A jack is a mechanical lifting device used to apply great forces or lift heavy loads. A mechanical jack employs a screw thread for lifting heavy equipment. A hydraulic jack uses hydraulic power. The most common form is a car jack, floor jack or garage jack, which lifts vehicles so that maintenance can be performed. Jacks are usually rated for a maximum lifting capacity (for example, 1.5 tons or 3 tons). Industrial jacks can be rated for many tons of load.
Hydraulic jacks are typically used for shop work, rather than as an emergency jack to be carried with the vehicle. Use of jacks not designed for a specific vehicle requires more than the usual care in selecting ground conditions, the jacking point on a vehicle, and to ensure stability when the jack is extended. Hydraulic jacks are often used to lift elevators in low and medium rise buildings.
An air hydraulic jack is a hydraulic jack that is actuated by compressed air - for example, air from a compressor - instead of human work. This eliminates the need for the user to actuate the hydraulic mechanism, saving effort and potentially increasing speed. Sometimes, such jacks are also able to be operated by the normal hydraulic actuation method, thereby retaining functionality, even if a source of compressed air is not available.