Tool Review: OTC Aluminum Jack and Stands Package
Need a low-profile floor jack for those occasions where you need to jack a vehicle with minimal ground clearance? There’s no need to spend ridiculous dollars for a pro race jack or to waste money on an inexpensive jack of low quality.
Granted, high-dollar pro aluminum race jacks typically are available with a one- to three-pump operation to maximum height, which is needed in the flurry of fast-paced pit activity. The OTC jack, while it could certainly be used in a racing application, is primarily designed for in-shop use where a low-profile stance (to access low-ride-height sports cars) and light carry weight are distinct advantages.
While pro racing jacks are available in the 30 to 32 pound weight range, the OTC jack weighs in at 43 pounds (yes, heavier than a pro jack, but notably lighter than a conventional steel jack).
Fit and finish
The OTC aluminum jack isn’t a bargain-basement, throw-away jack by any means. If OTC’s name appears on a piece of equipment, you know it’s going to be durable and worry-free. Advertised as being constructed of “aircraft grade” aluminum, it appears as though the material is 6061 aluminum, which provides an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Anyone who knows anything about professional racing realizes that a pro-level aluminum race jack typically runs well over $1,000. You’re also likely aware that a slew of import “race” jacks are available on the cheap for $150 or less. Those “bargain” jacks are “race jacks” by name only. Some of these cheap jacks, while carrying an attractive price, are junk and prone to failure. The OTC jack is available for around $250 retail, which is a fantastic bargain, especially considering that it’s offered by a manufacturer well known for high quality.
The two-piece aluminum tubular handle is a nice feature. With a 45-inch overall length, the two-piece construction allows quick and easy disassembly/assembly via a spring-loaded ball securing system. Knocking the handle down provides storage and/or transport convenience.
While appearance may have nothing to do with function, an attractive façade always adds a nice visual touch in any shop. Upon close inspection, it appears as though the aluminum has been hard anodized, with the side panels in blue. The surfaces are easy to clean and don’t appear to be easily oxidized, even in a wet shop environment. (I hosed down the jack and stands and let them sit overnight, with no apparent ill effects.) It appears as though they’ll stay clean and pro-looking for a long time.
Noteworthy features include two rear caster wheels, a single front 5.355-inch-wide by 1.966-inch diameter roller wheel, and twin cylinders, contacted by heavy-duty roller bearings. The single front roller allows a lower-profile frontal area, and allows the jack to roll smoother and more accurately than a jack with individual front wheels. There’s nothing cheap or wimpy about this jack.
A handy jack wall mount also is available which allows wall storage of the jack and both sections of the jack handle.
By the way, the finish on the handle is worth noting. The surface has been media blasted prior to coating, providing a grippable surface that isn’t too slippery from the base to the upper kurled grip area. When you pick it up off the floor with one hand on a side handle and the other hand on the “smoother” area of the handle, the handle doesn’t slip out of your hand. It feels very tactile and secure, unlike many high-dollar pro race jacks I’ve had in the past. This is a nice touch.
As the owner of a former endurance road racing team, I have quite a bit of experience with aluminum rack jacks. While the OTC jack may be on the heavy side as compared to ridiculously expensive pro jacks, and requires a mere five pumps to achieve max height. Compared to traditional steel jacks, it’s feather light and provides much quicker pumping operation. It’s quick, light, durable and attractive. Especially if your shop deals with high-dollar vehicles and/or vehicles with low ride heights, you’ll love this little guy. And since it carries the OTC name, it’s gonna last.
I rolled the jack around my shop for a couple of weeks. It never hung up on a small piece of grit or scuzz on the floor, and rolls smooth as warm butter. Thanks to the small yet beefy rear caster wheels, it pivots around like a ballerina sliding on silk. Seriously, I really like this jack. It’s light, smooth, quick jacking and it actually locks to hold pressure and releases the way a good jack should... no iffy-ness or arguments. Even though it costs a fraction of a pro race jack, it looks like one and acts like one.
I previously owned a pro race jack made by Sierra, which served my road race team well, but I paid $1,800 for it. Granted, it was a bit lighter than the OTC jack and it raised to full height in three pumps, but in a shop situation, the difference in three pumps versus five pumps is simply not an important factor.
Since my race jack was stolen from my shop, the OTC aluminum jack is a welcome replacement.
The aluminum stands (available separately or as a package with the jack) are incredibly light, yet rated for 2,000 pounds each. The base is cast alloy, and the body appears to be machined from billet, with a gorgeous blue anodized finish.
The locking pins are sized just right — not too big and not too small. They’re easy to extract and insert without being sloppy, and are chain tethered so you won’t lose them. Another nice touch.
Clean up is quick and easy, too. I used the OTC jack quite a bit around my shop and it got a bit dirty. But a quick wipe off with a damp towel brings the finish back to factory new.
Average street prices: Jack alone about $250. Pair of stands about $80. Jack and stand package around $323. Wall mount about $94. ●
Aircraft grade aluminum
Pro style side carry handles
Front single roller: 1.966 inch diameter x 5.355 inches wide
3.5 inch low profile
18 inch max height
Five-pump operation to 18 inches
45-inch two-piece quick-snap-together handle
Removable rubber saddle pad
Rubber pad diameter: 4 inches
Aluminum pad base: 4.575-inch diameter
Main side body panels: 0.351 inch thick
Jack lever beams: 0.360 inch thick
Handle: 1.413 inch diameter
Weight: 43 pounds
JACK STAND SPECS
Aircraft grade aluminum
4,000 pound combined weight rating
10.25 inch min./15.25 inch max. height
Jack alone 1532
Jack stands (pair) 1582
Jack and two-stand package 1533
Jack wall mount 552650
Bosch Automotive Service Solutions
28635 Mound Rd.
Warren, MI 48092