Here's What It Looks Like When You Overload Your Hydraulic Bottle Jack

In my article “How To Work On Cars And Not Kill Yourself,” I discussed the importance of using jack-stands when working on a lifted vehicle, because jacks alone can fail. And now, thanks to Hydraulic Power, we can see how such a failure might look in slow motion.

If your car comes with a jack, it’s probably either a power screw-based scissor jack or a hydraulic bottle jack. My Jeeps all come with the latter, so if I ever get a flat tire and have to throw on the spare on the shoulder of the road, I would be relying only on that little unstable oil-filled bottle.

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But I think I’ll be throwing a jack stand in the back of my Jeep after watching this bottle jack get absolutely annihilated by a press:

Sure, the press was 500 tons, and my Jeeps weigh much less (though the J10 is pushing it), so the likelihood of such catastrophic destruction is almost nil. Still, it’s unnerving to see a jack get squished like a soda can and dump its fluids all over the place.

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About the author

David Tracy

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).