Thinking about purchasing a new car? Use our new Car Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly car payment!

How to Use a Bottle Jack

by Jody L. Campbell

A bottle jack is a compact hydraulic piston that is in the shape of a small bottle, but it has the capacity to lift extremely heavy objects, including cars. Great care and caution should be applied when using one to hoist heavy vehicles or other objects. The jack should be placed on solid level ground for stability. The placement of the piston ram to the object is important, so as to not damage the object, or compromise any components. Refer to the owners manual of your vehicle for safe and secure lifting points, and refer to the manual of the bottle jack before using.

Turn the piston ram counter clockwise to unthread from the bore of the jack. The piston ram will unthread, and allow you more height for the bottle jack, if desired. Adjust the height of the piston ram using this method.

Locate the valve at the bottom of the bottle jack. It is a small flattened screw top device that holds the pressure of the hydraulic piston when locked, and then releases the hydraulic pressure when opened. Using the tip of the bottle jack handle as a key for the valve, turn it clockwise until it is tight. The bottle jack is now in the locked position, and will allow the piston ram to raise.

Place the handle or handle assembly (sometimes there is a two-piece handle for leverage) into the pump shaft.

Pump the handle up and then down. Each time the pump shaft moves in the down position, the hydraulic piston of the bottle jack raises. Be sure that the piston ram is placed carefully if lifting a vehicle. Sub frames or rocker panels of a vehicle may not support the weight of the vehicle when raised, and could collapse, causing damage to the car or bodily injury.

Continue to pump the handle in the pump shaft, until the piston ram has achieved the desired height.

Remove the handle from the pump shaft, and place the tip back onto the valve when ready to lower the bottle jack. Turn the valve counterclockwise as slowly as possible to lower the vehicle or object. Opening the valve quickly will result in dropping the piston rapidly, and can damage the vehicle or object, or cause bodily injury.

Warning

  • Always lift a vehicle on a level and paved surface when using a bottle jack. Always make sure the vehicle is in gear or park, and the parking brake is applied when using a bottle jack. If available, place a tire wedge on the opposite axle of the one you're lifting.

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

More Articles