A hydraulic jack is a very useful piece of equipment to have in the garage. When you need to get under the car it eliminates all the back breaking work of using a hand jack, work that can take far too long. Like everything else, however, a hydraulic jack needs good maintenance in order to keep working properly.
Tip 1 - Storing
Make sure you have the pump and piston retracted every time you store the hydraulic jack. This puts less strain on the system and helps make it easier to work the next time. Always store the jack on its base, never on its side to avoid and possible leaks.
Tip 2 - Dust
As a hydraulic jack is almost always kept in the garage, dust can be a problem. You can cut down on that by storing the jack in a place that’s away from dust (as far as possible) and where moisture won’t creep in, as it can affect the metal parts. The best solution is to cover the back when it’s not in use. This gives even more dust protection.
Tip 3 - Inspection
Part of your maintenance should include regular inspections, preferably before every use of the hydraulic jack. Look at the ground to check for leakage of fluid and go over the casing to see if there’s any cracking or rust; if there is, fix it immediately before it becomes worse. You can also see if there’s too much wear in any region that could hint at a problem
Tip 4 - Cleaning
After you’ve used the hydraulic jack, clean it before you store it. If you wipe down the metal it will attract less dust. Look at the seals after use to check for possible oil leakage and replace the seals immediately if you notice any. Don’t use the jack again until you’ve done so.
Tip 5 - Bleeding
You’ll need to change the oil in the hydraulic jack periodically. After you’ve done that as part of your maintenance, always remember to bleed out the air. It’s something you should also do if the movement of the jack appears erratic rather than smooth. If you don’t it can lead to some problems later, and it only takes a couple of minutes.
All you need to do is twist the pump rod in a counter clockwise direction and then pump the jack. Be sure to do it about 30 times. After that, twist the rod back in a clockwise direction and pump up the hydraulic jack as far as it will go before releasing it. That completes the bleeding.
Tip 6 - Oil
Check the oil level, but only add more when the rod doesn’t move easily. Be sure that you add oil in the correct spot. It’s an easy mistake to make and one that can leave you with a jack that doesn’t work properly. You fill the oil from the side of the body, which is where the plug should be located. Make sure you fill all the way to the fill line but don’t go beyond that.