Hydraulic bottle jack reviews

1. What is a hydraulic bottle jack?
2. How do hydraulic bottle jacks work?
3. Therefore, here is what’s going on in a hydraulic jack
4. Are there different types of hydraulic jacks?
5. Use of a hydraulic bottle jack
6. Concluding considerations

When it comes to carrying out maintenance work on your vehicle, you usually have to lift it at some point, whether you want to change a tire or your oil. While there are other options available out there such as carrier ramps or even 2 or 4 post jacks, the most common way to lift part of your car is with a hydraulic jack.

There are many reasons why you would want a jack. Of course, if you are on our website, you probably want a jack to lift your vehicle for maintenance work. Read more about 11 Best Bottle Jacks in our new review!

How to Use a Hydraulic Bottle Jack? A Step-By-Step Guide

Hydraulic bottle jack 20 ton

While some jacks are used exclusively for automotive purposes, others are more versatile. The hydraulic bottle jack is one such type.

These practical car jacks are also ideal for construction projects such as holding up floor joists, terraces or small foundations. You can even use them to bend bars.

Hydraulic bottle jack how to use

They work as effectively in a horizontal position as in a vertical position, making them an all-rounder. And they are small enough to be portable.

If you have purchased or are considering purchasing a hydraulic bottle jack for use with your vehicle, read on to learn how to use it properly and safely.

What is a hydraulic bottle jack?

After the scissor jack (which is free on most cars), the bottle jack is the second most common of all the different types of jacks available.

You have probably seen one of these, even if you did not know what it was. It is the typical red (mostly), slender, vertical jack that is often found in trunks, trailers, garages and construction sites.

How to use a bottle jack

how to use a bottle jack

How do hydraulic bottle jacks work?

The hydraulic jack was invented in the middle of the 19th century, but it was based on principles set out 200 years earlier by the French scientist Blaise Pascal.

Pascal discovered that the application of pressure to a fluid, which is essentially incompressible, in a closed space led to a uniform transmission of this pressure in all directions.

Therefore, here is what’s going on in a hydraulic jack:

Inside the jack is a fluid reservoir. (It is a kind of oil.) When you pull up on the handle, some of this fluid is sucked out of the tank into a small cavity under a small piston. Press the handle and the piston pushes the fluid into the main cylinder, where there is a larger piston.

How does a bottle jack work

how does a bottle jack work

Hydraulic bottle jack home depot

Each cycle of up and down pushes more fluid under the large piston and increases the pressure and the cylinder. Since the pressure is the same in all directions and the walls of the cylinder do not move but the piston, the piston is pushed upwards and held there by the pressure below.

When you are ready to lower the jack, you can slowly return the fluid to the tank by turning the release valve. When the pressure drops below the central piston, it gradually slides down again until it is fully retracted.

Are there different types of hydraulic jacks?

There is a wide range of jacks, but they all work essentially the same. The biggest differences you will notice are the lifting range and the load capacity.

For most automotive applications, jacks ranging from 2 to 12 tons are more than sufficient. However, you can find jacks designed for 100 tons or more. Typically these are used on construction sites to hold buildings high.

There are hydraulic jacks that can be operated with compressed air instead of hand pumps. If you do a lot of vehicle lifting, you might enjoy having this type of jack to save yourself a lot of manual work. They cost slightly more than a manual jack, but if you already have a compressor, you will appreciate the time and effort you will save.

How to use a hydraulic jack

how to use a bottle jack to lift a house

Use of a hydraulic bottle jack

It should be taken for granted that lifting a heavy object in the air and balancing it in a confined space is dangerous.
Although a good jack is a safe jack, it is still a situation that requires caution. The kind of injury you can suffer or the damage you can cause by abusing a jack is frightening.

Here is a step-by-step guide to the safe operation of a hydraulic bottle jack:

  1. If possible, park your vehicle on a level surface. A garage is the best choice. If it is an emergency, try to find a flat spot (if you can move your vehicle) and stay away from traffic. Set your parking brake to prevent rolling back; if the car rolls while you are jacking it, it may tip over and fall down.
  2. Wedge the wheels at the other end of the vehicle from where the jack is located (front wheels when lifting at the rear; rear wheels when working at the front). This is another protection against setbacks.
  3. If you plan to get under your vehicle, or if you want to give it up for a longer period, you will need Jack Stands. Get your jack, check them for defects, and make sure they are ready for use. Always use a jack stand when carrying out maintenance work under the vehicle. Detailed instructions can be found in the manual: How to use the jack stand.
  4. Check your jack for defects or damage, including leaking hydraulic oil. Make sure the plug is tight; it is usually on the back of the barrel. Also, make sure that the release valve is closed. Wipe off any deposits from the saddle (the upper part of the lift cylinder) to ensure good contact with the vehicle.
  5. Mount the handle and insert it into the holder on the side of the drum. Make sure it is complete – you do not want it to slip out!
  6. Give the jack a few test pumps without load. Simply pump the handle slowly up and down. Lower the cylinder by slowly turning the drain valve counterclockwise to make sure it works properly. The handle is notched at one end; use this notch to rotate the release valve. The valve is located near the lower part of the barrel on the front of the jack. Retighten the release valve.

how does a hydraulic bottle jack work

  1. Find the lifting point on your vehicle in the area you need to reach. If you are not sure where it is, refer to the instruction manual. Lifting points are specially designed to absorb the pressure of a lift without bending or breaking. It is important to lift from the designated lifting points to prevent damage to the vehicle.
  2. Check your work area to make sure it is free of people and debris and anything that could injure you. Also, make sure you have enough space to work safely.
  3. Place your bottle jack as close as possible to the lifting point. If the floor is uneven or soft, placing a solid board under the jack will give you a solid, relatively flat surface to work on.
  4. Insert the handle and pump the jack until the saddle almost touches the vehicle. If you need to make small adjustments to perfectly align the saddle to the lifting point, now is the time.
  5. Carefully pump the jack until the vehicle is high enough above the ground so that you can do what you need for a safely ride. Although good bottle jacks have safety features to prevent overstretching, it is still a good idea not to lift your vehicle higher than you need. Now position your jacking stand(s) so that they are ready to support the weight of the vehicle.
  6. Remove the handle from the jack and carefully turn the drain valve counterclockwise with the notch at one end. This will drain the liquid from the cylinder, allowing the lift column to descend. Lower the jack very slowly until the weight of the vehicle is on the jack stand(s). Make sure that the stand(s) are held before lowering the jack further.
  7. It is safe to work on your vehicle now. When you are finished, repeat steps 9 to 11 until the weight is off the stand(s).
  8. Carefully remove the jack stands and put them away as well as any tools you may have used.
  9. Make sure that no one is working on or under the vehicle or standing near it. As soon as you are sure that everything is in order, lower the vehicle slowly until it is on the ground.

how to use a bottle jack on a car

Concluding considerations

That is all there is! Just remember that it is always important to work carefully and follow every step every time, no matter how often you lift your vehicle and how comfortable you are with your hydraulic jack.

Using a hydraulic bottle jack

Lifting your car is a serious matter and has the potential to cause serious injuries and even death if not done properly. Be careful, do it right and have fun with your vehicle!

If you are still in the market for a hydraulic bottle jack, check out our reviews and full buyer’s guide.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your next project!

How to Use a Hydraulic Bottle Jack? A Step-By-Step Guide Video

How to Use a Hydraulic Bottle Jack? A Step-By-Step Guide
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David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

Hey, I’m David. I’ve worked in a cars store for 6 years. I write reviews and guides, helping people to choose the most suitable technicals and best product for them. I’m happy to finally share my knowledge of the industry here, on CarnesMechanical.

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