When is the proper time to use a bottle jack?
This is the question that a lot of car vehicle owners ask. There is also some confusion as to whether it is better to use a hydraulic jack or a bottle jack. If like most users you’re confused about the two, you’re in the right place as we’re going to clear up the facts and explain the differences.
What is a Bottle Jack?
Before we answer the question when to use, we have to explain just what a bottle jack is. It is a type of hydraulic jack, shaped like a bottle. It has a hydraulic ram which comes out of the cylindrical body’s neck. A bottle jack has a vertically aligned piston and provides direct bearing pad support. This pad makes contact with the object that it is going to lift.
Proper Time to Use a Bottle Jack
Some pointers to keep in mind:
- Because of the way it’s designed, the lift is around double that of the jack’s height when collapsed. This means a bottle jack is most effective for high clearance vehicles.
- Bottle jacks are more powerful than a regular floor jack. Some bottle jacks are in the 1.5 to 4 ton range, but others have a capacity that can reach up to 50 tons.
- Bottle jacks can be used to lift cars, light trucks and SUVs like a floor jack. However, those with a greater capacity can be used to life heavier objects like large vehicles or even the foundations of houses.
The large bottle jacks are known as barrel jacks. The jacks used to lift house foundations and other heavy objects have interconnecting valves that link the units. This ensures weight is distributed evenly while giving the operator full control over the lift.
In other words, a bottle jack is most ideal for making vertical, heavy and short lifts. In case more elevation is needed for the lift, blocks may be employed. Because of their design and capabilities, bottle jacks are often meant for more heavy duty work.
Bottle jacks vs. Floor Jacks
The bottle jack and floor jack are the two most widely used for car repair and maintenance. Everyone has their own opinion as to which one is better, and if one works for you, there is no reason to switch to another. If you are still undecided as to which one is better, here are some factors to consider.
- As we have already pointed out, bottle jacks are most suited with high clearance vehicles. If your vehicle has a low clearance, then you cannot use a bottle jack on it.
- Floor jacks are more popular and used due to their low profile and convenience.
- Both floor jacks and bottle jacks will last a lifetime if properly taken care of.
- If you drive the average car and you’re going to need a jack in your garage, a floor jack is probably the better option.
- Floor jacks are easier to figure out and use. Bottle jacks have become simpler now than they used to be. However, bottle jacks that lift several tons need careful management and handling.
- Truck drivers may find bottle jacks more effective than floor jacks. These vehicles have sufficient clearance. Large trucks also weigh several tons and may be beyond the capabilities of most floor jacks. If you drive a truck or another large vehicle, then it’s better to have a bottle jack in case you need to do some repair or inspection. If you’re going to use a bottle jack, make sure that the specs are suitable for your requirements. As has been stated, bottle jacks come in different forms, styles and capacities. If you’re going to use the bottle jack for car lifting, the regular type will do. But if you need to lift heavier objects, get a high capacity model. Bottle jacks are less expensive than floor jacks, but cost should be the last of your concern. You want to make sure that you put premium on quality and functionality before price. Do not buy poor quality bottle jacks because the results could be disastrous, and you don’t even have to choose one over the other anyway. Probably the best thing that you can do is buy both. This way if you need to use a floor jack or bottle jack, you can just grab the one you need and get to work. There are even times when you can use the two together.
- The whole floor jack vs. bottle jack debate should not really be a debate at all. As we have shown here, they’re both effective and have their uses. In some cases you’ll want to use a floor jack, and in other cases, a bottle jack is more ideal. Now that you know what each one is capable of, you’ll have an easier time figuring out which one to use and when.
- If you need to change the suspension parts, use a floor jack to lift the vehicle. Then take the bottle jack and use it for suspension compression. There are many other ways you can use these two jacks, so it’s a good thing to have both.
- We also have to add that bottle jacks take up less space than floor jacks. This will be an issue if there is limited space in your garage. This is something you also need to remember if you’re going to use the jack often and space is at a premium. Because of the lifting pad on bottle jacks is smaller, they’re more effective at space management.
- Other Factors That Must be Considered
- There are other factors that you need to account for. Here we’re talking about vehicles, but if we consider heavier objects and loads, a bottle jack will be more suitable. The general rule is floor jacks are more ideal for home and garage use, while bottle jacks are more for heavy duty tasks. However that is true only up to a point. If your vehicle has the clearance space and you like using bottle jacks, then you should continue with it.