A jack is one of those pieces of equipment that is essential to carry in your car while off-roading., because the stock jack given by the manufacturer is just not good enough, especially since the terrain is never smooth. Here there are three types of jacks that are a must have when you head out to the trail.
This is the most popular of the lot because of its versatility and ability to lift heavy high ride vehicles well off the ground.
The first step while using any kind of jack is to make sure the vehicle is secured well. Sometimes, the emergency brake is not enough. So, in case you are lifting up one wheel, make sure the others are well secured. While off-roading, it is rare to find flat terrain, so the best way is to winch the vehicle around a tree using tow straps.
The Hi-Lift jack can be used to lift vehicles when in trouble. This is most often used when either of the wheels is stuck deep in a rut or while off-roading you need to change a tyre. This can be a little tricky as the base of the jack is really small, so you have to be very careful that it is placed correctly on a patch of flat ground (good luck with that though) and close to the tyre that needs to be raised. You may want to purchase a ‘safety kit’ which comes with a wider base and support cables as well. Place the jack on the bumper as close to the wheel that has to be raised. If you are cool enough to place it in the middle, it may result in your vehicle toppling over.
You could also use the Hi-Lift to shift the vehicle horizontally, in case it is stuck and cannot be winched out. Place the Hi-Lift in the centre of the side opposite to the two wheels stuck. Now tilt it a little in the direction you need the vehicle to move and raise the vehicle. Once both wheels are off the ground, the 4×4 will automatically move a few feet either to the front or backwards.
This recovery equipment is most often used either in snow or in sand. All you need to do is slide the bag under the side that needs to be raised, connect the hose to the exhaust pipe and wait for it to fill. Now in most cases, off-roading involves a lot of throttle input which makes the exhaust hot, so make sure to let it cool down a little before using it. Even though the bag has an extra rugged layer on the top, make sure there are no sharp edges puncturing the bag. You could add two to three floor mats and put it on the padded area just in-case. The X-jack occupies a fair amount of space in the boot and unlike the Hi-Lift, you cannot mount it to the outside of your vehicle.
The Bottle jack is a lot more stable and compact than a Hi-Lift jack and the X-jack. Unlike the Hi-Lift, where you lift almost the whole side of the vehicle, with the Bottle jack, you can raise the axle itself, which makes it easier to work on the car. While using a Hi-Lift or the X-jack, one must remember there should be enough clearance under the vehicle to carry out the recovery process. But the Bottle jack comes with a variety of sizes, 3-ton and 5-ton, and since it is compact, it is easy to lug around when you are out on a drive. The 3-ton jack is sufficient for 4×4 off-roaders and can be used very easily.
So, make sure to carry one of the aforementioned jacks whenever you head out into the wilderness. You never know when you may need a helping hand.