to 20 inches wide.

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CHIENG RONG 1.5-HP 560 Tire Changer and 680 Wheel Balancer Combo Set

Aesthetically, there’s hardly any noticeable difference between the previous model and this one. The CHENG RONG is also a combo set that comes not only with a tire changer but also a wheel balancer that accepts rims of up to 24 inches in diameter and 20 inches in width.

CHIEN RONG 1.5 HP Tire Machine Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Balancer Rim Clamp Combo 560-680 12-21 / 12 Month Warranty

Looking at the tire changer, you get a heavy-duty 1.5-HP motor that delivers a break force of up to 5,600 pounds with the pneumatic pistons. You need an air compressor that generates between 120 and 145 PSI to get this unit to function perfectly.

Using this machine is extremely simple. To bring the bead breaker down, all you need to do is turn the handle until it meets the connecting points between the rim and tire sidewall. A push of the button turns the table, and in a few seconds, the tire will pop right out.

Controlling this CHONG RENG machine is similar to the Mayflower. You have six pedals in total – two that open and close the jaws, two that engages an disengages the bead breaker, and the final two turn the table in clockwise.

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Mayflower 1.5-HP 950 Tire Changer Machine

The third and final product on our list is another one of Mayflowers beasts – the 950 Tire Changer Machine. Other than being able to change tires on larger wheels, the 950 machine is a sole tire changer. There is no wheel balancer that comes with this tool, so unless you have one already or you need a machine to change tires on 24-inch rims, then consider purchasing either the first Mayflower or the CHONG RENG.

Mayflower - 1.5 Horse Power Tire Changer Wheel Changers Machine Rim clamp 950 Bead Blaster / 1 Year Full Warranty

The rim-grasping capacities of the 960 are 10 to 20-inch outer diameter and 12 to 24-inch inside. The maximum tire diameter that can rest comfortably on this machine is 37 inches, while the maximum width is a whopping 12 inches.

Another thing that separates the 960 from the previous models is that this machine includes a bead blaster. Reattaching tires onto rims can be done literally in a split second with this awesome blaster.

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Tire Mounting Machine Buying Guide

Type: Manual vs. Semi-Automatic vs. Automatic

Manual

The most basic type of tire changing machine is a manually operated one. They’re the most affordable type, but they also require a bit of upper-body strength to operate. These are mainly used by DIY grease monkeys or small-scale garages, and with a bit of experience, you can remove a tire in just as little time as an automated machine.

Semi-Automatic

Using either electricity or compressed air, a semi-automatic is quicker and more cost-effective than manual models. The mounting head is positioned on a hex bar which is frozen in place by a hinge located on top of the rear column. The rim distance is screwed onto the read column which adjusts in size based on the diameter of the wheel. The mounting head swings to the right with a single push by the operator.

Tire Mounting Machine

Automatic

The main difference between automatic and semi-automatic models is the setup of the mounting head which also improves tire-changing speed. Instead of locking the mounting head in place using a hinge, it is controlled by a click of a button which introduced compressed air which engages the jaws. If speed is a virtue, then a fully automatic tire changer might be for you.

Diameter

When shopping for a tire changing machine for your home or commercial garage, you need to make sure that the rim clamps are large enough to grab hold of the rims and keep the entire wheel in place. Most semi-automatic machines can work with wheels of between up to 18 inches in diameter, which is a large portion of tires used by the market. Specialized tire changing machines can go wider for pimped-out cars and trucks.

Tire Mounting Machine

Width

Other than the diameter of the wheel, another important consideration is how far up the jaws will. This concerns the width of the wheel, or rather the distance between a tire’s sidewalls. For the most part, semi-automatic tire changers should be able to grasp your tire’s rim regardless of what high up it is, but you should always check with the manufacturer.

Bead Blaster

Bead blasters are a revolutionary feature that introduce an amazingly high amount of compressed air at the inside cavity of a tire to force the tire’s sidewalls snug onto the rim. This tool makes reattaching tires a breeze since the high-pressure burst of air repositions the tire in its optimal original position in just a fraction of a second.

Tire Mounting Machine

Combo Sets

Another important consideration to make is whether your garage can get by with a tire changing machine or whether you would benefit from a combo set like the products mentioned above. Wheel balancers are oftentimes sold alongside tire changers so you can kill two birds with one purchase. Of course, if you’d rather have your wheels balanced by a professional mechanic or your garage already has one, then a non-combo set would be the more cost-effective purchase.

FAQs

1. Do I need an assist arm?

The most commonly asked question by tire changing machine shoppers is whether they need to get a model with an assist arm. The simple answer is no, a tire changing machine can operate just fine without it. However, if your business mainly deals with flat tires – which is probably the case for most garage owners – then an assist arm will help make changing tires a breeze. For larger, deeper wheels, you might even want to consider getting a machine with two assist arms for quicker and safer work.

Tire Mounting Machine

2. Can I change my motorcycle’s tires on these machines?

All of the machines mentioned earlier can technically be used to change motorcycle tires, but they require the use of an adapter. As we all know, motorcycle and car tires are generally different in terms of diameter and width, and attempting to place an incorrectly sized wheel on a machine can lead to two things: absolutely nothing or total chaos.

3. How much air do I need to operate the bead breaker and claw?

Semi- and full-automatic tire changing machines use an electric motor to drive the turntable, but the claw and bead breaker (if it comes with one) need compressed air to function. The right sized air compressor – in terms of PSI – vary from model to model, but for most semi-automatic machines, anywhere between 90 and 150 PSI will do the trick. Also, you might want to get a 10-plus gallon air compressor since tire changing machines use quite a bit of air per tire change.

Conclusion

Whether you’re starting your own garage workshop or are a serious car enthusiast, you would benefit from having a tire changing machine at your disposal. These machines make the painstaking task of changing tires and flats a lot more effortless, and they go easy on the rims so you won’t need to worry about scratches and ruined paint jobs.

In this article, we’ve included three different models that have fared extremely well with their customers, but the Mayflower 960 and its handy bead blaster takes the cake. The Mayflower 560 and CHONG RENG are great combo sets that include a wheel balancer to help furnish your workshop.




Categories
A-Check Automotive

Top 3 Best Portable Tire Changers in 2020

If you own your own vehicle, then changing tires is practically unavoidable. It goes without saying that driving on a flat tire isn’t good for your rims, but how exactly do you replace a flat without driving your car to the nearest auto shopSure, the AAA offers roadside assistance, but if you’re not in America or like to do things on your own, then the best way to deal with a flat is by taking a portable tire changer with you at all times. These handy tools are compact enough to store in your car’s trunk and can be set up in a jiffy. In today’s article, we’re going to go over the top three portable tire changers that have made a ton of difference in numerous motorists’ lives, and we’ll even throw in a quick buying guide for good measure.

Portable Tire Changer



Top 3 Portable Tire Changers

JDM Manual Tire Changer

The first product is from JDM Auto Lights. This is the perfect choice for those with limited trunk space as it is extremely compact, and with only two moving parts (apart from the lever), the JDM is super-easy to assemble and take apart. Made of durable steel, this tough tool can be used to change tires as small as 8 inches to 16 inches.

New Manual Portable Hand Tire Changer Bead Breaker Tool Mounting Home Shop Auto

This device also accommodates changing motorcycle wheels with center holes of at least 1-5/8 inches or a removable center hub. The sturdiness comes from its solid 15 x 18-inch base, but the downside is that it’s not exactly a “portable” device. Despite having a large base to rest on, it’ll require being bolted onto the ground to remain stable when working with larger tires of beyond 12 inches.

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PowerLift Tire Changer with Bead Breaker

The PowerLift Tire Changer is an excellent choice for you DIYers out there who are tired of lack of care from professional auto shops. This product shares a lot of the same qualities as the JDM Auto Lights manual tire changer – it’s compact, easy to put together and take apart, can handle wheels of between 8 and 16 inches (motorcycle wheels, too), and is made of durable steel that won’t collapse under strain.

PowerLift Manual Tire Changer Base, 15-3/8-18-1/2

The same portability issue exists in this product, namely it needs to be bolted down when working with wheels larger than a foot in diameter. Also, we warn our readers to keep their tire changers thoroughly lubed to prevent accelerated wearing-out of the bead breaker.

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Mophorn Portable Tire Spreader and Changer

The final spot on our list of the top 3 best manual tire changer belongs to none other than Mophorn’s Tire Spreader and Changer. What makes this an awesome manual tire changer is its 360° swivel platform which also tilts up to 90°. Changing tires has never been more convenient, and when working in cramped spaces areas, you’ll be glad to have this accommodating tool at your disposal.

Mophorn Manual Tire Spreader Portable Tire Changer with Stand Adjustable Tire Spreader Tool for Light Truck and Car (Tire Spreader)

A convenient tool tray is located on the column so all of your tools and equipment needed to change tires are within reach. Re-mounting your tires onto the rim is a lot easier with this tool compared to the rest thanks to its handy spreader (9-inch maximum before spread). However, this is by no means a lightweight tool, despite its compact design and portability, and it’s also limited to only 13-inch wheels at most. This is the perfect tool to use at home for scooters and lawnmowers, but for car owners, unless you drive a sedan or hatchback, you might want to stick with the JDP or PowerLift.

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Portable Tire Changer Buying Guide

Even though you can choose one of the three top portable tire changers we’ve listed above, you might feel the need to do a bit of research before investing in an emergency tool. Worry not, honorable reader, for we’ve got your back. Here is a list of the most important considerations to make when shopping for the best portable tire changer.

Portable Tire Changer

Side Shovel

One of the ways we determine whether a portable tire changer will be of any use is the construction of the side shovel. This is a critical component and does most of the heavy work, so it goes without saying that the side shovel needs to be up to the task. Take a look at the part and check for the heft and size. These should indicate whether the shovel will serve loyally for many years or die within the first couple of die changes.

Size and Weight

Obviously, the size and weight of the device will determine just how portable a portable tire changer actually is. Most portable tire changers follow the same size guidelines, namely they don’t take too much floor space and are tall enough to use comfortably without hunching your back too much. As for the weight of the tool, only you can decide whether something is lightweight to load and unload from your vehicle, but for the most part (the exception being the Morphon), portable tire changes weigh slightly north of 30 pounds.

Portable Tire Changer

Mounted or Not

The term “portable” mainly refers to the size of the tool rather than its actual portability. What we mean is that some models – like the JDP and PowerLift for instance – need to be fastened securely onto the ground prior to pumping the lever for larger tires.

Wheel Protection

The problem with going to a professional mechanic to change your tires for you is their lack of heart. There’s a very real risk of scratching your rims or at least chipping the paint, but if you have full control over the process, you can be as careful (or as careless) as you’d like. Many brands of portable tire changers, including the three on our list, take wheel protection seriously, and all of their products use curved shovels.

Portable Tire Changer

Wheel Capacity

Obviously, the portable tool changer should accommodate your car’s wheels. Good thing all three portable tire changers on our list are able to remove and re-attach tires of any size for standard cars, motorcycles, and trucks (between 8 and 16 inches). It’s entirely possible to change the tires on lawn mowers, scooters, and tractors as well. As long as the shovel can reach the connection point between the tire and rim, you’re good to go.

Durability

Most portable tire changers are coated in anti-corrosion paint to withstand extreme weather. However, the individual components of the tire changer are thin and quite easy to bend if using excessive force. The most heavy-duty material is steel which won’t warp in shape unless you bash it against the side of your car (warning: do not do this).

Portable Tire Changer

FAQs

1. Can you mount 18-inch tires with these portable tire changers?

Well, you can try, but we wouldn’t advise it. Some customers have had positive experiences removing and mounting of larger diameters than the manufacturer’s suggested size but only with the help of external tools. And even so, they would need to apply more pressure than you normally would to spread and remove the tire. So to sum up, you can, but you really shouldn’t. Find a portable tire changer that fits the exact size of your tires.

2. What is a spreader?

A spreader, such as the one found on the Morphon, extends the distance between the tire beads (the inner lining of the wheel that makes contact with the rim). A spreader makes re-mounting tires a lot easier since it keeps the bead out of the way as the rim slips smoothly in. With an onboard spreader, you’ll either need to purchase one separately or spread the beads manually which can be a pain in the neck.

Portable Tire Changer

3. Can I use a portable tire changer without mounting it beforehand?

That would make it a true portable tire changer, and yes, you can for all of these models. The downside of not bolting the JDP or PowerLift down is the tool could topple over if you’re working with larger, stiffer tires. However, for smaller wheels, you won’t need a ton of leverage form the shovel to break the beads and thus, won’t need to mount the tool. That being said, we’d advise mounting them with lag bolts. You might want to keep a few 2 x 4s in your trunk to add stability to the tool when bolted down.

Conclusion

Changing a flat or replacing a tire is one of the more common jobs that auto shops need to perform, but if you have your own portable tire changer on hand, you won’t need to rely on professionals who overcharge you for this simple task. In this article, we’ve provided you with our picks of the top 3 portable tire changers, as well as a quick buying guide on how to find the right one. Drive safe, folks, and always keep emergency tools in your trunk when hitting the open road!




Categories
A-Check Automotive

Top 5 Best Tire Covers for Storage in 2020

When it comes to protecting your car from the harsh elements of Mother Nature, people tend to forget that their tires and rims are just as susceptible to damage. After all, tires are naturally durable and made to last months if not years, so a bit of sun, rain, or snow exposure can’t be too bad, rightSadly, that’s not the case, and things can get worse if you leave your car sitting in the garage for months at a time.



To keep your car tires as dry and crack-free as possible during hibernation, you’ll need a set of tire covers – a simple piece of equipment that wraps around your tires and prevents damage from occurring. Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know about tire covers and some of the most frequently asked questions, but first: let’s see what our editors have chosen as their favorite tire covers.

Tire Covers for Storage

5 Best Tire Covers for Storage

AmFor Weatherproof Tire Protectors

If you live in a particularly windy part of the globe, then the AmFor Weatherproof Tire Protectors are for your car. With these babies wrapped around the entire wheel of your car, you won’t need to worry about these babies being taken by the wind.

AmFor Set of 4 Tire Covers,Waterproof Aluminum Film Tire Sun Protectors, Fits 27 to 29 Tire Diameters, Weatherproof Tire Protectors

They’re made of a heavy-duty aluminum film that protect against all sorts of elements. AmFor tire covers are sold for tires as small as 19 inches and as large as 42 inches in diameter so there’s always an AmFor for any vehicle. Maintaining these covers is extremely easy; a quick spray with a hose and a wipe-down to remove moisture and these babies will last for many, many years. If your car or RV is in need of tire protectors, then remember AmFor.

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Kohree Tire Covers

Kohree is another brand that excels at making tire protectors. These covers are made of waterproof aluminum and cotton lining which, together, prevent rust, corrosion, sun damage, and dirt from getting into your tires and rims and leaving a nasty mark.

Kohree Tire Covers Tire Protectors RV Wheel Motorhome Wheel Covers Sun Protector Waterproof Aluminum Film, Cotton Lining Fits 27 inches to 29 inches Tire Diameters Set of 4

These protectors use a hook/wrap design that ensure 100% coverage of your tires when properly attached. And it comes with a 3-year limited warranty to boot, so if at any point during the first 36 months these fail, Kohree will replace or refund your purchase with no questions asked (friendly customer service if we say so ourselves). The only issue that people have had is that these tire covers are rather thin compared to others on the market, so ripping while installing them is a real issue (not covered by the warranty).

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Explore Land Vinyl Tire Protectors

If you’re constrained by a tight budget, then you’ll appreciate the Explore Land Vinyl Tire Protectors. Available in black, white, and silver, and from between 23 to 34-3/4 inches in diameter, there’s an inexpensive vinyl protector for anyone to use.

Explore Land Tire Covers 4 Pack - Tough Vinyl Tire Wheel Protector for Truck, SUV, Trailer, Camper, RV - Universal Fits Tire Diameters 26-28.75 inches, Black

These badboys fit superbly on jeeps, SUVs, and even RVs, and they do an awesome job at protecting your tires and rims from heat, cold, and precipitation. The durable, water-resistant vinyl material ensures long-lasting protection and durability for many seasons. These vinyl protectors use an elastic cord that that wraps itself tightly around your tires so heavy winds, if storing your car outdoors, have no chance of blowing them away.

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Michelin Black/Blue Seasonal Tire Bags

When it comes to tires and wheels, you typically want to see what the market leaders have to say on the matter. Michelin produces some of the most durable totes that wrap snugly around your tires, giving them a warm hug for the upcoming wintry months. These provide a universal fit over tires ranging between 22 and 31 inches in diameter, so for your sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and even motorcycles, these Michelin-made totes will offer protection against weather-induced cracking and chipping.

MICHELIN Black/Blue 80 Tire Covers & Tire Bags-Pack of 4, 4 Pack

However, you’ll notice that these tire covers don’t wrap entirely around your car’s wheels, but instead, they focus only on protecting the tires. The downside of the seasonal bag design is that it won’t protect your rims, and there’s a very minute chance that dust, snow, and rain can seep into cracks between your tire and the tote. These covers are best used on spare tires rather than those propping your car off the ground. A durable handle is stitched onto to outside of the wrap to help transport tires.

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Kurgo Seasonal Tire Tote

The final product on our list is another seasonal tire tote. The Kurgo tote works exactly the same as the Michelin – it’s used mainly to cover spare tires for long-term storage. These easy-to-wash totes can cover tires of between 22 and 31 inches in diameter, and they’re made to withstand water, snow, wind, dust, and the occasional fungus that’s looking for tasty rubber to munch on.

Kurgo Seasonal Tire Tote & Wheel Felts | Spare Tire Cover | Portable Wheel Bags | Winter Tire Cover | Eco-Friendly Tire Totes | Handle for Easy Transportation | Universal Fit

Once again, we would like to reiterate that seasonal totes do not protect the rim but rather focus all of their attention on rubber tires, the more susceptible part to weather conditions. If you’d like to keep your rims as safe as possible during storage, then you can get the Kurgo Wheel Felts that fit inside of the tire tote (sold separately). The Kurgo uses a hook and loop system to fit snugly around your tires to ensure proper care when stored for the season.

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Buying Guide

The biggest challenge anyone will have when shopping for tire covers is deciding on which set to get. All five of these tire cover models work magnificently, but which among them is the perfect fit for your car’s rims and/or tiresHere’s a quick guide that will help you determine which, if any, will work best for your vehicle.

Size

First of all, you need to make sure that the protective covers can actually fit around your car’s wheels. Measuring your wheels is an easy process, and finding the right sized cover isn’t going to be much of a challenge, especially if your wheels are within the 21 to 32-inch range. However, generally speaking, a larger-than-needed tire cover is not going to do you any good since any slack in the band/hook will allow pollutants to wear your tires down during storage.

Tire Covers for Storage

Durability

The materials used to create the tire cover will almost assuredly determine how durable they are against the elements. Most tire covers are made to withstand normal weather conditions like rain and wind, but others are made of a specific fabric that is meant to prevent UV damage. All of the models mentioned above block harmful sunrays from cracking your tires when parked in front of your garage so you won’t have to worry if you decide to pick any of these covers.

Installation Process

Hooking up a set of tire covers is as easy as wrapping it around the tire and snapping the hook in place. Others require simply pulling on a cord to tighten the elastic band to block air and water from seeping in. Choosing between the two systems is a matter of personal preference, though we feel inclined to let you know that we prefer the cord-and-elastic-band system due to its ease to install and remove. Plus, there’s less of a risk of tearing when stretching the flexible fabric over your tires.

Tire Covers for Storage

Wrap-around vs. Seasonal Tote

Seasonal tire covers, totes, or bags generally refer to those without rim felts. These are great if you need to keep spare tires off the ground and protected from nature’s harsh elements, but attaching them onto your mounted tires, even with the felts in place, may leave your rims exposed. Wrap-around covers are widely considered the more user-friendly type since they’re easier to use, remove, and wash without getting moisture on the inner lining of the tire cover.

Wash-ability

Speaking of washing, maintaining the tire covers is just as crucial as maintaining your tires. Even though tire covers are durable, this doesn’t mean they won’t wear down over time. These covers don’t last a lifetime (despite some of them being covered by a “lifetime” warranty) and may become just as susceptible to natural pollutants as the tires themselves. In our humble opinion, the best tire covers are those that can be washed – such as all of the models mentioned on our list – and air-dried.

Tire Covers for Storage

FAQs

1. Are the handles strong enough to carry the tire?

The handles on seasonal tire covers may seem weak, but their stitching, at least in the case of the Michelin and Kurgo covers described on our list, are powerful enough to carry tires with tearing. It may not seem like it at first, but don’t take our word for it: numerous reviewers have left positive comments on their durability.

Tire Covers for Storage

2. Will these covers fit my vehicle’s tires?

Many people have asked regarding how well these tire covers will fit their wheels. This is understandable since the diameter of the tire isn’t the only thing worth knowing. If, for instance, you use P215/65 R15 tires, your tires are 15 inches in diameter and 215 millimeters (roughly 8-1/2 inches) wide. In this case, the ideal tire cover size would be at least 32 inches, and even that’s pushing it to its minimum limit. It’s better to go slightly larger but not several sizes too large otherwise the covers will not hook up correctly.

3. I only need one tire cover. Where can I get it?

Unfortunately, tire covers are sold in sets of four. For individual tire covers, you’ll either need to contact the manufacturer (which most likely will not lead to positive results) or buy a set and keep three in storage.

Conclusion

Covering your tires is important in ensuring their longevity while in storage. The last thing you want is to leave your car indoors for several months and have them crack when snow and ice has thawed. The harmful effects of nature’s elements can become amplified when leaving your car outdoors without the proper protective equipment. Check out our list of the best tire covers, or take a look at our guide on how to find the best tire cover for your vehicle.

Tire Covers for Storage




Categories
A-Check Air Compressing Miscellaneous

Best Portable Air Compressor Pumps in 2020

When it comes to road safety, you can never be too careful. For instance, what will you do when your car has a flat in the middle of the night, and the nearest gas station is 50 miles awayWhy risk walking the 50 miles and exposing yourself to coyotes and other nighttime hunters when you could have invested in a portable air compressor to pump your tires back to their former inflated glory

The best portable air compressors should be compact enough to store easily in the trunk or glove compartment of your car while also being able to provide enough airflow volume and pressure to get your tires ready for the long drive back home. In today’s article, we’re going to share a few tips on how to find the best portable air compressor pump in your town. But first, let’s see what our editors have deemed the best of the best.

Air Compressor Pumps



Top 5 Best Portable Air Compressor Pumps

Sunvook 150-PSI DC 12V Car Air Pump

The first model on our list is the yellow-and-black portable air compressor by Sunvook. This 150-PSI model delivers enough pressure to fill up a standard sedan tire up to 36 PSI in less than 10 minutes. When the machine’s motor has run for too long, the Sunvook’s auto-shutdown mechanism will kill the motor, ensuring the unit doesn’t harm itself when used for extended periods.

Portable Air Compressor Pump Digital Tire Inflator 150PSI DC 12V Car Air Pump with LED Light Auto tire inflator for Car, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Basketball and Other Inflatables(Yellow)

This model uses a digital pressure gauge with adjustable desired pressure value to ensure you don’t over-inflate and pop your tires. The Sunvook also comes with a handy emergency LED light to illuminate your work surface and to alert fellow motorists of your location when it’s dark. We absolutely love this compressor’s compact size and super-long 11-plus-foot power cord that lets you work on all four tires of your sedan within pulling the cord taut.

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Xflyee Portable Air Compressor

The Xflyee’s unique triangular shape makes it easy to grip and use. Similar to the Sunvook, the Xflyee also delivers a maximum of 150 PSI when blasting air, and it fills up a sedan’s tire in just under 10 minutes of work (36 PSI). In fact, except for their shapes, the Xflyee and Sunvook are identical. An auto-shutdown system prevents users from overworking the air compressor so its motor will not die from heat exhaustion.

Xflyee Portable Air Compressor Pump, Auto Digital Tire Inflator, 12V 150 PSI Tire Pump with LED Light for Cars/Motorcycle/Bicycle Tires and Other Inflatables

It comes with the same three needs for mattresses, sports balls, and car tires to inflate anything and everything you take with you on your road trip. A digital pressure gauge gives you an accurate reading of how much air has been pumped into the inflatable object, and users can also adjust how much pressure to deliver by tinkering with its buttons. The Xlflyee, however, doesn’t have a very long operating time. For roughly every 10 minutes of work, this air compressor requires about 5 minutes to cool down.

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Autobots 12V Digital Air Compressor

Created by Autobots, this digital air compressor would be something that Optimus Prime would be happy to use (not really). With a maximum pressure deliver of 150 PSI and airflow rating of 30 liters per minute, it goes without saying that the Autobots is one of the quicker portable air compressors, at least in its size category.

Autobots Portable Air Compressor Pump | 2019 Model 12v Tire Inflator With Digital Pressure Gauge | Perfect For Automobiles, Car & Bike Tires | Includes Hose & Accessories

The Autobots shares many of the same features as the previous models, such as the three included needle types, emergency LEDs, and auto-shutoff. One of the only major differences between this and the previous pumps – and not in a good way – is the relatively short runtime. After roughly 8 minutes of pumping, the Autobots requires at least 10 minutes to cool down based on customer reports. Sadly, this means you’ll need to spend more than 30 minutes to pump all four of your sedan or hatchback’s tires.

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EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Now, we’re entering the realm of the slightly different. The EPAuto is another portable air compressor that draws power from your car’s cigarette lighter port, but it’s able to produce a lot more air pressure than the previous models. With a maximum working pressure of 70 PSI, the EPAuto is able to pump the tire so of larger vehicles and inflatables, though it does take a bit more time to complete the task.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator

Apart from this, the EPAuto and the previous pumps share many of the same features (auto-shutoff, desired pressure, emergency LEDs, etc.). The main thing to takeaway from this product is that it’s slightly larger motor and efficient airflow/pressure delivery make it a viable option to have around for larger vehicles.

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Kensun 12V DC/110V AC Tire Inflator

Last but not least is the extra-versatile Kensun tire inflator. It delivers slightly less pressure than the rest (120 PSI max) but should be able to handle light- to medium-duty inflating tasks. This handy little machine doesn’t just plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket, but it can also draw power from a standard 110V wall outlet.

Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Swift Performance Tire Inflator 100 PSI for Car - Bicycle - Motorcycle - Basketball and Others with Analog Pressure Gauge (AC/DC)

The only thing you need to double- and maybe triple-check is whether AC or DC mode is turned on since the wrong power source on the wrong mode can lead to catastrophic results. Other than this, the Kensun is actually the simplest air compressor of the bunch. It uses an analog pressure gauge so there’s no way to set up a desired pressure level, meaning you’ll have to do everything by eye.

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Portable Air Compressor Pump Buying Guide

The biggest challenge anyone will ever have regarding portable air compressors is selecting the right model from the infinite sea of compressors. This guide will assist you in determining which portable air compressor is ideal for your car in emergencies or for your next outdoor gathering.

Air Compressor Pumps

Pressure

The most important thing to consider is whether the air compressor is up to the task. What we mean by this is that not all car tires are built the same and require the same amount of pressure to work optimally. Take a look at your car’s tires to see how much pressure they need, and your quest to find the best air compressor will become a lot simpler. In general, portable air compressors can deliver a maximum of 150 PSI, but their working pressure is roughly half of that.

Airflow

Airflow refers to how much air the compressor can produce rather than how pressurized it is. A higher airflow rating (measured in PSI, CFM, or LPM) typically means a lower PSI rating, but it also means quicker pumping and less time spent waiting on the air compressor to cool down.

Air Compressor Pumps

Runtime

Portable air compressors aren’t exactly known for efficient heat dissipation, hence their relatively long required cooldown times compared to their maximum operating times. The largest risk of overworking an air compressor is motor burnout. To save yourself the trouble of counting the seconds before giving the tool a rest, an auto-shutoff feature will kill the motor when it reaches a certain temperature, thereby extending the life and usefulness of the compressor.

Pressure Gauge

Your two options are digital or analog, where the former offers an easier-to-read readout without dealing with fluctuating needles. Analog pressure gauges may be harder to read, but they have quicker response times, letting you know how much air pressure is in the inflated object at that exact moment to prevent overinflating and popping. The major downside of analog pressure gauges is that they don’t have pressure setting feature that shuts down the compressor after reaching the desired pressure rating. If you work slowly and carefully, you won’t need to go digital, but it does make work a heck of a lot easier.

Size

When it comes to portability, size matters. A smaller air compressor will be easier to take with you, but it will also feature a tinier motor that delivers less airflow pressure and volume. There’s really no way to determine the “best” size – what matters is that it can either fit in your glove compartment (most likely not) or can sit in the trunk your car without taking too much space (most likely yes).

Air Compressor Pumps

Power Cord Length

The length of the power cord will determine whether the air compressor can reach all four of your tires or not. It’s always better to go slightly longer than shorter, but you can always invest in an extension cord to help solve any length issues.

AC/DC

Last but not least is the compressor’s source of power. The two available options are AC and DC (gas portable compressors aren’t that well-suited for emergency use due to their size). AC-only models aren’t that great for keeping in your car unless you know for certain that your tires will go flat near an available wall outlet. We’d recommend sticking to either a DC model that draws power from your car battery or a hybrid such as the Kensun.

FAQs

1. Can I inflate a [insert inflatable object here] with a portable air compressor?

As long as the object can be inflated and you have to right type of needle, then why notPortable air compressors are made to inflate objects wherever you are, so if you plan on having a beach party and need to fill a ball or mattress with air, then your portable compressor should be able to do the trick. The exception is overly large inflatable objects that need more than 150 PSI since air pressure resistance will work against the air compressor.

Air Compressor Pumps

2. How long can the portable air compressor run?

Runtime varies from model to model. Most portable air compressors can run for longer than 5 minutes, but they’ll need a bit more time to cool down afterward. Portable air compressors, though handy, don’t deal with heat very well, so many come with built-in auto-kill switches to ensure their motors don’t succumb to overheating.

3. How can I extend the reach of my portable air compressor?

You may think that you’re stuck with the 10, 11, or 12-foot power cord that comes with your portable air compressor pump, but oh dear reader, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are several extension cords available online that will help you extend the reach of your air compressor. If you have an extremely long vehicle, consider investing in a handy extension cord to increase your range of movement by several, several feet.

Conclusion

If you’ve ever experienced a flat tire, even in the daytime, then you know how stressful it can be waiting for a friend or AAA to pull you out of a sticky situation. The best thing you could do for your vehicle and for your safety is to invest in an inexpensive but handy portable air compressor pump. You could spend countless hours studying different models to see which one would work best for you, or you could take a look at our editors’ top 5 favorite models above. Drive safe, readers!




Categories
A-Check Miscellaneous

Best Oil Pressure Meters in 2020

Believe it or not, that oil pressure indicator that’s lit up on your car’s actually means something. When the oil pressure light turns on, it means the longevity of the engine is at risk. The longer you operate your car with improper oil pressure, the more severe damage to your car’s engine can become over time. Although your car comes with its own built-in oil pressure gauge, they may not always be as reliable as you’d like. For instance, they can be either overly sensitive or not sensitive enough, and the light indicator will depict an inaccurate picture of what’s really going on under your hood.

Oil Pressure meters for everyday



Top 5 Best Oil Pressure Meters

Auto Meter Sport-Comp 3321

The 3321 from Auto Meter is one of the simplest-looking oil pressure gauges out there. But do not mistake simplicity for functionality – this piece does exactly what you’d expect. It measures all the way up to 100 PSI, but from 0 to 10 PSI, there may be some difficulty gauging the precise readout.

Auto Meter 3321 Sport-Comp Mechanical Oil Pressure Gauge

This mechanical oil pressure gauge does not require any electrical hardwiring to install, so even if you don’t know your way around cars, you can still get the 3321 up and running in no time. Plus, everything you need to install this pressure gauge is available in the box. Around the perimeter of the gauge are incandescent lights that illuminate the analog gauge at nighttime. This, however, is perhaps the weakest thing about this pressure gauge, and we’d recommend replacing these lights with powerful LEDs if you have the time and know-how.

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Auto Meter Ultra-Lite 4321

The 4321 from Auto Meter is a lot like the 3321. In fact, apart from the writing on the face panel and color of the frame, there’s no significant different between the two. The 4321 has a maximum PSI reading of 100 PSI, but the first 10 PSI are crammed within a few millimeters.

Auto Meter 4321 Ultra-Lite Mechanical Oil Pressure Gauge

The installation process is identical to that of the 3321, and it also comes with all of the supplies needed to connect this pressure gauge to your car’s existing gauge harness. The same weak incandescent lights surround the perimeter of the 4321 and won’t do much at making the gauge readable at night (consider swapping them out with LEDs).

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Auto Meter 2604

This last Auto Meter product to grace our list is the 2604, another mechanical pressure gauge that’s easy to install and use. Once again, there’s hardly a difference between this and the two previous Auto Meters except for its frame color and writing. The good news is that whichever Auto Meters gauge you decide to roll with, you surely won’t be left disappointed.

AUTO METER 2604 Oil Pressure Gauge

This meter measures up to 100 PSI and connects to your existing gauge harness with the included nylon lines and fittings. In the box, you’ll find a set of easy-to-read instructions on how to get this pressure gauge set up. Sadly, there aren’t any pictures in the manual that depict how the gauge should be installed, but you can find everything you’ll need from Auto Meter’s website.

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Docooler Digital Oil Pressure Gauge

Now moving onto a cooler-looking pressure gauge from Docooler. Unlike the three Auto Meter models earlier, the Docooler uses a digital display to show how much oil pressure there is. This gauge can read all the way up to 120 PSI, though if your engine pressure ever surpasses the 100-PSI mark, you might be in trouble. Because this is a digital model, you shouldn’t have to worry about the gauge being unable to register pressure below 10 PSI.

Docooler Digital Oil Pressure Meter Gauge with Sensor for Auto Car 52mm 2in LCD 0~120PSI Warning Light Black

The LEDs in the display are easy to read during the day and not overpowering at night so you’ll always know what’s going on. Also, as a newer piece of technology, digital gauges are more sensitive and capable of detecting the slightest change in pressure, but in the case of the Docooler, it only shows pressure at the nearest integer.

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KKmoon Oil Pressure Meter Gauge

The final oil pressure meter on our list is from KKmoon. Looks-wise, we feel that its bright blue face and white frame might clash horribly against the dashboard of most cars, but if have a light color scheme going on, then the KKmoon might actually make a good fit.

KKmoon Oil Pressure Meter Gauge with Sensor

This is another digital gauge like the Docooler, but its reading is limited to a maximum of 100 PSI. Included in the box is all the hardware you need to install the KKmoon in a jiffy. However, there’s one glaring problem that you should be aware of, namely the blue LED backlight. Do NOT look directly at the gauge at night! That being said, this is a pretty reliable oil pressure gauge that’s easy to mount and works like a charm.

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Oil Pressure Meter Buying Guide

Oil pressure meters are pretty simple pieces of equipment, but that doesn’t mean you should purchase the first thing you see. In this brief guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know regarding how to purchase the best pressure gauge for your vehicle.

Oil-Pressure-Meters

Type

The two most widely used types of oil pressure gauges are mechanical and electric. Mechanical pressure gauges such as the models mentioned above are rather straightforward and don’t require much – if any – electrical hardwiring. Electrical pressure gauges, on the other hand, are actually simpler to install, provided you know how to replace the potentially dangerous copper tubing with a simple electrical wire. In terms of accuracy, electric pressure gauges have a very slight upper hand due to the use of sending and receiving electrical signals rather than manually measuring pressure – a process which, if installed incorrectly, can lead to completely inaccurate readings.

PSI Range

Generally speaking, a normal peak pressure reading should be anywhere between 55 and 65 PSI, though readings of up to 75 PSI may be nothing to worry about in older vehicles. It’s a good idea to find an oil pressure gauge that can read up to at least 100 PSI as a reading of 80 PSI or more means your engine is in serious trouble.

Oil Pressure meter

Zero Reading

When your vehicle is idle, the engine should be completely void of pressure. This is why zero readings are so important and why mashing the first 10 PSI within a few millimeters can lead to imprecise readings and diagnoses. To get a true zero reading, your best bet would be to get an oil pressure gauge with a digital interface.

Installation

Whether you’re a car kind of fella or not, installing an oil pressure gauge should be simple enough to do. Depending on the model, it’ll typically come with all the wires and hardware you need to install, but certain gauges (or even your car) may require purchasing additional parts like a sandwich plate.

Oil Pressure meters

LEDs

Regardless of the time of day, you’ll want to be able to see the reading on your car’s oil pressure gauge. Most pressure gauges on the market use bright LEDs, but there are quite a few (like most of Auto Meter’s products) that rely on incandescent bulbs. Whatever the type of bulb is in use, they should illuminate the gauge’s interface enough for drivers to see clearly. The bad thing about LEDs is that they might be way too bright and actually hinder your sight while driving.

FAQs

1. Can the oil pressure meter be mounted onto a sandwich plate?

Yes, you can, but you need to make sure you purchase the correct plate (sold separately) and that it compatible with your vehicle. The main thing to consider is whether there will be enough space for the sandwich plate and gauge sending unit can fit properly. Installing the plate is super-easy, and there are tons of video tutorials to help get it done. You can also follow the manufacturer’s instructions on setting it up.

2. Does the car’s factory sending unit work with a non-factory oil pressure meter?

Whether you can stick to your factory’s sending unit depends on whether it measures the exact same temperature and resistance. You can test it yourself by using water at various temperatures. However, you won’t be able to use one sending unit to run both gauges simultaneously. In addition, the factory sender is most has variable resistance and is calibrated to match its display. To play it safe, install the sending unit that comes in the box of the oil pressure meter.

Oil Pressure meter for vehicles

3. Is the oil pressure meter compatible with my vehicle?

The oil pressure gauges we mentioned on our list of the best models are compatible with most, if not all, types of vehicles – from motorcycles to sedans to large trucks. However, you may be required to purchase additional wires and mounting brackets to get the unit and lights installed properly. Also, there may be some drilling involved to get the gauge to sit flush.

Conclusion

A properly working oil pressure gauge is extremely important for the longevity of your car’s engine. If your car is still relatively young and your mechanic deems the factory gauge functional, then you probably won’t need to upgrade the oil pressure meter (unless your goal is to pimp your car’s interior).

However, if your car has been passed down for multiple generations and you’ve noticed the indicator is constantly on, it may be have become over- or under-sensitive to oil pressure, in which case you need to change the meter as soon as possible. Take a look at our list of the 5 top oil pressure meters, or if you’d like to do your own shopping, our brief buying guide should provide you with everything you need to know to make a smart purchase.




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A-Check Miscellaneous

Top 5 Best Pallet Trucks in 2020: Buying Guide

All it takes is lifting one stack of 2-ton pallets and – BAM! – Your spine is thrown out of whack. You probably should have lifted with your legs, or, you know, not attempted to lift something so heavy with your bare hands. If your business is involved in moving pallets or other such objects hither and tither, you’re going to need a reliable pallet truck to do the heavy lifting for you. The magic sauce behind a pallet truck’s awesome heavy-duty lifting abilities is the hydraulic system. With one of these babies at work, you can literally move tons of products in just a few hours.

Pallet trucks Heavy Duty



Top 5 Best Pallet Trucks

Strongway Pallet Jack – 4400-Lb.

The first pallet jack is the 4,400-pound Pallet Jack from Strongway. Its simplicity is what makes it so appealing, especially if you’re looking for a straightforward tool for lifting and moving heavy objects. It comes with 48-inch forks that rise between 3 and 7-1/2 inches, and the three-function handle works flawlessly in lifting, lowering, and holding the forks in place.

Strongway Pallet Jack - 4400-Lb. Capacity, 62in.L x 27in.W

The forks are made of heavy-duty steel and are coated in an anti-corrosive finish. Below the unit, you’ll find two 6-3/8-inch poly wheels that turn up to 180°, and several 1-7/8-inch rollers that glide the forks where you need them to go.

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SAGA Pallet Jack Scale

One of the more feature-rich pallet trucks on our list is the SAGA Pallet Jack with a digital scale. This unit has a heavy-duty 6,600-pound maximum weight load, and the 46-inch forks can rise to 7-1/2 inches off the ground. The steering wheel can turn up to 220° for easy maneuverability.

SAGA Pallet Jack Scale 6600lb x 1lb, Pallet Jack With Digital Scale Brand New Pallet Truck Scale, FREE SHIPPING! $50 Mail In Rebate!

The thing that separates this pallet truck from the rest is the onboard digital scale which gives a clear readout of how much is loaded onto the forks. The scale can switch from imperial to metric measurement with a press of a button. This jack can use rechargeable batteries that run the scale and the lifting mechanism.

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Pake Handling Tools Heavy Duty Pallet Truck/Pallet Jack

The Pake is a 6,600-pound pallet truck that comes with long 47-inch forks. The forks are made of durable 11-gauge steel that can lift anywhere from 3 to 7-1/2 inches off the floor. The weakest point of a pallet jack is the hydraulic system – the lifting mechanism that uses a single-piston – but the Pake is kept sealed shut with its flawless welding and high-quality sealing kit.

Pake Handling Tools - Heavy Duty Pallet Truck/Pallet Jack, 6600 lbs Capacity, 27 X 48

The worst thing we’ve heard about this product is that it arrived at a customer’s doorstep with skin-deep damage. Thankfully, the chipped paint did not affect the performance of the pallet jack, but it would be nicer if it came with better cushioning and shipped in a more durable pallet.

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Strongway Pallet Jack – 5500-Lb.

Strongway makes a second appearance on our list with the improved 5,500-pound pallet jack model. A full 1,100 pounds greater than the first item on our list, this is for those looking for a heavier-duty pallet for onsite lifting and repositioning.

Strongway Pallet Jack - 5500-Lb. Capacity, 61in.L x 27in.W

In every other regard, it’s almost identical with the first Strongway. Its three-function handle works perfectly, it comes with durable steel that measure 48 inches in length, and it can rise up to 7-1/2 inches off the floor.

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Crown PTH Heavy-Duty Pallet Jack/Hand Pallet Truck

Finally, we have the CROWN PTH pallet jack that can lift a massive 5,000 pounds of product. It features two large 7-inch poly wheels that can rotate up to 200° for maximum maneuverability. Similar to the two Strongways, the Crown features long 48-inch forks.

Crown PTH Heavy-Duty Pallet Jack/Hand Pallet Truck 27x48 5000 lb

There’s a sliver less than 3 inches of clearance beneath each fork, and they can rise to 7-1/2 inches. Backed by a 3-year warranty, it’s true what they say: you can’t go wrong with Crown!

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Pallet Truck Buying Guide

Manual vs. Powered

The two types of pallet trucks available are manual and powered. The obvious benefit of manual pallet trucks is they’re cheaper, but they’re also designed for heavy-duty lifting. Even large-scale businesses can benefit from manually operated pallet trucks due to their high weight capacities. However, if you’d like the shed minutes off of moving large objects, then a powered pallet truck is the better option.

Pallet-trucks

Construction

Like any tool worth investing in, the construction of the pallet truck plays a huge role in how well it will serve you. Most modern pallet trucks are designed to last for several years with regular maintenance. For the most part, a heavy-duty steel pallet truck should work for many years, and a multi-year warranty will just sweeten the deal.

Weight Capacity

You do not want to overload the pallet trucks forks since it can lead to pretty devastating, and costly, damage. Nowadays, manual pallet trucks can lift at least up to 5,000 pounds of stuff at any given time, and powered trucks can carry almost double that. Make sure you don’t surpass its weight capacity, and your pallet truck will thank you with several years of loyalty.

Speed Control

If you get a powered pallet truck, then you’ll want some way to adjust how quickly the truck moves. A full load can easily topple over if you move too quickly and brake suddenly. But if the load is properly secured, then a “high-speed” jack won’t make too much of a difference.

Lift Control

How quickly or slowly the forks lift with each pump is an important consideration if you don’t feel like dropping everything on the floor. Many newer pallet truck models come with several lift features to ensure that lifting is done safely.

Pallet trucks Durable

Wheels

The most widely used material for pallet truck wheels is polyurethane, a type of plastic that does not leave a mark on smooth floors. They also travel exceptionally well on several other types of surfaces. Furthermore, larger wheels are preferable since they provide stability on inclines and uneven terrain.

Steering

Steering is determined by how far you can turn the handles. Most pallet trucks can make a full 180° turn, but some of the handier models can turn past 200°. Generally speaking, the more the steering mechanism can turn, the easier it’ll be to move the pallet truck from place to place.

Fork Height Clearance

The height of the forks varies from model to model. More clearance is ideal for use on uneven and cushiony surfaces since they stay high above the wheels, but their maximum lift is lower than those with less vertical clearance.

Digital Scale

One of the handiest convenience-adding features is a digital scale. This gives the operator a clear idea of how much is loaded onto the forks to prevent overloading and damaging the pallet truck. These aren’t entirely accurate, so it’s always best to go below the unit’s maximum capacity than meeting the exact maximum weight limit.

Pallet Truck FAQs

1. Can pallet trucks run on carpeted surfaces?

Because pallet trucks are “mounted” onto polyurethane wheels, they can travel on many types of surfaces, including carpets and carpeted tiles. However, the pallet truck should only be used on smooth surfaces and ideally on perfectly flat areas since the tiniest incline can make pushing the truck a lot more challenging.

2. How difficult is it to assemble a pallet truck?

Pallet trucks are pretty large tools and come in humungous boxes. Unfortunately, they never come pre-assembled, so you’ll have to put the pallet truck together on your own. The good news is that putting them together isn’t difficult at all as long as you read the paperwork included in the box.

However, the sad thing is that some pallet jacks like the SAGA don’t come with a manual, so you’ll either have to assemble the truck by finding an online guide or by winging it. We’d recommend doing the former.

3. Do the wheels leave marks?

Polyurethane wheels generally do not leave streaks on floors. You might want to consider what color the wheels are since, if they do end up scraping against a concrete floor, they might leave a colored mark on concrete or stone. Luckily, removing polyurethane residue isn’t too difficult, but you may want to refrain from loading the truck with too much product since they’ll push down on the wheels and potentially cause unsightly streaks.

Pallet trucks

Conclusion

If you have a business that requires moving several tons of goods from place to place, then a pallet truck is the tool for you. Even manually operated pallet trucks – those without stands where the operator can ride safely while driving the truck back and forth – can be more than enough for the job. With a maximum load of beyond 4,000 pounds, there’s no reason why warehouses and lumber yards shouldn’t have a handy pallet truck ready on standby.

All of the models we mentioned on our top 5 best pallet truck lists are almost guaranteed to leave you a happy customer. The second truck – the SAGA – is especially worth noting due to its built-in scale. There’s no guesswork involved on how much weight you’ve loaded onto its forks. As for the rest, they’re all made of high-quality materials that won’t fail for several years.




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Top 5 Best Service Jacks of 2020: Buying Guide

The key to being a DIY god is not having the most expensive tools and equipment for getting the job done. It’s all about doing it as economically and efficient as possible. If you’re looking to do at-home car maintenance, the first things you need are a pair of reliable service jacks.

Arcan XL20 Black Service Jack Heavy Duty



For any car enthusiast, service jacks are a piece of equipment that they cannot live without. How are you going to service under your vehicle when you can’t even get it off the groundWe don’t have to tell you that cars are heavy, nor do we need to let you know that if one falls on you (God forbid), then it’s pretty much game over for you.

How reliable are Service Jacks?

Unfortunately, using service jacks to lift your car is not 100% foolproof. You could end up pinching your fingers in the screwing mechanism, or (God forbid) the car can come crashing down due to failure.

Service jacks are mainly used to lift your vehicle off the ground, giving your access to the belly of the car and the ability to remove wheels. They’re not meant to keep your car in the air for extensive periods.

Arcan XL20 Black Service Jack Ultra Low

If you need to keep your car propped up for hours at a time, consider getting jack stands along with your service jack. These stands slip beneath your car, next to the spot where your car is jacked up, and come with anti-slipping features for added safety.

How many Jacks do I need?

The number of service jacks needed depends entirely on what you plan on doing. For emergencies such as changing tires, a single jack that lifts the flat tire off the ground is all you’ll need.
If you’re doing more extensive maintenance underneath your car, then you’ll need all the help you can get to safely lift your car before slipping in jack stands.

In this case, you’ll need at least two to keep your car perfectly balanced. Setting one jack stand at a time while lifting another part of your vehicle with a single floor jack can be a recipe for disaster, no matter how many chocks you place around your car’s tires.

Differences between Service Jacks and Car Lifts

If you need a tool to lift your car off the ground, there are many different ways of doing it. in this article, we’ll focus mainly on service jacks, but let’s go over car lifts quickly.

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack

There are several types of car lifts that cost between a couple hundred to more than ten grand. Depending on the type of car lift, you can lift your car several feet off the ground, giving you additional parking space beneath. Car lifts are also great for pro mechanics who need an unobstructed view of what’s going on underneath.

Service jacks simply lift one part of your vehicle and give you access to the wheel and parts underneath. They’re considerably cheaper and a heck of a lot more portable. For the average DIY-er or car owner, using service jacks for light-duty car maintenance is all you’ll ever need to prop your vehicle up.

Top 5 Best Service Jacks

It may not be hard deciding on which type of service jack you want, but it can be a pain finding the right model. To assist you on your shopping endeavors, we’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite service jacks. A quick note: these are all floor jacks (we prefer sacrificing storage space for safety and convenience).

Blackhawk B6350

The Blackhawk B6350 is one of the most highly commended floor jacks based on customer reports. With a comfortable handle and 3-1/2-ton (7,000-pound) weight capacity, most car owners would be happy to have a B6350 in the trunk of their car.

Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack - 3.5 Ton Capacity

The B6350 is made of heavy-duty steel and comes with rolled side plates. This guarantees that the jack will prove you with car-lifting abilities for several years beyond the 1-year warranty period. You’ll love the durable design when lifting your car to the jack’s maximum height of 22 inches.

This floor jack has fast-lift technology where the saddle is raised quickly with each pump of the handle. But after making contact with your car’s lifting point, the arm rises slowly to give you maximum control over how high to lift. A built-in bypass design is helpful in preventing over-pumping, which could potentially damage the internal pistons.

However, there are a few notable drawbacks of the B6350, the most prominent of which being its tall profile. This floor jack isn’t designed for use under cars with less than 6 inches of ground clearance. Also, it is a lot heavier and bulkier than most floor jacks, although its casters help slide the tool on the ground.

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Sunex 6602LP

Appearance-wise, the Blackhawk B6350 and Sunex 6602LP don’t look a lot alike. However, it’s not the looks that matter – when it comes to performance, there’s not a lot that the Sunex 6602LP can’t do.

Sunex 6602LP 2 Ton, Low Rider Service Jack

This floor jack is a lot smaller than the Blackhawk. It has a maximum weight capacity of 2 tons (6,000 pounds), making it suitable for a wide range of smaller vehicles. If you have a truck or SUV, this is not the floor jack for you.

But if you have a low-riding sports car, then the 2-3/4-inch height profile of the 6602LP is perfect. Despite it being slow short, its lifting arm can lift 6,000-pound cars off of the floor at a maximum height of 24 inches!

Rapid Rise Technology helps you get the job done a lot quicker compared to most floor jacks. With the double-piston system, it only takes 6-1/2 pumps to lift your car to the maximum height. This is done using the long, padded 43-inch handle (51-1/2 inches when vertical attached to the floor jack) that offers a ton of leverage for optimal lift per pump.

It’d be nice if the saddle were padded, so you don’t accidentally scrape your car’s axel or lifting point. Also, several customers have experienced leaking within the first month of purchase, but Sunex’s customer support has been extremely helpful in accommodating complains and even sending replacements (backed by a 1-year warranty)

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Arcan XL2T

The Arcan XL2T is a compact floor jack with a low profile and high-raising arm. Like the previous model, this floor jack is limited to 2 tons (6,000 pounds). It’s not just a sleek-looking jack either; it’s got all the features – and more – that make this floor jack an awesome buy.

Arcan XL2T Black Low Profile Steel Service Jack - 2 Ton Capacity

Quality is the selling point of the Arcan XL2T. The entire unit is made of steel that is coated in an anti-corrosion coat of black paint. The construction of the XL2T meets all sorts of safety standards, so you can rest assured than you’re getting a perfect floor jack that won’t come crashing down during crucial moments.

When at rest, the XL2T measures in at only 2-3/4 inches high. The lifting arm can rise as high as 24 inches in less than ten pumps (dual-piston support), giving you a ton of room to move when working under your vehicle. Just like the previous model, this unit’s limited weight capacity and clearance space does not make it the right floor jack for trucks and SUVs.

On the arm, you’ll find a wide rubber pad that cushions your vehicle as it lifts. The width of the pad also helps in spreading out the weight of the work.

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Liftmaster 3-Ton Floor Jack with Quick-Lift

The Liftmaster may look like an ordinary floor jack, but its simplicity is the key to its quality. Its 3-ton (6,000 pounds) weight capacity makes it a great solution for small- to medium-sized vehicles.

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack with Quick Lift

Except for the handles and wheels, the entire unit is made of anti-corrosion steel that will withstand moist environments. This is necessary when working outdoors when you have a flat in the rain.

This is a low-profile floor jack that measures at 3 inches high (slightly larger than the previous two models). Using a dual-piston design, it can lift heavy SUVs to 22 inches high. With quick-lift technology, this Liftmaster floor jack can jack up a car to the maximum height in less than ten pumps after making contact with your car’s lifting point.

The Liftmaster is also equipped with paddings that prevent damage to your car. On the saddle, the hard rubber disc makes its way into all of the notches, reducing the amount of metal-on-metal contact. The lower part of the handle is encased in long rubber tubing to prevent dents in your car’s frame and door.

If you’re looking for a floor jack that’s straightforward, made of durable materials, and you don’t care about appearance, then the budget-friendly Liftmaster could be the right jack for you.

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Arcan XL20

Finally, we have another floor jack model from Arcan. This time, it’s the XL20 – the smaller brother to the XL2T.

Arcan XL20 Black Service Jack

Both of the Arcan floor jack models are designed to lift to 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of car off the ground; the the XL20’s lifting arm is slightly shorter. At most, the XL20’s arm lifts at a max height of 18-1/2 inches (less than 15 pumps after initial contact), which is more than enough space to change the wheel of a sedan or hatchback. Its low profile of 3-1/2 inches helps it slide under shorter cars, but pickup trucks may prove to be too tall for the XL20.

One ingenious little feature of the XL20 is the built-in breaker bar. The long handle can be used to tighten or loosen stubborn bolts with the correct adapter. The handle is also covered in foam to prevent accidental scratches and damage to your car’s door while jacking it up.

But the real value of the XL20 is its steel wheels. If you’re looking for a new floor jack, most likely your old one’s wheels have fallen off or become warped in a way that does not provide level work. The XL20’s durable steel wheels won’t dent or bend, so you’ll have a great jack for use on all types of surfaces.

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Service Jacks Buying Guide

If you’ve read the description of each of our picks of the top five service jacks, then you’ll see that there aren’t very many things to consider before making a purchase. If you decide not to go with any of the five mentioned above, then the only things you’ll need to keep in mind are the following.

Weight Capacity

Before you decide to purchase a set of service jacks online, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine whether those jacks are right for your car. Although service jacks can lift several tons of metal, they’re not indestructible, and getting the wrong model could end up costing you a fortune on repairs.

Arcan XL2T Black Low Profile Steel Service Jack

Consult your car’s owner’s manual or check online about how much your vehicle weighs. It’s also a good idea to purchase service jacks that have weight ratings that are higher than the weight of your car. That’s just common sense.

Profile

The next thing to consider is how far off your car is from the ground. Once again, check the owner’s manual or online about how much vertical clearance there is from the ground to your car’s frame. You can also go about doing this by manually measuring the distance with a ruler. Service jacks can be as small as 2-3/4 inches or as tall as 6 inches.

The height of the jack should be smaller than the minimum distance between your car’s frame and the ground. Although the jacking point of your car may be several inches higher than this, it’s important that the jack doesn’t cause any damage to the frame of your car first.

Maximum Lifting Height

You should also be aware of how high the jack can lift your vehicle. Higher isn’t always better or cost-effective, especially when dealing with shorter cars like sedans and hatchbacks. As long as the jack can lift your car from its jacking point to allow several inches of clearance between your car’s wheels and the ground, then you’ll be fine.

Sunex 6602LP 2 Ton, Low Profile Service Jack

Trucks and SUVs will require a higher maximum lifting height since their axels or other lifting points may be several inches higher than in sedans.

Material

Next, take a close look at what sort of materials go into making the service jack. The two most widely used materials are aluminum and steel.

Aluminum service jacks are lighter than steel but just as strong. Certain aluminum models can be even stronger than steel jacks in terms of longevity. They typically have the same lifting heights and profiles as their steel counterparts. Aluminum is also naturally non-corrosive, so if you live in a particularly rainy or snowy part of the globe, aluminum is the way to go. The only drawback is that they can be several times more expensive than steel jacks.

Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack

Steel jack frames are several times heavier and larger than aluminum. Comparing the aluminum and steel jacks of the same size, the steel jack will have a lower weight capacity rating. They’re also prone to corrosion if not properly cared for or covered in weatherproof paint. Storing steel jacks can be a problem unless it comes in its carrying case. The good news is that they’re less expensive than aluminum.

Types of Service Jacks

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about floor jacks, but maybe you’re looking for something differentHere, we’ll go over the most popular types of service jacks to help with car maintenance.

Scissors Jacks

Scissors jacks are the most common type of service jack available. If you’ve ever purchased a brand-new car, it most likely came with its own set of scissors jacks.

Blackhawk B6350Fast Lift Service Jack

A scissors jack kit consists of the jack and a crank handle. To use one of these, you simply place the jack beneath the jack point of your vehicle (check the owner’s manual if you still have it). When the jack is correctly positioned, insert the crank handle into the hole that connects to the screw drive. Turning the handle one way will jack the car up while turning in the opposite direction will bring your car back down.

Scissors jacks are the lightest type of service jack, making them easy to store in your car’s trunk. This is the only benefit of scissors jacks compared to other types. These are typically slower to use and a lot more dangerous due to their narrow top bases. Plus, there’s a real risk of getting your fingers trapped in the turning mechanism (scary).

Farm Jacks

Farm jacks, also known as high-lift jacks, are the tallest type of service jack. If you need to raise one side of your vehicle or other object by several feet, then you need a farm jack.

To use a farm jack, place it under the axle of your car or as close to the center of an object’s base. Lift the handle and press it down until it’s reached the desired height. To bring it back down, move the handle up slowly so it doesn’t come crashing down.

Sunex 6602LP 2 Ton Service Jack

You may be wondering why you’d ever need to lift your car up to 48 inches off the ground. Well, if you’re offroading and get trapped in mud, scissors jacks won’t do you much good. However, since farm jacks are long and slender, they don’t offer a ton of stability, so it’s not the best jack for doing at-home repairs.

Bottle/Whiskey Jacks

Bottle jacks are one of the most versatile jacks available. They’re small in size so you can store one in the trunk of your sedan or hatchback. They use a hydraulic system of pistons and fluid to lift several tons of metal to more than a foot off the ground.

Using a bottle jack is sort of a combination of both scissors and farm lifts. Place the jack beneath the lift point of your vehicle, insert the handle, and pump the jack until your car has reached the desired height. To bring your car back down, put the notched end of the handle on the release valve and turn counterclockwise carefully.

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty

The major downsides of using a bottle jack include having to be close to the vehicle as you operate the jack, and it being a bit too tall for shorter cars. Plus, they’re not 100% reliable on their own; you’ll need jack stands to support the car after lifting it with a bottle jack.

Floor Jacks

Like bottle jacks, floor jacks rely on pistons and hydraulic fluid to lift one side of your car. They have lower profiles and slip beneath vehicles of almost any size. They’re a lot larger than most types of service jacks, but the wider base sits on top of wheels that make it extremely easy to navigate beneath your car.

Using floor jacks is almost exactly like using bottle jacks, except you don’t need to be in such close proximity to your vehicle. Instead, place the jack on the ground, slide it beneath your car until the saddle is right beneath your car’s lift point, insert the handle, and pump until it has made contacted and lifted your car to the right height. To release the jack, remove the handle, place the notched end on the release valve, and turn counterclockwise slowly.

There’s nothing too bad about floor jacks – they offer a ton of stability, they’re easy to use, and they’re a lot safer than the previous service jacks types. The only real issue with floor jacks is that they have more moving parts than other service jacks, so they’re more prone to damage and wear over time.

Arcan XL2T Black Steel Service Jack

Conclusion

After reading this article, you should have a pretty good idea about what service jacks are, how each type is used, and what to look for when shopping for a pair of jacks. The most important factor to consider is whether the jack can lift your car.

When it comes to jacking your car up, safety should be your priority. Service jacks aren’t meant to keep cars up for hours at a time, so consider getting additional accessories like jack stands and/or chocks to further simplify the lifting process.




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Top 5 Best Rubber Mallets in 2020: Buying Guide

What tool should you use to knock uneven wooden workpieces into place or remove dents from thin sheet metalA correctly configured hydraulic press would work if you have the budget of a small city, but for the average Joe, a rubber mallet just makes much more sense.



Rubber mallets are very simple tools that serve a mighty purpose – to gently bash objects into place without leaving craters in their wake. A condensed piece of rubber sits atop a long, sturdy wooden handle that gives enough leverage to deliver powerful blows with each short-ranged swing.

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass

Rubber mallets are generally extremely lightweight and require several well-aimed whacks to gently nudge objects in place. Their large, blunt faces make it easy to aim but also quite poor for precision work. Furthermore, it’s important that you exercise caution when using a rubber mallet as swinging the tool too hard could result in the mallet bouncing off the target and hitting you square in the face.

Wood Mallet vs. Rubber Mallet – What’s the Difference?

While shopping for a mallet, you’ll most likely run into two mallet types – wood and rubber.

Wood mallets are extremely versatile but in the woodworking context. Uses of wood mallets include driving dowels, assembling dovetail joints, and chiseling. The wood used to make the mallet head typically made of beechwood, so marring or creating dimples in wood pieces is hardly an issue.

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet

Rubber mallets are a lot more flexible in construction and usage. The soft mallet head delivers an even softer blow than wood mallets – a definite plus when working with more delicate pieces like softwood, ceramic tiles, plastic, and sheet metal. Additionally, rubber mallets often find their way in woodworking shops for the same purposes as wood mallets.

If you’re undecided between choosing wood or rubber, the latter is the much safer, more versatile option to get.

Do I need a Rubber Mallet?

The rubber mallet is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you could own. This tool is commonly used in woodworking, metalworking, and home repair projects.

In woodworking, rubber mallets are used in both constructing and deconstructing furniture. A metal claw hammer can be used in its place, but you’ll run the risk of marring the surface regardless of how many layers of cushioning you use. Also, when cutting intricate details into the wood, a rubber mallet can be used to gently drive the chisel without damaging the workpiece in any way.

Rubber mallets are also in metalworking projects where sheets of metal need to be pounded flat or to a specific shape. However, due to the shape of the rubber mallet’s head, it’s usage in metalworking is undoubtedly limited, especially when working with thicker pieces like beams, bars, and tubes.

And finally, in home-repair jobs, a rubber mallet can prove to be an indispensable tool for a wide array of projects. From sliding and leveling tiles to installing carpeting, a rubber mallet can be the most gentle, accurate tool for doing so.

Top 5 Best Rubber Mallets

Shopping for a rubber mallet may sound like a no-brainer (it’s a piece of rubber attached to a wooden handle, right?), and for the most part, you’d be right. However, the numerous rubber mallets on the market can make settling on one particular model or design a bit of a challenge. But worry not, dear reader, as we give you our picks of the top 5 rubber mallets.

Great Neck Saw RM8 Rubber Mallet

Perhaps the most rubber-mallet-looking item on our list is the RM8 from Great Neck. The RM8 consists of a simple, 8-ounce, double-sided rubber head attached to a thin, wooden handle. There’s nothing too complicated about the RM8. However, with great simplicity comes great complication.

Great Neck Saw RM8 Rubber Mallet

This rubber mallet, head, and handle, weighs roughly 8 ounces. The lightweight design makes the RM8 far too delicate for demanding jobs like leveling tiles, driving chisels, and flattening sheet metal. However, for light-duty jobs like assembling furniture or wire shelving units, this rubber mallet is exactly what you’ll need. We’ve also noticed that the rubber chips off rather easily with each bump of the mallet head.

The thin handle, which sounds like a good idea initially, can be a bit too thin for our liking. If you have small hands, then the RM8’s handle won’t be an issue, but for those with larger-than-life palms and digits, you may need to wrap the handle in several layers of tape to give it a comfortable grip.

Another thing we noticed was that the RM8 swells AWFUL straight out of the packaging. And we’re sad to report that the smell doesn’t fade, even weeks after purchase. It’s not so bad that it’ll turn your stomach, but it’s still surprisingly foul.

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Alltrade 648336 16Oz White Rubber Mallet

The 648336 (catchy name) is one of the most durable, well-balanced rubber mallets on our list. It outshines the previous mallet which should be used sparingly. As for the 648336, this mallet can be used all day and night without the slightest hint of wear.

648336 16Oz White Rubber Mallet

Firstly, you’ll notice the rubber mallet’s white color. This isn’t just for aesthetics – though it is pleasing to the eye – it also prevents discoloration on your workpiece when bashing it into place. You may want to refrain from using this on greasy surfaces since there’s virtually no way to remove stains from the mallet head.

The weight of the entire tool is a hefty 16 ounces, which is bulky enough for more demanding jobs like flattening laying paver stones, driving chisels, and assembling furniture. This is a must-have feature for those hunting for a mallet for everyday use.

The 648336 also has a long, steel handle for added leverage. The handle is covered in a durable rubber padding that, combined with the lightweight build of the mallet, should allow you to swing accurately for hours.

What else can we say about the 648336It’s an absolute beast in woodworking, mechanic, and home touch-up jobs. It may be a bit too large for precision work – e.g. driving chisels – but for everything else, this rubber mallet is a great choice.

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TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce

The 30603 (what’s with the numbered model names of rubber mallets?) from TEKTON is another force to be reckoned. For medium- to heavy-duty hammering needs, this rubber mallet is the one to go with.

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce

The rubber head and handle together weigh 16 ounces for more challenging hammering jobs. The soft, rubber mallet head delivers a sensitive blow to your workpiece that won’t leave craters or marring. Of course, you shouldn’t swing the mallet with all of your might, but if you were to be so reckless, the soft head absorbs most of the shock from misses so it won’t jump back at you.

Not only that, but the lightweight fiberglass core inside of the poly-jacketed handle dampens vibrations by a lot. No longer will misses create localized tremors up your arm and shoulder with every missed strike.

However, the 30603 does have one rather significant issue: the mallet head. Firstly, the head isn’t that securely fixed onto the handle, meaning that it has the potential to go flying if not retightened every so often. Also, the rubber will start to chip the second the mallet is in use. Thankfully, the chipping problem isn’t so bad so you can continue using the 30603 for many years after purchase.

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Coleman Rubber Mallet with Tent Peg Remover

The Coleman Rubber Mallet is another wooden-handle-and-rubber-head tool. Simplicity is key with the Coleman, but it does have one added feature that most don’t: a tent peg remover.

Coleman Rubber Mallet

But first, the basics. The Coleman Rubber Mallet is a simple 16-ounce mallet with a durable rubber head and not-so-shock-absorbent wooden handle. Ironically, this tool was specifically designed for outdoorsman for driving pegs or stakes into the ground, but the lack of a shockproof handle and grip means extreme risk of self-injury when driving pegs into compacted earth.

The tent peg remover is located on the butt of the handle. Before using the peg-removing tool, you may need to loosen the tent peg a bit since there’s a very real risk of it becoming detached from the rubber mallet entirely.

There have been some complaints regarding the durability of this rubber mallet. The rubber head tends to chip rather easily, and using it to force stakes into hard soil is not going to do the tool any favors. Another concern is the odor that comes from the rubber when taken out of its seal. Whether Coleman is using an inferior-grade rubber or just has a stinky production facility is as good of a guess as anybody’s. And just like the Great Neck RM8, the foul smell won’t disappear until you dispose of the tool.

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TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black and White Rubber Mallet with Fiberglass Handle 25056

The TopBuilt 25056 arguably one of the best rubber mallets available. The weight distribution of this tool gives it balance for precise work. For a mallet belonging to the 16-ounce weight class, you probably won’t find one that works as beautifully as the 25056.

The most unique feature of the TopBuilt 25056 is its dual-color rubber head. With both colors at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about gunking up the white end when striking greasy objects or leaving streak marks when striking brightly colored tiles. The 25056 offers the best of both worlds in a single mallet.

This rubber mallet features a soft head that’s perfect for light- to medium-duty whacking. The softness of the head practically eliminates the risk of marring your work when missing the target. However, there is a downside to this. Namely, the rubber material won’t last very long as it chips a lot quicker than normal.

The 25056’s handle has a fiberglass core encased within a composite fiberglass and epoxy resin body and rubberized gripping pad. The handle is tougher than any wooden handle could ever hope to be, so the lifespan of this tool is limited to how long the rubber head lasts.

TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black and White Rubber Mallet with Fiberglass Handle 25056

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Rubber Mallet Buying Guide

Rubber mallets may seem like straightforward tools that don’t require much thought before purchasing, but that’s simply not the case at all. Without knowing what to look for in a rubber mallet, you might end up getting some cheap model that won’t last you two weeks.

TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black

To help you find the right rubber mallet, we’ve created a quick of the specs and features that matter most.

Rubber Durability

How can we find out whether a rubber mallet’s head will last for yearsWell, it all comes down to the flexibility of the rubber. Dense, inflexible rubber is great for driving stakes through the ground, but it will wear down much more quickly than a slightly bendable mallet head which is incapable of doing more demanding hammering tasks. If you need a harder rubber mallet, you may want to opt for a cheaper one since they need to be replaced more frequently.

TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black and White Rubber Mallet

Weight

A rubber mallet typically falls into one of three weight categories – 8 ounces, 16 ounces, and 32 ounces. The heavier the mallet is, the more effective it is at driving or moving thick, heavy materials.

But heavier mallets are also harder to lift and control, so you’ll have to take into consideration how much you can lift and how hard you can swing the mallet. Generally speaking, a 16-ounce mallet will cover most of what you would ever need it to do.

Flat-side Diameter

Although we didn’t mention this when talking about the best rubber mallets, it’s still something worth considering. The size of the mallet’s flat-side plays a role in determining how precise it is.

Narrower mallet heads are great for fine-tuning adjustments, whereas a wider mallet is mainly for driving stakes, pegs, or disassembly. All of the models above are at least 2-1/2 inches in diameter.

Handle Construction

Crazy vibrations are common when swinging a mallet, especially when you aim wrong and hit next to your target. But the materials used to construct the mallet’s handle can help in cushioning the blow.

Rubber mallets with wooden handles are inexpensive, but they don’t absorb shocks as well as handles with a fiberglass center. Furthermore, fiberglass handles are tons more durable than wooden handles, so if you’re thinking of investing in a mallet that’ll last for years, then fiberglass is the way to go.

Tool Length

The size of the handle is also an important consideration to make when shopping for a rubber mallet. Longer handles provide greater leverage to drive an object harder and deeper. Any handle that’s longer than 12 inches should provide you with both gentle tapping and hardcore destruction abilities.

White or Black Mallet Head

Mallets live in a black and white world. The color of the rubber can either stain your work piece or become stained by it. When working under the hood of your car, in a woodworking shop, or out in the wilderness where staining the rubber mallet is a possibility, then a black rubber mallet would be the better option since it conceals stains quite easily. When laying ceramic tiles, the white-colored mallet won’t leave a visible streak.

What about Metal Hammers with Rubber Caps?

You may come across a metal hammer with detachable rubber caps. These are technically rubber mallets, but the hidden metal can create such a force that it leaves dimples in wood, cracks in the plastic, and shattered tiles. Plus, these are considerably more expensive than the common rubber mallet because it’s made up of a mix of metal, rubber, and composite materials.

Final Remarks

As you can see, rubber mallets are identical in shape, but we can’t deny that some models are simply better than others. There’s no real way to avoid cracking or chipping the rubber head, especially as it grows older and wiser with time, so the one true way of determining whether it’s of a higher quality is by looking at the handle.

In our picks of the five top rubber mallets, we’ve selected cheap, replaceable models and others that cost more but last much longer, so there’s something for everybody!