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What Type of Hydraulic Fluid for the Floor Jack Do I Need?

Is your floor jack in need of a refill of hydraulic fluid to be in good working order? Are you confused about the properties that are in hydraulic fluid? Are you looking for alternative options for substituting hydraulic oil for your floor jack?

What should be the features of suitable hydraulic fluid for the floor jack?

When it comes to choosing hydraulic fluid for floor jacks, one cannot be more careful selecting the appropriate one. However, having prominent features like- viscosity and thermal stability can surely make hydraulic fluids suitable for your floor jack. 


Hydraulic jack fluids are viscous fluids. In order to consistently and effectively transmit power, all hydraulic fluids must be able to maintain optimum viscosity during operating in cold or hot temperatures.

Thermal Stability:

Compatibility with too much hot & cold operating conditions is important for the hydraulic system to maintain. Hence, for extension of fluid life, improved thermal and chemical stability is a must feature to have for floor jacks.

What type of hydraulic fluid for the floor jack do I need?

Regular hydraulic fluid with the right viscosity always works well for the floor jack. However, it is advised to be careful in using the hydraulic jacks labeled as “ATF” or Automatic Transmission Fluid or “Do Not Use ATF”. In addition, you can also use power steering fluid in your floor jack. 


It is important that the floor jack you are using has the proper amount of lubrication in the hydraulic system so that it can work smoothly 

In addition, automatic transmission fluid is usable in the hydraulic system and it offers to prolong the longevity of your floor jack and works to prevent any type of rust.


You do not want to be faced with any challenges or dangers when your car is lifted up with the help of a floor jack. 

Therefore, you need something as sturdy as the automatic transmission fluid or power steering fluid to make your floor jack run longer and perform with more persistence. 

Low Forming Quality: 

Usage of these types of fluids in your floor jack can really assist in removing any types of rust and it can also protect your floor jack from oxidization. 

In addition, these fluids contain a non-corrosive element in them so that your floor jack metal surface does not get damaged. 

These fluids which are in fact different forms of hydraulic fluid have the preferable viscosity which helps to keep the system running with proper lubrication properties. 

What can I use as a substitute for hydraulic oil?

There are some substitutes that you can use instead of using hydraulic oils however, it is always better to be knowledgeable about which oils can be used and what are not the wisest options to use in place of hydraulic oil. 

Vegetable Oil:

Vegetable oils can be used as a substitute for hydraulic oils or hydraulic systems as it is a lightweight oil and does not have any excess materials that can cause harm to the system and it is also very environmentally friendly. 

Engine Oil:

You can definitely use the engine oil but the oil has to be very lightweight. One of the major reasons why you can use engine oil as a substitute for hydraulic oils is due to the similar additives that are present in both engine and hydraulic oil. 

Transmission Fluid:

You can use transmission fluid as a last resort if do not happen to have any hydraulic oil around to use. 

Although you can use transmission fluid as a substitute but you need to remember that transmission fluid does not have the same level of lubrication and viscosity as hydraulic oils. 

Power Steering Fluid:

 Power steering fluid can also be used in place of hydraulic oils as it is somewhat compatible and power steering fluid can also be called a version or form of the hydraulic oil. 

In addition, power steering fluid can also be a good alternative in case of providing proper lubrication and in being well suited for the seals. 

Gear Oil:

Although gear oil has a lot of differences from hydraulic oil. For example, gear oil is thicker in consistency and hydraulic oil is not that thicker but it still can be used in place of hydraulic oil. 

What fluid or oil cannot be used on the floor jack?

Floor jacks are really important and are really handy when it comes to lifting your cars without any major hassle however, you have to be mindful of the oil or fluid that can or can not be used in your floor jack to remove any further surprises. 

Motor Oil:

It is not the wisest decision to use motor oils in the floor jack. The mechanism that motor oil has is very different from that of the preferable oils for a floor jack.

In addition, motor oils are usually operated for higher temperatures which are not very typical of the floor jack. 

Compressor Oil:

You can not use compressor oil in your floor jack. The oil needed for the floor jack should be durable enough and compressor oil does not have the right durability and viscosity needed for the mechanism of motor oils. 

Brake Fluid:

You should not use brake fluid in your floor jack as the additives in the brake fluid is not compatible when put in the floor jack. 

In addition, if you happen to use brake fluid in your floor jack, chances are your floor jack’s seal will be ruined. There is also alcohol in the brake fluid which can also cause serious damage to the system. 

How to add hydraulic fluid to a floor jack?

It is rather very easy to add hydraulic oil to a floor jack but being knowledgeable of the proper steps can help make your work even more efficient and the whole process much easier.

Place on a Levelled Place:

The first thing you need to do is that you have to make sure that you put the floor jack in a lower leveled position so that you can fill up the floor jack with oil without any oil spillage. 

In addition, another thing you can do is that you can add the hydraulic fluid to the floor jack on the street or in your garage so that you do not have the oil stink and oil spillage all over your house. 

Release the Valve: 

The next thing you need to do is that you have to release the valve on the floor jack by either pressing the release valve or by turning the handle in an anti-clock motion so that you have easy access to the filler compartment. After that, you also have to remove the oil filler plug.

Check the Oil Level:

One of the important steps in filling your floor jack with oil is that you need to check the previous oil level so that you have a correct estimate of how much oil you need to pour into the floor jack without overflowing it. 

Fill with Hydraulic Oil:

Now, all there is left for you to do is to fill the oil filler with hydraulic fluid, and then you have to put the plug back onto the oil filler and seal it with screws.

In addition, you also need to clean all the excess oil off the surface to avoid any rusting, and then you are good to use your floor jack. 

How often to change floor jack oil?

Every floor jack is different therefore, there may not be one exact answer related to the idea of how often you need to change the floor jack oil.

However, the most obvious answer is that you need to refill your floor jack occasionally to make it run smoothly. The general estimate is that you need to change the floor jack oil every hundred hours of work hours

However, it is highly advised to check the manual to exactly know the changing time that is compatible with each floor jack. 

Is there a difference between hydraulic fluid and oil?

There are some noticeable differences between hydraulic fluid and hydraulic oil. The first difference is that hydraulic fluid has more application than oil.

In addition, hydraulic fluid has less flammability than hydraulic oil. Hydraulic fluid can operate at a varying range of temperatures but such is not feasible with hydraulic oil. 

In addition, hydraulic fluid is the safest option to use an automatic transmission, and such is not the case for hydraulic oil. 

 Final thoughts

To sum up, nothing can beat the effectiveness of floor jacks, and to maintain that perfect level of working capacity, you need to use hydraulic oils such as ATF and 8W32 Hydraulic jack oil. These fluids and oil will work best to retain the proper lubrication, viscosity, and longevity.