How to Use a Bottle Jack in Easy Steps
If you are not a handy person, then you might be afraid to learn how to use a bottle jack. In general, this type of jack is used to lift vehicles, but a unique thing about it is that it can also be used for construction projects.
Let us say that you now have your bottle jack for whatever purpose it serves, and it is time for you to crank it up. Do you just put it in and start pushing the lever? Do you have to align it in any way?
In this article, we are going to go through a step-by-step guide on how you can use your bottle jack. In addition to that, we are also going to discuss what a bottle jack is as well as the safety precautions that you must follow.
What Is a Bottle Jack?
A bottle jack is one of the most commonly used tools when working with automotive. It is a vertical jack that is slender, and you can use this for construction sites, trailers, trucks, garage, and more.
Keep in mind that it is a jack that has a taller design compared with other jacks. Therefore, you really cannot use it on sedans and other cars that tend to be a bit low because it will just damage them. As for construction projects, you can use a bottle jack to lift cabinets, floors, and the like.
So how does it work? A bottle jack works around the principle that when you press against fluid in a container, the fluid can then exert an insurmountable amount of force against gravity. In the process, it defeats the force of gravity, thus making it possible to lift heavier things.
How to Use a Bottle Jack
We are now going to talk about the steps on how to use a bottle jack. Always remember to exercise precaution to avoid any accidents. In line with that, do not rush these steps so as to avoid slipping.
If you are going to use it on a stalled car, make sure to find a level place that is away from traffic. The parking brake should always be set so that there will be no rollback.
The wheels should be chocked at opposites ends where you will place the jack. For example, if you are going to lift the rear wheels, then the back should be chocked and vice versa.
If you are going to be under the car, or if you are going to leave it lifted for a long time, you should never rely on a bottle jack to hold it up. Instead, use jack stands. These are more secure in holding your vehicle up instead of a bottle jack.
Now, take out your bottle jack and check if there are any flaws. Check for oil leaks and that the plug, which is usually at the back, is tight. Also, the saddle should not have any debris on it.
Get the handle or the lever and assemble it into the bottle jack. You usually insert it at a designated receptacle that is at the side of the barrel. Always make sure that it locks in place, or it is still all the way through because doing so will prevent slipping.
Do test pumps without a load just to make sure it is working well. Do slow up and down motions. The cylinder can be let down by turning the release valve counterclockwise. The handle notch is then used to release the valve. To retighten the release valve, access the valve at the bottom of the barrel.
The next step is to find the jack or lifting point of your vehicle. You can check your car's manual to locate this exact point. Make sure that you only lift your vehicle with that designated point because if not, then your car might get damaged as it cannot withstand pressure.
Place the bottle jack directly underneath the point or at least close to it. If the base of the jack is uneven, you can use a board underneath it to stabilize it.
Insert the lever or handle into the jack and pump it slowly until the saddle is touching the contact point. If you think that the jack is not properly aligned to the point, make sure to make adjustments.
Once you are done with the adjustments, pump it carefully until it is high enough for you to do work under your vehicle properly. Make sure that you are not lifting it to the maximum height in order to prevent any slipping.
You can then take your jack stands and position them on either side so they can hold your vehicle.
Now, you can take out the handle from the jack and use the notch so that you can turn the release valve in a counterclockwise motion. Doing so will release the liquid that is in the cylinder, and it will start to descend.
Slowly descend the vehicle on the jack stands. Make sure that the jack stands are holding all the weight before you completely lower the bottle jack.
You can now work safely on your vehicle. If you are done and you need to set it down, just repeat steps 7 to 9 until you lower the vehicle to the ground.
As you now know, we are talking about lifting at least 20,000 pounds of weight off the ground. With that said, some precautions should always be taken before using a bottle jack.
- Always check if the bottle jack is in perfect working condition by pumping it without a load. Also, if check the valves are functioning well.
- Make sure that you are on a level surface. If that is not possible, add a base underneath the jack to stabilize it somehow.
- Never use the bottle jack to hold the weight of your vehicle. Always use jack stands.
- Before lowering the vehicle, make sure that there are no other people working underneath it.
And, that's it! Pretty easy, right? Again, however simple it may be, it can also be quite complicated, especially when you do not exercise caution, and something goes wrong.
When you follow the steps that we told you and our safety tips, you do not have anything to worry about as you will have a flawless bottle jack experience.