People that like to explore, invent and figure out new ways to simplify a task are considered to be extremely creative. Creative people don’t just wait for an idea to pop in their head, they go forth and find the solution. This is what happened with the Hi-Lift jack about 100 years ago. This tool is highly versatile, allowing you to use it in a different way and it can even replace some of the tools in your toolbox.
The same goes for any other essential 4×4 gear but Hi-lift jacks are something special and unique. Since you don’t have much to rely on out in the wild, a Hi-Lift jack can be immensely helpful when you need to get out of a bog or a small hole in the road. Unlike a standard jack stand, a high lift jack is more powerful meaning it can lift your vehicle higher up in the air. But since there are different models of 4×4 jacks which one do you get?
Which Hi Lift Jack to Buy
One of the most important properties of hi lift jacks is the material they’re made of. There are usually two types of 4×4 jacks, all cast and cast and steel jacks. Cast and steel jacks are made of both steel and all cast parts too. They are more affordable than all cast jacks but they tend to wear out faster. You can find both an all cast and a steel and cast 4×4 jacks of great quality with the same weight ratings and capacities.
Just like no vehicle is the same, no 4×4 jack is the same too. For a Hi-lift jack to be effective at what it does, you need to get one with the adequate loading capacity. This means that you need to take into account not only the weight of your vehicle but its carrying capacity too. If you find a Hi-lift jack well above that combined weight limit then go for it. If a 4×4 hi-lift jack isn’t capable of supporting all that weight, the results from using it can be detrimental. There are some jacks that are no more than 3 kg heavy capable of lifting up to 6 tons. For these, you have to pay significantly more than your off-the-shelf Hi-lift jack.
Every different model of a hi-lift jack will have different elevation capabilities. This will depend on the operation, design, and resistance of the jack. What you need to keep in mind is the terrain you’re going to be driving your 4×4 vehicle. This will give you an idea of the minimum and maximum elevation levels to look for in a Hi-lift jack.
There are jacks that you’ll find equipped with different accessories such as bypass systems, steel pistons and extension screws, Steel pistons are used to hold the vehicle more safely and extension screws allow you to achieve a more adequate height. You can also get a clamp attachment which allows you to attach a chain on top of the jack for winching. For this to be possible your jack needs to have a spot at the top for attaching that chain. You can even use the jack in rescue situation as a spreader if you flip it over with the lift plate close to the top clamp.
Do’s & Dont’s of Hi-Lift Jacks
Throw a rock or a tire under the axle of vehicle frame to catch it in case it falls back. Keep a safe distance around the jack depending on how long it is. Expect your vehicle to fall off the jack as it’s probably slippery and muddy. Use a hi-lift base when you have the chance to as it provides better stability. When it’s raining and when working in muddy conditions do make sure to have a good drip on the hi-lift handle. Otherwise, you’ll lose your grip and have the handle fly directly at your face. Make sure to set your jack properly every time you stop raising or lowering it. The resting position of the jack is usually done by releasing the lever up and then locking the handle parallel to the bar.
Avoid going underneath your vehicle when you’re using the jack. Also, avoid jacking your vehicle high up unless you really need to do so and avoid using one to change a tire. Instead, it’s best that you use a bottleneck jack under the axle. Don’t ever stand between the jack and your 4×4. If the jack were to fall or starts to slip, you can end up crunching your fingers or experience some serious injuries. When lowering a load (your vehicle) do not let go of the handle. If you need to release it, just put the release lever in its up position and secure the handle in a position parallel to the bar.