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My car's mass is approximately 1800kg from memory and I intend to purchase a trolley jack so that I don't have to use the provided scissor jack when at home. I've noticed that trolley jacks have various ratings, and I've seen one rated for 1400kg for around $70, and then the next model up (rated for 2000kg) is pushing $200.

My question is a jack rated for 1400kg suitable for use with my car, given that it's never actually taking the full weight of the car?

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As you thought the jack is more than strong enough because you will not be lifting the entire car. Just remember that to be safe use jackstands if you will be under the vehicle or doing more than changing a tire.

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    Anytime a body part is under the car or in a place where the car dropping could cause injury, use those jackstands. Also, please be aware that most jacks fail "soft". They don't suddenly drop on you, they just gradually start easing down. So, also use jackstands if the car needs to be kept in the air for any period of time, especially if left unattended. – Brian Knoblauch Jul 5 '12 at 16:17
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There's another criterion for suitability, namely the head of the trolley jack.

In most cases, the head of a trolley jack is different than the head of a scissor jack. The 4 jack points near each wheel of the car are probably designed for the exact same scissor jack that came with the car, should you happen to have a car with scissor jack and spare tire instead of a tire inflator kit.

You cannot just jack up the car from any point. The jack point should be designed for the exact type of the head in the jack.

For example, on my 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid, the 2 points designed for trolley jacks are in front of the car and in rear of the car, jacking up both left and right sides at the same time. The 4 points designed for scissor jack are near each tire.

You could consider either:

  • Finding out how many trolley jack points your car has and where they are. Note there in some cases may be only 2 such points jacking up both left and right sides at the same time, the front point holding more than half of the car weight due to an uneven weight distribution
  • Purchasing a slotted rubber converter that converts the head of a trolley jack to be similar to the head of a scissor jack (just search for "car jack adapter" on eBay for many examples) -- the slotted rubber converter should be compatible with the jack you're using (check its size) and compatible with the car you have (check it fits well to the jack position)
  • Or just use the scissor jack that came with the car

In contrast to my 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid, the Tesla electric cars apparently have 4 jack points designed for a trolley jack. A Tesla doesn't come with a spare tire or a scissor jack, which is probably why they chose to make the jack points trolley jack compatible.

As for the weight rating, 1400kg is more than suitable unless the manufacturer has overrated the product. You would be lifting at most bit over half of the car, let's say for security reasons due to uneven weight distribution 70% 1 of the car's weight, which would be 1260 kg. And this happens only if the car has only 2 jack points, with the front one lifting up the entire front of the car. With 4 jack points, the load would be far lower.

1: Yes, I know the weight distribution is more like 60%/40% or even 55%/45%, but for the sake of having a safety margin, I used 70%/30%.

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