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Machine Mart Buyer's Guide To Jacks

One of the most important items of lifting equipment in most automotive workshops has to be the hydraulic jack. Commonly offered in two forms - the bottle jack and the trolley jack. For lifting vehicles you'll need to look at trolley jacks, while bottle jacks are ideal for all manner of general workshop use.

Machine Mart also offers some specialist jacks designed for safely installing and removing transmissions, differentials and transfer boxes (for removing engines you'll need an engine lift).

No matter what kind of jack you need, the key thing to remember is that they're only designed to lift, not to hold an object up. For example, a vehicle can be lifted using a jack, but must be supported on axle stands or ramps if you're going to work underneath it. Never work under a vehicle which is only supported by a jack.

The first thing to be aware of when selecting a jack is to chose a suitably rated one.

Bottle Jacks

Bottle jacks are simply hydraulic rams which offer a high level of versatility, being useful for both lifting and pushing tasks around the workshop. When used in conjunction with a frame they can be used for pressing applications. Their compact size, power and low cost are their key attributes, which make them very useful to have around. Machine Mart stock bottle jacks with lifting capacities ranging from 2 to 20 tonnes, so there is one to suit all needs.

Trolley Jacks

For vehicle lifting, though, a trolley jack is preferable. A two tonne jack is ideal for a regular family car, but for either a van or a four-wheel-drive vehicle it would be best to go for at least a three tonne model.

Machine Mart offers one of the widest ranges of trolley jacks on the market and all are designed to perform one task and do it well – lifting a vehicle. No matter whether you’re working on a race car, a family saloon, a van or a four-wheel-drive vehicle Machine Mart can probably offer a suitable jack.

For more intensive users, something from the "pro" range of models should fit the bill, some of which have the advantage of a quick lift function. This feature enables the jack saddle point to rapidly come into contact with the jacking point on the vehicle to help you lift the vehicle more quickly.

In addition to the regular range of jacks, Machine Mart also offers professional specification jacks which offer both extra high lifting capacity (ideal for 4x4s) and long chassis models designed to suit extra wide or bulky vehicles (eg Luton vans).

Transmission Jacks

Designed for professional workshops, transmission jacks are best used in conjunction with a garage lift ramp. These tall jacks feature a special claw-shaped head and are designed to support engine / gearbox / axle components during repair or maintenance work. They're most commonly used to support the engine during clutch or gearbox replacement.

Various models are offered in capacities ranging from 250kg to 500kg. Additionally, Machine Mart also offers a version with a 1000kg capacity which is designed to lift either a gearbox / engine assembly from just 20cm off the ground. This is ideal for installing / removing the majority of engines when used in conjunction with a professional garage lift.

When lifting any kind of engine, gearbox, transfer box or differential, it is vital that the load is balanced on the jack - preferably with chains or suitable webbing - and that you have an assistant handy just in case the weight needs additional support.

Axle / Gearbox Stands

Once a vehicle has been lifted it's best to support it on axle stands. Machine Marts offer various versions ranging from 3 tonnes to 6 tonnes capacity. For engine / gearbox / axle support they also offer a 2-tonne tripod stand - this is designed to be used with professional garage lifting ramps.


Jacks are designed to lift and lower objects and should never be used to support heavy weights over long periods of time. Once you've jacked the vehicle up in must be properly supported on either axle stands or ramps.

1 1/4 Tonne Aluminium Trolley Jack 6 tonne axle stands
1 1/4 tonne aluminium trolley jack 6 tonne axle stands
3 tonne professional garage jack Bottle jacks
3 tonne professional garage jack Bottle jacks

With thanks to Machine Mart
Machine Mart