How to Service a Bottle Jack With Oil

Written by thomas west
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A hydraulic bottle jack gets its name from its vertical stance and its unmistakable bottlelike appearance. The bottle shape is actually a hydraulic cylinder that houses a piston that is raised when the handle is pumped up and down. None of this could happen without hydraulic oil. Servicing the bottle jack should include regularly checking the oil level and changing the oil.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Hydraulic oil in squeeze bottle
  • Drain pan

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    Checking Oil Level

  1. 1

    Check the hydraulic oil periodically or when the performance of the jack is not up to snuff. Sit the jack upright.

  2. 2

    Locate the rubber oil level plug on the side of the cylinder near the top of the jack.

  3. 3

    Pry the plug out with a flat blade screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Add oil from a plastic squeeze bottle if the level is not up to the bottom of the hole.

  5. 5

    Push the oil plug back into place until it is fully seated.

    Changing the Oil

  1. 1

    Change the hydraulic oil in the jack at least every three years. Turn the lowering valve at the base of the cylinder in a counterclockwise direction using the slotted end of the jack handle.

  2. 2

    Push the lifting pad all the way down with the heel of your hand.

  3. 3

    Pry the oil filler plug from the cylinder with a flat blade screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Tip the jack over and let the oil flow from the oil filler hole into a drain pan.

  5. 5

    Place the jack upright. Fill the jack with hydraulic oil until the level comes up to the bottom of the hole. Push the oil filler plug back into place until it is fully seated.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean any spilt hydraulic oil from the jack cylinder with a rag and mild detergent or solvent. Store the jack in an upright position in a dry location.
  • The symptoms of low hydraulic fluid in the jack may be a spongy feel or a hydraulic piston that will not raise all of the way.
  • Keep the jack out of reach of children or unauthorised users.

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