A spontaneous road trip is one of the best pleasures in life because you can visit the places that makes you feel alright. Sometimes, at the very peak of your trip, you may have needed to change your old and flat tyre, so being aware of how to jacks your caravan securely is essential. Also, bringing and choosing the best off-road caravan jacks is crucial, like your whole adventure depends on it. So, what are the best jacks for your off-road caravan?
The best off-road caravan jacks must be appropriate to the Australian standard and can support your caravan’s weight. It must be firm, durable and have a suitable length of travel to avoid irritating inconvenience. Safety must be the number one essential when jacking your vehicle because there are a lot of cases in Australia that resulted in death, injuries, fractures, and amputations caused by reckless execution of jacks.
So, are you a newbie caravan owner that’s looking for the best off-road jacks? Read the entire article and find what suits you.
What Should I Know About Off-Road Caravan Jacks?
A Jack is a piece of mechanical equipment used to apply or lift heavy loads. Richard Dudgeon established a custom machine shop company in New York City in 1849 and invented the first hydraulic jack and named it initially as a portable hydraulic press. The historic hydraulic press did not just use water to function, but also fluids like whale oil and even whisky were used to generate the hydraulic press.
Before Jacks were invented, mechanics used to dig holes into the ground to have access underneath. However, although the digging was helpful, it was costly, and the lighting from the base is not ideal. Luckily, in 1952, Peter Lunati created the first hydraulic car lift, which is a game-changer idea originated from a barber’s chair where you can quickly move the chair up and down.
In recent years, vehicle jacks became famous all over the world because of its convenience to facilitate vehicle lifting to a certain height. The invention is even more famous, especially for off-road enthusiasts and it is made in various types such as bottle jacks, trolley jacks, high lift jacks, exhaust jacks, and scissor jacks. There are problems in the car underneath, so creating a device that will help to lift the car is helpful in the mechanical perspective.
How Do I Use Off-Road Caravan Jacks Safely?
At some point in our lives, we need to learn how to jack our car or caravans. So, if you’re wondering how you would choose the right one for you, this will be your guide.
- Verify your caravan’s specifications. Before anything else, find what’s best for your vehicle. You don’t want to waste money, so check your caravan’s weight; it is usually listed on the plate near the doorframe or in the owner’s manual.
- Australian Standard. Caravans do not come with jacks, so you have to choose jacks that are suitable and Australian standard approved. There is a fixed standard designated to lift your vehicles such as hydraulic jacks, lever jacks, pantograph (scissor) jacks, screw jacks, caravan/trailer jacks, and high lift jacks. Vehicle jacks must have specific material to resist forces applied to the jacks.
- There must be protective coatings to ensure the protection of the jacks from all possible corrosions. Vehicle Jacks must hold an excess load without collapsing to ensure its durability, so it must follow dimension requirements and stability must be obtained.
- Portable. If you’re going camping, you do not want your large trolley jacks to take up all the space designated for luggage essentials. Small and lightweight caravan jacks are desirable due to its size, and it can easily be stored in your vehicle. Although trolley jacks are permitted, you must consider jacks storage when getting one.
- Heavy Duty. All jacks from the Australian manufacturer have gone through a series of durability tests to ensure that the product will not fail and will become unusable. It must have safety markings such as the name or trademark of the vehicle manufacturer to ensure authenticity.
- Talk to an expert. If you have more questions in your mind, you can look it up on forums on the internet or ask an actual mechanic. Through this, you can gather information on choosing the best jacks for your caravan.
What Are the Types Off-Road Caravan Jacks?
When choosing the best jacks for your off-road caravan or any vehicle, you need to make sure that the product you will use is suitable for your car, location, and must be an Australian standard approved. These are the best types of jacks that are suitable for off roads.
Bottle Jacks is a form of hydraulic jacks and frequently called as an upgrade for a screw jack. It is a popular jack and has a safety working load up to 20,000 kilograms. Bottle jacks are suitable for lifting one side per bottle, but if you’re planning on raising all five sides of the caravan, the bottle jacks will not be sufficient. Compared from all of the other types of jacks, bottle jacks are cheaper and easy to store.
Bottle type is a decent choice because it is not bulky and it is so easy to carry around, so you can quickly grab it during an emergency. It does lift in a minimum height, but its narrow stability does not guarantee sturdiness for a very long time. So if you’re going on a trip, with a lot of baggage in your car and caravan, bottle jacks must be good for you because it will only need a minimal space for storage.
High Lift Jacks
They say you must not hit the off-road trails of Australia without getting high lift jacks first because just in case you’re stuck due to your flat tyre, adding this to your recovery kit is the best idea. It is slim, so you can carry it or just place them on the side of your compartment, and you’re good to go! It does not require hydraulics to lift a vehicle that cranks up, and something can go wrong, but instead, it has a simple jack and screw that you can plant under your car.
High lift jacks are also a very versatile tool that you can use as a winch, spreader, or clamper. So if you’re up for an off-road trip this weekend, make sure to include this on your recovery kit. Learn the easy way, and you can ask professionals on how to use them properly to avoid crashing your fingers or losing teeth.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Jacks or Scissor Jacks
This type of jack is the underrated floor type of jack that is built like a scissor and has a small footprint which makes it easy to carry around during trips. It is small enough to fit in the trunk of your vehicle and very safe to use as long as you’re doing it correctly. It is lightweight unlike other jacks, so this must be the best choice if you want a jack that is portable enough to squeeze in your car.
Although scissor jacks are handy, it also has a lot of disadvantages such as it does not lift too high (15 to 30 inches maximum height lift) unlike larger types of jacks. Aside from that, they are slow to use and have a limited capacity of one to two tonnes. Furthermore, if you decide to get jacks only for travelling purposes, scissor jacks are reliable and can do the job well.
These are indeed the easiest one to work with. Unlike bottle jacks it can lift extra weight quicker, it is stable, and a perfect tool for flat surfaces. It is the safest among all jacks and can tolerate heavier loads. It has a safety feature if you’re reached the maximum load but bulkier if you’re going to use it when travelling.
Trolley Jacks can be a great advantage to have in your garage, but not small enough for a trip. It is easier to use on a flat surface than the other types of jacks, so you can lift heavier weights effortlessly, change your tyres, and change your oil more easily. There are sizes of trolley jacks from small to the largest ones, so if you prefer to use trolley than the other type of jacks, you can purchase the smallest one for travel.
This type of jack targets very soft surfaces like sands, and it is the most convenient type of jack because you just have to inflate it by attaching to the exhaust pipe. Aside from that, it is well enough to raise the vehicle in low height. It is easy to store, cheap, and easy to use. It is composed of a very thick and heavy-duty rubberised canvas and a protective mat that reduces damage.
What Are The Safety Tips When Using Off-Road Caravan Jacks?
Jacks are the handyman’s toy. Safety must always be first in your mind while jacking your car, or else it may cost life because crashing accidents can result from improper use of jacks. So, these are the tips on how to jack your car the safer way.
- Do not go under your car. Do not risk your life by going under your vehicle that is only supported by jacks. Usually, off-road jacks cannot support your caravan for a very long time.
- Make sure that it follows Australian standards. If you’re an off-road enthusiast, you’d know how essential stands are when repairing. If you do not have stands with you, you can use hard logs or blocks that you can find and be able to support the vehicle well enough. Make sure that the stands and the cars are stable enough before you go under.
- Find a shade. You do not want to toast yourself under especially during the summer season while changing your tyres off-road. If possible, change your tyre in the shady portion of the road.
- Do it on a flat surface. A flat surface is essential when lifting your jacks but if you’re out in the woods, make sure that the jack is positioned correctly in a flat surface, so it does not shrink. But if you’re stuck in the sand or mud, you can also try a specific type of jack that is called an exhaust jack which you can quickly inflate under your vehicle and create traction.
- Lubricate the jack as suggested. Lubricated jacks are recommended but do not use jacks that are overly greased because there is a tendency of slipping while mounting your jacks.
- Do not use broken jacks. Safety must always come first. You need to check if your jack is functional, so there will be no other inconvenience other than a flat tyre.
- Do not overload the jack. It is a fact that jacks are very durable and can lift tonnes, but there is still loading capacity for each type of jacks. So, ensure that the jacks will not be overloaded, so always check your loads. If you’re trying to change your tyre, you can unload your baggage first before lifting your vehicle for safety.
What Are the Benefits of Off-Road Caravan Jacks?
These are some of the most significant advantages of getting an off-road jack:
- It is an excellent addition to your recovery kit. A recovery kit is one of the primary gears that any 4WD owner must have in their vehicle. It contains basic things if you got a flat tyre or bogged. Having a recovery gear comes with great responsibility, so you must also know the proper ways on how to use it because even the most essential tool is going to be dangerous if you only have limited experience of doing so.
- It is a useful tool for your garage. If you love customising your 4X4, good vehicle jacks are a huge help. You can lift your car, change your tyres, or do oil maintenance at your home.
- It is an Accessory. There is a specific type of vehicle jacks that are versatile enough to become an accessory. Such as high lift jacks, it is multifunctional so you can use them as a winch, spreader, or clamper. You don’t have to waste money for another accessory for your garage.
What Are The Best Models of Off-Road Caravan Jacks?
Choosing the right and efficient product is essential, especially if you’re saving and don’t want to waste a decent amount of money. So, here are the best models of off-road caravan jacks:
- Hi-Lift Jack Cast/Steel is one of the best jacks because it can lift to 3.5 tonnes. With its slim design, it can fit in tighter spaces, and it is suitable even for larger tyres. Its versatility as a product is an excellent characteristic for a jack, and it is also very sturdy.
- Bushranger X-Jack is probably the best purchase you’ll ever do if you’re an avid fan of camping at remote and muddy areas. It has a similar mechanism of a balloon, so all you have to do is attach the tube in your exhaust. It will provide traction if you’re bogged in the mud, it can squeeze even in the tightest spaces in your car. It comes with a mat that gives protection, so it will not get damaged easily.
- Pro-Lift B-004D Grey Hydraulic Bottle Jack has a 4-ton capacity, and it’s easier to use than the usual jack. It is low maintenance and can lift just fine. This jack is 7 to 8 inches tall and can easily be kept in your caravan. The base is small, so you cannot let it lift your vehicle overnight and cannot raise higher than the other types of jacks.
- Powerbuilt Alltrade All-in-One Bottle Jack is a jack that comes with a stand that is built for the safety of the driver. It can accommodate up to 3 tonnes, and it eliminates the hassle of buying and storing a separate stand for your vehicle. It is chic, affordable, and an Australian standard approved.
- Torin Steel Scissor Lift Jack has a 1.5 Ton (3,000 lb) capacity and can lift from 4 1/8 inches to a maximum of 15 1/8 inches. It is heavy-duty, space convenient, and made for all Australian outback campers. Also, this product is made specifically to be used for caravans, trailers, RVs, and even for large vehicles. Aside from that, it is easy to work with and comes with a folding handle and cranking.
Are Bottle Jacks Dangerous?
No. Bottle jacks are safe and efficient in lifting vehicles. Any tool is dangerous as long as you’re doing it incorrectly, so you must know how jacks work and how to execute them correctly. Enable to use bottle jacks well, use a stand once the car is lifted to avoid breaking the bottle, and never attempt to crawl under your vehicle when it is only supported by a single bottle jack to prevent accidents.
Where Are High Lift Jacks Made?
High lift jacks are made of steel and cast, which makes it stable as a tool in your vehicle. The tools are available in several lengths so that you can find the perfect jacks for your car. There are no hydraulics to flop, hence you just simply plant the tool under to raise your vehicle.