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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

High Lift Jack: What to Do (and Not to Do)

photo by luckyraccoon via iStock

The high lift jack is a controversial tool. Some people believe it can be extremely useful and others extremely dangerous. 

In our opinion, if used correctly, the high lift jack won’t do any harm and can get you out of some pretty bad situations with relative ease. 

How can a high lift jack be used safely? That’s what we are covering today!

Table of Contents

What Not to Do With a High Lift Jack

Never Put Your Body Between the Jack and the Handle

man using a high lift jack

The most dangerous part of the high lift jack is the handle. As soon as the jack is loaded, the handle will begin to return to its original position with much more force than when it is unloaded. 

Most accidents happen because people have their hands or even heads in between the handle and the actual jack. Therefore, if something happens and the handle returns to position uncontrollably, injury is inevitable. 

So, the most important thing to keep in mind here is that you should never put any parts of your body between the handle of the jack and the actual jack itself.

Never Go Underneath a Jacked Vehicle

Repairman holding and screwing a wheel on a 4x4 vehicle.

photo by Luka Banda via iStock

The second rule is to never go underneath a vehicle that is only supported by a high lift jack. 

Because of the tall and narrow design, high lift jacks are not very stable. Therefore, when on uneven ground, there is a high likelihood that the Jack can slip and the whole car will fall back to the ground.

Furthermore, there is also a chance that the high lift jack itself might fail and drop down straight away. 

Just like we are told to never go under a car that is only supported by a hydraulic jack, the same is true to an even bigger extent with the high lift jack.

Don’t Mount the Jack to a Weak Spot on the Vehicle

4x4 on a jack

photo by Luka Banda via iStock

The third thing no one should ever do with a high lift jack is mount it to a weak spot of the vehicle. 

To use a high lift jack, a vehicle must have rock sliders and steel bumpers. This is because this tool cannot lift the vehicle from the undercarriage. It can only grab the truck from any available space around it. 

This is the reason some off-road bars have holes in them. They are meant to be used for jacking the truck with a high lift jack. 

If you have a newer 4×4 with plastic bumpers all around and no sliders, you may not be able to use the high lift jack unless you find a sturdy enough area. 

If the area you choose is weak, you will damage your truck while also running the risk of having the whole vehicle fall back to the ground. 

What to Do With a High Lift Jack

Use the Bar Work on Your Rig as a Jacking Area

Use the Bar Work on Your Rig as a Jacking Area

IMG_5151” by GSEC is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The high lift jack is perfectly safe to use when you need to change a tire on the trail. On uneven terrain, a normal jack has very little chance of reaching an off-road vehicle. 

Here is where the high lift jack comes in place. Use your truck’s bar work as a jacking area and jack up the car while staying away from the handle. 

By doing this and avoiding going under the vehicle, you run zero risk of getting hurt. 

Add a Bolt to the Jacking Mechanism

 Bolt to the Jacking Mechanism

If you are at a very remote spot and you absolutely need to get under the vehicle to repair a part that has deemed the truck useless, then there is a way. 

Jack up the truck using the high lift from a space where you know there is zero chance of the jack slipping off. The rock sliders won’t work here. What you need is a slot exactly the size of the jack itself. 

As soon as you have found a good jacking point, begin jacking the vehicle. Once you have it at the desired height, place a big bolt in a hole directly beneath the jacking mechanism. This will eliminate the chance of the jack failing and falling straight to the ground. 

After that is done, remove your spare tire and place it in between the lowest point of contact between the vehicle and the ground. The wheel will add an extra layer of security in case the jack gives up.

Use Your High Lift Jack for Recovery

man using a lift jack to recover a 4x4

Another great use for a high lift jack is as a tool for recovery. 

Imagine you are alone on a rocky trail, and you are getting hung up on some big rocks. You’ve been doing everything you can, but the big rocks stop the truck both from moving forwards or backward. 

Even worse, there are no trees to winch from. What do you do? Well, here is where the high lift jack comes in handy. 

In this instance, the vehicle must be jacked up from a place where it can slide onto the jack’s jacking point. In most instances, the best place is the rock sliders. However, you also want to make sure the ground underneath the jack is flat.

Use Your High Lift Jack for Recovery

Once you have established a good jacking point begin, jacking the vehicle up until it is no longer grounded on the obstacles that were stopping it. What you have to do now is get in the vehicle and simply drive forwards or backward and the jack will fall back to the ground on its own. 

To avoid damage to the panels of the vehicle, put a boot to the end of the jack or wrap it around with a soft material. 

This may sound like a dangerous thing to do; however, as the last resource, it can be all that is needed to get you out. 

Remember, the only thing that is at risk here are your vehicle’s panels – not you. 

Final Thoughts

Using a jack to free a Jeep Grand Cherokee stuck on the rocks.

photo by creighton359 via iStock

The high lift jack is a great tool if used correctly. Yes, it does have its flaws and can be dangerous. However, most tools are like this. As long as you know how to use them, they can only do good. 

If you have any further questions regarding high lift jacks, post them on the forum section of our page. 

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