Bottle jacks became popular in the early days of the tools and machinery revolution.
(Below) I have put together a helpful list with pictures of seventeen automotive and industrial bottle jacks made in the USA by well-known brands in the marketplace and conveniently available online.
In addition, (below) I also provide some exciting factors related to bottle jacks to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.
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Table of Contents
- How Did the Bottle Jacks Become the Best? Find Out!
- Lifting Your Vehicle With a Bottle Jack (With 4 Essential Steps)
- Bottle Jack vs. Screw & Journal Jack (In a Nutshell)
- How to Service a Bottle Jack (5 Steps Helpful Guide)
How Did the Bottle Jacks Become the Best? Find Out!
(Below) I will cover how bottle jacks become the best in three simple categories.
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1. Portability & Capacity
In terms of portability, the higher the capacity, the heavier the bottle jack will be due to the amount of steel it contains to support its rated load.
And in terms of capacity, large capacity jacks, starting at 20 tons, are used to service heavy equipment, railroads, or lift a two-story house.
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Another positive aspect of using a large bottle jack is that they have a higher safety rating.
They are more stable and have a broader base, thicker pistons, and stiffer.
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In addition, large bottle jacks are easier to lift.
For example, suppose you need to lift your SUV or truck that weighs about 7000 pounds or (3.5 tons) In that case, a 20-ton bottle jack will do the job without any problems.
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2. Reach Limit & Overload
Most bottle jacks have threaded tops that allow you to get more adjustment and reach in certain situations, and it has always been a nice feature of bottle jacks.
Also, with the threaded tops that bottle jacks have, you can get an additional reach of about four inches or more.
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And the only two cons that I see with bottle jacks are that they emit a particular squeak sound when they reach the limit of their travel.
Also, when bottle jacks are overloaded, they have a ball-bearing configuration that releases the load. Those are the two cons of bottle jacks.
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It is crucial to remember that bottle jacks are made only to lift the load and not to hold it long term, as they can leak when not used properly.
No hydraulic system is designed for long-term holding unless it is an active system constantly adjusting and pumping.
Again, hydraulic jacks are made to lift the load.
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Then you have to put something solid underneath, like wood blocks, screw jacks, jack stands, something that is more rigid and permanent than a bottle jack.
And this is why you should never work under something supported by a bottle jack, even if you have a super heavy bottle jack.
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3. Pressure Gauge
Some bottle jacks are equipped with an additional port for connecting a hydraulic pressure gauge.
For example, suppose you’re lifting a heavy load with a bottle jack that has a hydraulic pressure gauge. In that case, it will let you know exactly how far or how close you are to the load and capacity limit.
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And it will provide you with a general idea of the weight of the load you are lifting.
Assuming you are lifting a house corner with a 6-ton bottle jack with a hydraulic pressure gauge. And it goes to 5,000 psi which is about three tons of weight; In this case, you still have another three-ton lifting capacity.
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It is always good to have the advantage to see where the capacity limit of the bottle jack is.
Lifting Your Vehicle With a Bottle Jack (With 4 Essential Steps)
(Below) I provide four essential steps to know about when lifting your vehicle.
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Note: Always follow the vehicle owner’s manual for proper lift.
1. Use Wheel Chocks
I strongly recommend always using wheel chocks when lifting your vehicle.
Using wheel chocks will prevent your vehicle from rolling while you work on it.
Also, always set the parking brake to add more stability to the vehicle.
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2. Locate Your Vehicle Lift Points
Consult your vehicle owner’s manual to find out where the lift points are located on your vehicle.
Lift points are the point at which the vehicle can withstand high stresses and handle the weight when the car is lifted.
All vehicles have these designated lift points, and usually, the lift points are located near the wheels.
3. Start Lifting Your Vehicle
Be sure to always use the bottle jack on a hard, level surface when lifting your vehicle and avoid placing the bottle jack on an uneven surface.
Once all wheels have a chock, you have set the parking brake and located the lifting point; now, place the bottle jack under the lifting point.
Ensure that the bottle jack saddle or extended screw has complete contact with the lifting point.
And avoid partial contact between the bottle jack saddle and the lifting point.
4. Use Jack Stands
Once you have lifted your vehicle, put the jack stand to support the weight of your car and follow the owner’s manual for details.
Note: Never support the vehicle’s weight with a bottle jack alone.
As I mentioned earlier, bottle jacks are built to lift and not support weight for long periods.
As a rule of thumb, never overload your bottle jack.
And just to put things in perspective, the average compact car weighs around 3000 pounds (1.5-ton) and up to full-size SUVs that weigh about 6500 pounds (3.25-ton).
So, always make sure your bottle jack is rated for the load you want to lift.
For example, a 20-ton bottle jack that has a capacity of about 40,000 pounds will have no problem lifting small cars to SUVs or pickup trucks.
Bottle Jack vs. Screw & Journal Jack (In a Nutshell)
Bottle jacks are much more efficient and can give you a higher leverage ratio.
In addition, battle jacks are the type of jacks that have large pistons for lifting heavy equipment.
For example, compared to a screw jack and journal jack, a bottle jack needs only a little fluid.
And a single pump with a tiny diameter can exert a ton of pressure, giving it a leverage ratio through a fluid with less effort.
How to Service a Bottle Jack (5 Steps Helpful Guide)
1. Oil Change (In 6 Easy Steps)
- Open the release valve and remove the filler plug.
- Carefully grasp the bottle jack and hold it over an oil pan horizontally to drain the oil completely.
- Ensure to wipe off any oil that has dripped on the outside of the bottle jack.
- Using a hydraulic oil dispenser, pump new oil into the filler hole and be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended hydraulic oil.
- Once the oil starts to drip off the filler plug orifice, this will be the guide to stop pumping oil.
- And finally, put the oil plug back on the bottle jack and close the release valve.
Use the four steps guide to purge your bottle jack if needed (below).
2. Purge Air Bubbles (In 5 Easy Steps)
Whether you have a new or used bottle jack, it will always require ongoing maintenance to keep it in working order.
For example, you may have recently purchased your bottle jack, and right out of the box, it doesn’t work because it seems defective or simply isn’t performing up to your expectations.
Air bubbles trapped in the system can occur due to rapid movement during shipping.
Perhaps the bottle jack has been sitting in your garage for a long time, and now it doesn’t want to lift.
Air bubbles are not a good mix in any hydraulic system and should be removed in a process known as air purging.
Here’s how to purge your bottle jack in five easy steps:
- Place the crank handle on the release valve and turn two full turns counterclockwise.
- Take the handle and place it on the operational level and pump the handle twenty times.
- With the handle on the release valve, turn it clockwise until it is tightened.
- Take the release valve handle, place it on the operating lever, and pump the handle until the ram rises to the maximum height.
- Turn the release valve counterclockwise and manually push down the ram of the bottle jack to lower it ultimately.
The air should be purged from the hydraulic system, and the bottle jack should now operate as expected.
If the condition persists, repeat the above five easy steps until the air is purged from the system.
3. Check Oil Level (In 4 Easy Steps)
It is also good to check and maintain the hydraulic oil in your bottle jack, mainly if you have not used it.
Apply these three simple steps to check the oil level of your bottle jack.
- Make sure the bottle jack ram is fully lowered.
- Locate and remove the filler plug carefully to prevent debris from entering the system.
- The oil level should be the same as the filler plug orifice.
- Add the required hydraulic oil and close the filler orifice with the plug.
As I mentioned earlier when adding or changing the oil, always use the manufacturer’s recommended oil for your bottle jack.
And avoid mixing different types of oil because it can cause internal damage to the bottle jack.
Other than purging the air and topping off the hydraulic fluids, the bottle jack does not require any additional lubrication before first use.
4. Lubricate External Moving Parts
The external moving parts of a bottle jack should be lubricated from time to time with light machine oil to maintain efficient operation.
Apply oil to the lifting arm hinge joints, pushrods, and handle base.
Avoid using solvents or abrasive cleaning agents, as they will cause deterioration of the hydraulic seals.
5. How to Store
To store your battle jack, turn the release valve one-and-a-half turns counterclockwise to release pressure from the hydraulic cylinder.
Next, store the bottle jack in a clean, dry environment, preferably indoors, to protect the jack from moisture.
These steps are essential and will prolong the life of your bottle jack.