Bottle jacks are the most affordable and effective lifting tools not only for cars but also for other heavy objects like trailers, decks, building materials, etc. Before you purchase the tool, you must know how it works, lifts an object, and lower it.
Too often, many users don't understand how to lower a bottle jack due to their lack of experience with the tool. Also, sometimes older bottle jacks tend to get stuck in an elevated position and don't go down even if you follow the right lowering method. While the process of lowering a bottle jack is fairly easy, fixing a stuck jack can be difficult.
To help you safely operate a bottle jack and fix the related issues, here We'll discuss the correct way of lowering the tool and methods of fixing a stuck bottle jack.
So without further ado, let's jump right in.
Jump To Contents
- The Anatomy of A Bottle Jack
- Easy Process of Lowering A Bottle Jack
- How to Fix A Stuck Bottle Jack - 3 Different Methods
- Wrapping Up!
The Anatomy of A Bottle Jack
Before we start, you should have a basic idea about the many different parts of the bottle jack you'll be using. Here's a short description of each part and how they work-
- The Saddle: Starting from the top, the part of a bottle jack that sits under your car is the saddle. It features a jagged or serrated surface to improve grip and friction.
- Threaded Extension Screw: You can lift the extension screw to reach additional height. The screw is threaded and it extends upon turning it anti-clockwise.
- Jack Ram: It's a solid round part of the jack that extends to push the saddle allowing it to reach the maximum lifting height.
- Handle: Most bottle jacks have two-piece handles. The smaller piece remains attached to the socket while the other piece can be separated for easier storage. Both the pieces join together to activate the hydraulic mechanism and lift the car.
- Release Valve: As the name suggests, the release valve reduces the pressure inside the cylinder so that the oil goes back to the jack reservoir. This way, the jack can be easily lowered.
- Jack Cylinder and Pump Piston: The cylinder is the most noticeable part of a bottle jack and it reserves the oil or pushes it 0while the piston pump is lifted.
- Filler Plug: You can remove this plug to add oil for optimum performance of the bottle jack.
Easy Process of Lowering A Bottle Jack
First things first, you need to take proper safety measures before you lower a bottle jack holding a heavy load. Use protective footwear and other safety equipment while working with the jack. Make sure it's placed on leveled and solid ground so that it doesn't move or sink in under pressure.
Finally, be very careful while lowering the jack and be slow to maintain control over the tool and the heavy object. Here's how can you do it safely-
Step 1: Locate the Release Valve
If you're using a stand to hold the car, remove it first before lowering the bottle jack. Now, locate the release valve near the bottom of the jack.
It's a small flatter screw-like button that releases hydraulic pressure inside the jack cylinder when unlocked. Refer to the user manual if you're unable to find it.
Step 2: Turn It Counter-Clockwise
Use the provided release valve extension rod to turn on the release valve. For this, you need to place the rod inside the valve and turn it clockwise until it's loose.
As soon as you start turning the valve, the saddle will start to lower the load. The releasing speed will depend on how far you're turning the release valve. So, make smaller turns to slowly bring the load down and avoid unwanted accidents.
Step 3: Lower the Extension Screw
The bottle jack piston automatically comes down as you turn the release valve. After the pressure is released and you have brought the load down, the extension screw might not be retracted automatically.
In that case, you can manually lower the extension screw by putting external pressure on the saddle using your hands. When you're done, store the bottle jack and its handles in a safe place for later uses.
Related Lowering Guide:
How to Fix A Stuck Bottle Jack - 3 Different Methods
Sometimes old bottle jacks don't come down no matter how many times you turn the release valve. This mainly happens due to the lack of maintenance. So, how do you fix a stuck bottle jack? Usually, lubricating the internal parts and joints will solve this problem.
Otherwise, releasing the trapped air and refilling the hydraulic fluid should do the trick. Here are 3 different ways of fixing a stuck jack:
1. Lubrication of the Hydraulic System
As you might know, hydraulic bottle jacks use hydraulic oil to keep the components lubricated so that the pump piston can easily move while lifting heavy objects. Because of the lack of lubrication, the pump might get stuck.
So, you need to check the oil level and refill it if necessary. Oiling the bottle jack will ensure smooth performance of the moving parts of its overall hydraulic system. Also, it prevents rust and corrosion over time. The oil reduces oxidation and heat production.
You can lubricate the jack socket joints and the ram area as well to easily unstuck the bottle jack.
2. Bleeding to Release Trapped Air
If air gets trapped inside the jack, it might get stuck at any position. The process of removing air from the jack cylinder and piston is called bleeding. You can easily release the air using the filler plug and jack handle.
First, turn the release valve anti-clockwise and locate the filler plug on the side of the bottle jack. Use a flathead screwdriver to take off the plug. After that, attach the pumping handle to the socket and rapidly pump 10 to 20 times. And that will be enough to release all the remaining air from the system.
3. Fix the Leaks
Even if you refill the system, you might notice the oil level is going down and the jack is failing to perform optimally. In this case, there might be a leak somewhere on the bottle jack surface. Visually inspect the tool for leaks and repair them before you use it. This way, you'll be able to easily lower a stuck bottle jack.
So, now you know how to lower a bottle jack. Although the process is very easy, we recommend practicing a few times before you try to lift your car. Also, you need to follow safety measures to avoid any possibility of accidents.
In case the bottle jack is stuck, check the oil level and refill if necessary. Lack of oil is the main reason why bottle jack parts get jammed. Follow our detailed methods for releasing trapped air and the bottle jack should function optimally in no time.
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