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Ditch your scissor jack and get a bottle jack

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 18, 2013

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Halfords two-tonne bottle jack

Priced RRP £15.99

www.halfords.co.uk or visit your nearest branch

HOPEFULLY you have never been in a situation where you are dealing with a flat tyre at the side of the road.

If you’ve ever had the delight of using a cheap and cheerful scissor jack which comes neatly packaged in the boot of your car, then you’ll agree that they are useless.

Likewise, the trolley jacks as used by the fitters at your local garage can lift a car cleanly off the floor with a few simple strokes of the handle - but they aren’t particularly practical to carry around. Trolley jacks may be impressive when it comes to ease of use and performance, but they are heavy and cumbersome tools best left in the garage.

The compact alternative to the trolley jack is the bottle jack. These lightweight and compact units offer the same impressive hydraulic performance as a trolley jack yet are ideally suited to storage in your car boot.

The bright orange bottle jack I tested from high street motor suppliers Halfords, weighs around 2.6kg and measures just 18cm in height when closed - yet it has a two-tonne lifting capacity.

And reassuringly, bottle jacks are easy to operate - even for the novice.

When dealing with a flat tyre at the side of the road, your first port of call with a new jack should be the handbook as lifting a vehicle in the wrong place can cause serious problems. Most of the scissor jacks supplied as standard with cars are made ‘idiot-proof’ for this reason and incorporate some form of system to always ensure the jack is positioned in moulded jacking points.

With the bottle jack under the car you can pin-point this exact safe lifting spot by winding up the screw-threaded lifting plate until it comes into contact with the underside of your car.

With this plate in contact with one of the safe spots beneath the car it’s possible to have your car wheel clear of the floor in less than 10 seconds with just a few up and down strokes of the hydraulic pump.

The collapsible handle easily slots together and pulls apart again for easy storage.

With your wheel changed, you simple use the recess of the handle or a small spanner to release the hydraulic pressure and lower the jack.

By utilising professional tools to complete your jobs you can turn even the most daunting roadside jobs into a swift task.

I could have the car jacked up and the wheel changed with this jack before I had even cranked the sub-standard scissor jack into the correct position.

My only word of caution would be to rate the lifting power of the jack and its size to your vehicle. This two-tonne model will easily lift all family cars and light vans but its minimum ground clearance height of 18cm makes it too tall to sit beneath some cars. If you drive a super-mini then maybe a one-tonne bottle jack would be more suitable, whereas you would need a larger model if you drive something along the lines of a Mercedes Sprinter.

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