A floor jack's STEEL WHEELS

Steel wheels aren't as robust as one might suppose. The 3.5-ton Michelin floor jack's steel wheels laid down a thin layer of a white, chalk-like substance which I can only suppose was
ground steel extracted from the wheels by the heavy weight of the car as the jack rolled forward on the concrete ground while lifting the car.
The substance looked a little like chalk scrawled on a concrete street.
I think next time I'll lay a thin piece of wood or particle board down on the floor for the jack to roll forward on as it lifts the car.
Using a wooden runway probably isn't keeping with the rules of floor jack operation, but I want the steel wheels to last.
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Built_Well wrote:

It's the portland cement in the concrete on the surface that is being damaged, not the steel wheels.
You can take a metal punch or chisel and scrape it on cement to observe the same on a smaller scale.
On a larger scale it does the same when you drive a dozer on concrete. The tracks scrape the surface quite badly leaving the white marks, especially when turning.
Your thought to protect it is a good plan. I don't have to do it often but I use sheets of particle board when working on tracked equipment rolling on a concrete floor that is six inches thick and reinforced. A couple of times can ruin the boards but the floor surface is saved for the most part. Even a small Cat dozer can weigh twelve tons.
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Ph@tBoy wrote:

======= That's great news! Better the parking garage's concrete floor than the Michelin's wheels :-)
I love this floor jack but it's a bear to lug around: 90 pounds to lift it in and out of the car's trunk. (My apartment building's contract doesn't allow working on the car in the building's parking lot :-(
It wouldn't be so bad lifting up the jack, but there isn't a good place to grip it near the casters. Plus during the summer, I usually stop weight-lifting and begin running, so my biceps and triceps aren't what they were 6 months ago when I last lifted the jack. It was easy to lift then, but much harder now.
If you need a good, reliable floor jack, Sam's Club is selling the Michelin for $65--best cheap one I've seen anywhere.
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--best cheap one I've seen

Now, THERE's a classic oxymoron.......
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If you need a good, reliable floor jack, Sam's Club is selling the Michelin for $65--best cheap one I've seen anywhere. ----------------
Uh..have you 'seen' the ones in harbor freight..? Half the cost of yours...
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Trying to protect the concrete is an unsafe idea. The reason why these jacks use steel wheels is so they will roll easily on concrete. When you jack up a car, the jack has to move to compensate for the shifting lift saddle. Placing a piece of wood under the jack's wheels will increase the friction to the point where it's moving, or trying to move, the car instead of the jack. You could end up with a very unstable lift that could damage the jack, the car or you. Although the powder is very noticeable, brush it away and try to feel any groove the wheels have cut in the concrete. You won't be able to find any, it really doesn't do any great amount of damage to the concrete.
Jack
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On Sat, 21 Jun 2008 13:29:06 GMT, Retired VIP

Well put, Jack. The OP should lift with the jack as it was intended and place good jackstands under the car (WITHOUT WOOD under either)
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It's not steel from the wheels. Its concrete dust/marks in the concrete from the weight on the steel wheels. That's usually a sign of a weak mix or old concrete. We always called a weak mix a "barn yard" mix, meaning there wasn't as much "cement" in the mix, which made it weaker/cheaper, but was fine for a barn yard pour. Not allot of weight going to be on it. Was manly for ease of cleaning the barn yard.
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wrote:

Have you ever seen any figures on the amount of stress a hoofed animal places on concrete. Believe me when I say that a 1000 pound cow will stress a concrete floor more than a 4 ton tractor.
No one wants to put down a concrete floor more than once. So the mix isn't short on Portland cement on purpose. The amount of money saved is not very great and the durability of the finished floor is much reduced.
Your "barn yard mix" comes from the fact that most of these older concrete floors were mixed in a small batch mixer. You measured the amount of sand, gravel and cement by the shovel full, not weight. The amount of water is measured by eye and supplied by a garden hose. So the proportions are an estimate at best. Add that to the fact that these floors have been subjected to 75 to 100 years of acid leaching by animal urine and fecal matter and you have concrete that isn't at it's best.
Jack
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Well, I guess if wood or particle board might hamper the forward movement of the jack, perhaps because of a warp in the board, how about just laying a piece of double-corrugated cardboard down?
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As several others have pointed out, the white marks are from the concrete, not the jack's wheels.
Concrete is the most stable surface for using a rolling floor jack, and putting anything under the jack would reduce the stability. I have been using a rolling jack for 40 years and still cannot see any permanent visible marks on any of my garage floors. Since you are not working in your own garage anyway, I'd skip the cardboard, particle board, steel plates, or anything else and just sweep the dust away when done.
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Ray O wrote:

And I'm wondering if you leave the jack in the trunk all the time? If so what about the extra amount of gasoline used hauling a 90lb jack around in the trunk. The auto manufactures spend millions getting 90lb off the weight of a car.
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Good point!
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And I'm wondering if you leave the jack in the trunk all the time? If so what about the extra amount of gasoline used hauling a 90lb jack around in the trunk. The auto manufactures spend millions getting 90lb off the weight of a car. ------------
Whatever he 'thinks' he's saved in the jack, he's wasting in gas..Is that why they call them 'dumbbells'..?
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Moe wrote:

======= You're funny :-P
Of course I don't leave the 90-pound jack in the trunk all the time. A real comedian, you are, sweety :-)
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Buy a condo or membership here in Chicago's western suburbs where auto enthusiasts are welcomed: http://www.autobahncountryclub.net /
They are almost sold out so act now before it is too late!
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On Sat, 21 Jun 2008 07:01:33 -0700 (PDT), Built_Well

Corrugated cardboard would have a lot higher rolling resistance. You would have to crush the corrugations to move.
Now "railroad board" might work for a one-shot use, that's the thick paper cardboard they use as the backing for note pads and legal pads. You would have to order it in from a paper supplier.
Best and easiest to obtain material for a floor protector is 1/4" tempered hardboard - basically pegboard without the holes. Available at almost any good lumber yard or home center.
The 1/8" thickness will fall apart too fast.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

====== I found some of the hardboard (hole-less pegboard) at Lowe's last night. But instead of 1/4-inch, it's 3/16-inch, right in between 1/8" and 1/4". I'll probably check Home Depot.
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I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. I stand corrected. But I still say the green stuff tastes better..
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On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 08:17:32 -0700 (PDT), Built_Well wrote:

That might be thick enough to hold up. The only way to know for sure is to try it - if it shreds, then you need the thicker stuff...
But I wouldn't bother using it with a regular floor jack on your own garage floor slab - even though the sight of the concrete dust might be unsettling the amount of actual damage is miniscule, and it would take decades of working on cars daily in the same places to see any real consequences.
If it does enough damage to be seen in one or two uses you've got bigger problems - like substandard concrete used for the slab, or they didn't seal and cure it properly and now it's spalling.
The only time we ever bother putting down hardboard on the floors is working on a building and they already have finished the floors (tiled, carpeted or painted) with steel wheel or very heavy implements like manlifts.
Even dropping a hammer or a conduit bender can cause thousands in damage to a tile floor if they have to redo large sections. Of course it could happen even through the hardboard, but you can show that you took reasonable and prudent precautions.
--<< Bruce >>--
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