Antique Car Jack Identification & Value (Guide with Types)

If you are a car freak, you must have dreamt of old cars and their parts. However, we know how fancy and costly antique cars really are. But did you know that even small car accessories like old car jacks are in demand among antique lovers? Well, that’s right!

And the reason is those rare, pure iron sockets and arms of vintage jacks. And if they are in good shape, you might as well use them for your garage. So, isn’t it usability cum investment? So, today, let’s check and value your old carjack for the best deal!

Key Takeaways

  • Get car jacks with solid iron castors, bases, and levers for an old 1700s make. But go with the 1900s jacks if you want the thin, portable models.
  • You can get your car jacks in three types of metal: iron, brass, and steel. The iron and brass ones are more costly.
  • Check if your car jack threads are square, step-like, or trapezoidal. If not, it might be a new, machine-made model.
  • Pick car jacks with bare metal, manual levers, and floor or hi-lifts for more returns.

Key Identification Features of An Antique Car Jack

Antique Car Jack with Rotating Levers and Cross Bars

Get a small baby weighing scale and lay it flat on the ground. Now, put your jack in its carrier basket and check the weight. If it weighs 25 – 30 lbs and has a 3-5 foot body, it’s old and hand joint, costing $400 – 500. But if lighter, it might be new and cheap!

But what if some of your jack’s parts are missing? You might not get its exact weight, right? So, here are other features you must look for:

  • 2 – 3 ton lifting capacity with a 13 – 25 inch lever arm and release valve
  • Cast iron A-shape base frame with copper or tin bearings
  • 5 – 6 inch iron castors with detachable springs and ball bearings
  • 8 – 10 inch rotating levers with a central crosscut bar for grip

History & Evolution of Car Jacks

We all know there were no automatic tools in the English colonial era, right? So, needless to say, the old car jacks were crude and manual. They had grooved screw bars and levers to lift the vehicle. But they were really heavy and had no locks, which made them really risky!

It was in the 1830s that William Curtis made semi-automatic car jacks. For instance, he added push-pull levers and valves for easy lifting. He even explored a crisscross and hook lever to help the jack stay in place. But this increased the friction and damage!

The 1900s were more about machines and automation. So, you can see hydraulic and battery car jacks in this era! These are pretty lightweight, polished, and rust-free. But they are so common and machine-made. So, they might be cheaper than $400.

3 Types of Vintage Car Jacks & Their Values

Did you know that in the ancient era, people used different car jacks for different cars? And each has a separate mechanism and lever that impacts cost. Let’s see how!

1. Vintage Floor Jacks

Vintage Floor Jacks with an Alloyed Steel Body

You might have seen jacks with modular, horizontal linkage in movies. Well, floor jacks look the same but have vertical lifting pads and levers. You’ll also see an iron unit and a low-profile arch to hold the car. Plus, they have grooved grips and levers, costing up to $700.

2. Old Scissor Jacks

If your jack has a criss-cross hydraulic lift with a 5-inch lever, it’s a scissor jack! Such models have slender steel bodies and a 7 – 8 inch base for balance. Plus, they lift about 2000 – 4000 lbs easily. But since they are new and common, they cost less than $120.

3. Hi-Lift Jacks

Antique Hi-Lift Carjacks with Cast Iron Rods

Just as the name says, hi-lift jacks have tall arms to lift cars in uneven terrains. So, they are also more durable and can lift about 5000 – 7000 pounds easily. Plus, most weigh about 30 – 40 pounds with 5 – 6 feet bases. So, they cost more, roughly about $300 – 400.

6 Factors to Identify & Value Antique Car Jacks

After identifying your car jack’s type and its base price, it’s time to see what affects its auction cost and demand below!

1. Car Jack’s Date & Age

Old Scissors Car Jack from the 1800s

Every antique lover is a big fan of handmade artifacts, right? So, if you want all those crude, rusty pieces, stick to the 1700s models. But these won’t be for cars and will have low lifting capacity. So, you won’t get a good value for them.

The collectible car ones start from the 1800s! So, you’ll get all the usable hydraulic pieces from this era. And if you want the thin and portable ones, the 1900s models are the best, but they’re relatively less precious and expensive.

How Do You Check a 1700s Car Jack?

Check if your old jack has cast iron bodies, levers, and wheels! Most will be small, about 6 – 7 inches, with a threaded rod and manual handle. Also, if you find linear lifts and wax or Shellac surfaces, you can price the jack up to $800.

How Does an 1800s Car Jack Look?

Most of the 1800s car jacks are composite. So, you’ll see polished rods, levers, and hydraulic lifts with them. But even hand-joint screws and pulleys will be common. Most will also have good ground clearance and a 5000 – 6000 lbs capacity. So, they cost up to $500.

How Do You Spot a 1900s Car Jack?

Does your car jack have machine-powered steel levers? Or is it very tall, lightweight, and foldable? If yes, it must be a 1900s car jack! Most of these models also have extra features like overload protection, clearance, and locks. But these are new, costing about $400 – 500.

And if you still need clarity, you can check its patent numbers too! Here’s a list:

YearAgePatent NumberAverage Valuation
1900s123 yearsUS855255A$300 – 400
1900s123 years3959970$200 – 250
1970s53 years4048800$100 – 120

Get antique car jacks with an oil, pump, or discharge ball valve for an old make.

2. Rod Materials

Antique Car Jacks with Iron or Steel Rods

Makers always made car jack bases in cast iron or steel. So, it’s the car jack rod materials that impact its total cost. For example, if your car jack has a hand-polished iron or brass rod, it’s old and rare. But if it’s aluminum or steel, it’s a big no for good returns!

Want to know the exact cost of each car jack material? Here’s a list:

Old Car Jack Rod Materials Average Valuation
Cast & Alloyed Iron$100 – 200
Brass or Chrome$80 – 120
Cast & Alloyed Steel$70 – 80
Stainless & Carbide Steel$50 – 60
Aluminum or Galvanized Steel$20 – 30

Get car jacks with a grooved, chiseled, or hammered finish for an old make.

3. Colors & Finishes

Vintage Car Jacks with a Handpainted Patina

If you want old, handmade car jacks, you better stick to bare metal ones. You can also get oxidized – gray or pewter ones at your antique dealer. But, these are really cheap, and won’t cost much. Similarly, even painted red or beige jacks are new and common!

And here’s the value of each car jack color to help you decide!

Old Car Jack Rod ColorsAverage Valuation
Bare or Oxidized Metal$500 – 700
Brown, Black & White$400 – 450
Gray or Pewter$200 – 300
Green, Blue & Yellow$150 – 250
Red or Pink$100 – 150
Beige or Cream$70 – 80

Aged gray car jacks might look like alloyed iron. So, brush the rust and check the finish properly before purchase.

4. Brand & Manufacturer

Still not sure about your car jack’s material and colors? Well, now rotate the car jack’s lever and check for any logos or brands! You can then scroll down the brand’s website to price your piece! Also, look for stamped date codes or trademarks to hike costs.

Here’s a list of some collectible vintage car jack brands:

Old Car Jack’s NameManufacturerAntique Car Jack TypeAverage Valuation
Duff JackBarrettGrooved, Lever Jack$900 – 1000
Ton Railroad JackSimplexLever Jack$500 – 600
Austin British Cobra JackShelley JacksFloor Jack$400 – 500
Co Car Automobile JackVulcanHi-Lift Jack$200 – 250

Avoid getting chipped, faded, or rusty car jacks, as they might lose their value by 15 – 20%.

5. Car Jack Seals

Unscrew your car jack’s lever and check the seals inside. If you see typical metal or wax seals, increase your car jack’s cost by 10 – 12%. But if you see polished O-rings and rivets, you might have a new $200 model. Also, check their pressure capacity for best returns.

6. Car Jack Threads

You’ll get antique car jacks in four threads – square, trapezoidal, buttress, and chisel. Of these, the flat square or buttress threads are precious, costing about $300 – 400. On the other hand, the trapezoidal ones are new and cheap, at about $150.

How Do You Clean Antique Car Jacks?

Mix a 1:2 solution of soap and water. Now, take a soft scouring brush and scrub along the edges and grooves properly. Next, spray some vinegar, allow it to sit for 2- 3 hours, and clean it later with a paper towel.

Which Is the Best Oil to Lubricate an Old Car Jack?

Any ISO grade 32 lube or mineral oil works best for car jacks. Apart from that, you can also use wax or vegetable oil to lubricate the lifts.

What Can I Do with an Old Car Jack?

You can check your old jack’s features, price it rightly and put it up for a bid. But if it’s broken and rusty, you can take it to a metal scraping center and exchange it for money.

We know that dealers know little about antique car jacks! So, here, we have listed all the factors—seals, brands, colors, and age—to help you value your car jack correctly. Now, you just have to observe your piece and add the values next to it! Also, check the logos and brands!

What other vintage hardware tools do you want to know? ‘Old Meat Cleavers,’ ‘Sad Irons,’ or ‘Vintage Broad Axes’? Well, we already have a ready guide for each!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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