Informational Guide

How To Release a Floor Jack (With and Without Handle)

If you are working in your shop, you need to know how to release a floor jack. In this guide, we show you the best way to release the jack, whether or not it has a handle. Our guide also covers some of the top questions you’ve likely been asking. 

You don’t need any expertise to lower a floor jack. However, it’s best to practice before you need to do it. We recommend raising and lowering your jack when there’s no load on it, so you can get used to the operation. Once you have a car on it, the feel of the operation will be different. Plus, you don’t want to be learning when your car is relying on the jack for support. 

Start by looking at your jack. Will you be lowering it by twisting the jack handle counterclockwise? That’s how most jacks function. If this isn’t how your jack works, you might need to remove the handle to release the pressure.  

Your next step is to inspect the jack and stands. You want to make sure that the floor jack is in good shape and nothing is amiss. Your jack stands should also be in the proper location to support the car if you are resting it on them, or they should be removed completely if you are bringing the car back to the ground.  

If you are turning the handle to release the jack, put the end over the notched screw. This is right below where the handle is attached to the floor jack. Twist the jack handle counterclockwise to release the pressure. 

If there are other people in the area when you are releasing the jack, you want to announce it to those around you. Yell “Clear” to alert them that you are bringing down the car.  

You can adjust the descent rate by slowly turning the handle. The more you turn it, the faster it is going to come down. It’s best to go nice and slow to avoid causing any damage.  

How To Release A Floor Jack

When Should You Release A Floor Jack?  

When you are ready to lower the car either onto the jack stands or the ground, you will need to release the floor jack. The floor jack should only be released after a complete inspection, ensuring that it is in good working order. Prior to bringing the jack down, the release valve will be closed, holding the pressure inside. 

Where is the release valve on a floor jack? The release valve is opened when you turn your handle counterclockwise. The valve is activated, allowing the pressure to come out of the jack, so it can be lowered back down to the ground.  

When To Release A Floor Jack

Can You Release A Floor Jack Without A Handle? (How-To) 

While it’s not ideal, there may come a time when you need to know how to release a floor jack without a handle. The floor jack handle is needed for lowering and raising your car into the air. Without the handle, it can be nearly impossible to pump it up or lower it, but there are some tricks that might help. 

If the handle comes off while the car is in the air, you will need another way to get it down. Ideally, you could use another jack to lift the car higher and pull the broken one out of the way. Once it is out from under the car, you might be able to reinstall the handle and put it down the right way. 

However, if this isn’t an option for you, it’s best to get a screwdriver and try to turn the release valve manually. The only problem with this method is that you might need to be in a position under the car that’s not safe as the jack is coming down. For this reason, we don’t recommend going this avenue if you have another option available to you. 

You always want to follow the rules of safely using a jack. If you don’t, there’s always a chance of injury or death.  

Releasing A Floor Jack FAQs 

How do you adjust a hydraulic floor jack? 

To lower or raise the hydraulic jack, you need to move the handle in the appropriate direction. To bring the load down, you turn the handle counterclockwise, while pumping the handle will raise the vehicle.  

Can a hydraulic jack be used on its side? 

The floor jack isn’t meant to be used on its side, but some other hydraulic jack types might be usable on their sides. For example, there are some bottle jacks that could work on their sides.  

How do you fix a jack that wont go up? 

 You could be trying to put too much weight on it, so make sure it’s rated for what you are using it on. If that’s not the problem, the hydraulic fluid might be low or too high. It’s also possible that air is trapped in the system or there’s a mechanical failure.  


With the steps to release a floor jack, you can lower your vehicle safely and effectively. In no time, you will be using the floor jack as a regular professional does.