While riding on secluded roads, it is almost impossible to find a repair shop for your flat tire. With a motorcycle jack on you, you can take the matter into your own hands. It is an essential tool for the maintenance of the bike.
A motorcycle jack is a special support structure device used to lift the bike as you change the tire or do the repair work. The machine is useful and a reliable companion for your travels.
But do you know how to use a motorcycle jack? If not, then refer to this guide to find out and use it like a pro.
How To Use A Motorcycle Jack or Lift?
If you do most of your repair/maintenance work at home, a motorcycle jack is a must-have tool. It can be used for an oil change and tightening along with replacing the motorcycle wheels. Follow these steps to lift your motorcycle using a jack.
To use a motorcycle lift/jack, you will have to lift the bike properly and safely first. This depends on the type of bike and stands it uses: side stand or center stand.
If it has a side stand, put a block of wood or something else under the stand to ensure that the bike is straight and upright when sliding the jack underneath it.
Ask a friend to help you by standing in front of the bike, straddling the front wheel with their legs. Together, you can set the bike upright.
In the case the bike has a center stand, you can skip to step 2 directly.
Set the jack on a flat and strong surface. There shouldn’t be any inclination or unevenness on the surface, as it can lead to the bike falling over or the jack slipping out from underneath. This can hurt you. Avoid carpeted floors too.
Position the jack underneath the bike and take your time to set it in the center of gravity. You may have to reposition it a couple of times, and that’s okay.
Now, using the foot pedal, lift the motorcycle slowly and evenly. You can lower the bike if you feel it’s not right. Inspect the situation, reposition the jack and start off again.
Remember, it’s important to do it right. Hold the front handlebars of the bike to keep it steady as you lift it.
To secure the jack in place, you can use two ratcheting tie-down straps. Lock the wheels as well. If the jack has a locking mechanism, lock it down to ensure stability.
Once the bike is secured in place, you can begin the repair work. Different machines allow the bike to be raised to different heights. They can lift 11.8, 14.5, and 16.5 inches off the ground, respectively. Take into account the work you’ll be doing and adjust the height accordingly.
For heavy maintenance work, you can use jack stands. Place one stand under each wheel and release the jack to start working. This keeps the motorcycle in place while you do the repair work. If you are doing light maintenance, the jack stands are not as necessary.
Warning: You need to be extra careful while using jack stands and take care of your safety. If something goes wrong, you might end up hurting yourself and damaging the bike.
Why Should You Invest In a Motorcycle Jack?
Here’s why you should buy a motorcycle jack and carry it along on your travels:
- Use it for maintenance: You need to lift the bike for basic maintenance like changing the oil, lubrication, tightening the screws, adjusting the brakes, etc. A floor jack will come in handy for this purpose. It will keep the bike off the ground as long as you need.
- Change a flat tire: It’s economical to get a flat tire at home rather than going to a garage/repair shop every time. Use the motorcycle jack to raise the bike off the ground and change the wheels in no time. You can also use jack stands for heavier models.
- Use for storage: Believe it or not, motorcycle jacks can also be used to store the bike. In the winter, the wheeled jack can be used to lift the bike. The jack protects it from snow and rain, extending its life. This way, you won’t have to struggle to get it started in the cold mornings.
Types of Jacks
There are basically two types of jacks: traditional scissors and hydraulic jacks. Motorcycle lifts usually use advanced hydraulics technology or compressed air and sometimes both.
Although both types are equally dependable, the hydraulic designs have become fairly popular over the years. Here’s what you need to know:
Traditional scissor jacks or screw jacks are made of metal components forming a diamond/diagonal shape. The shape gives strength to the device to withstand the weight of the bike.
It has a screw that runs through the middle, extending the device upwards. The lift becomes simple, mechanical, and requires minimal effort. It is called a spanner. It is used to move the metal frames together or apart and also lower and raise the platform from the base.
These jacks are lightweight and quite easy to carry around. They have a self-locking mechanism, so once you lift the bike and there’s no more power, the screw will hold on until you reapply force on the jack.
The stability and durability of these jacks depend on their build and quality. Low-quality machines are most likely to break under pressure.
This is the most preferred jack to lift up a motorcycle. Also known as floor jacks, hydraulic jacks have two cylinders. The smaller one is for pushing, and the energy is transferred to the larger cylinder via hydraulic fluids. It uses a hydraulic pump filled with these fluids to raise the bike upwards from the ground.
They offer large amounts of force, and it goes towards their ability to lift heavier models in comparison to the scissor jacks. The design is simple and can be used both by beginners and experienced people.
A floor jack is durable and reliable. However, one disadvantage to note is that if the hydraulic force seizes for any reason, the entire device will cease to function.
People with heavy-duty vehicles (2000 lbs or more) usually prefer these jacks. Floor jacks are more expensive than simple scissor jacks and are ideal for those who work multiple times a day on the bike.
How To Choose The Right Motorcycle Jack?
With a plethora of jack options in the market, it can be confusing to buy the right one. As it is yours and your bike’s safety at risk here, a little bit of research is very important. Here’s a small buyer’s guide for you to help you with just that:
The motorcycle jack should be sturdy enough to hold the weight of your bike. It should have strong and rigid frames to reduce the possibility of the bike falling off and injuring you. Read the product description and online customer reviews to find out if the jack is suitable for your bike.
Lift range and capacity
Lift range refers to how high a jack can lift your bike. A good jack will give you a decent range and better access to the underside for repair and maintenance.
The lift capacity refers to how much weight the jack can hold. The capacity limit is always mentioned in the product description of the product. Cross-check it with your motorcycle’s weight before making the purchase. By overloading the lift, you might destabilize the setup, causing damage to the bike and yourself.
The jacks are available in a variety of capacity options varying from 300 pounds to 5000 pounds. Make the purchase accordingly.
The platform width of a motorcycle lift is measured between the edges of its base. The wider the platform, the better. It means better stability for your bike. It also depends on your bike weight and size. If your bike is lightweight, a narrower platform should suffice but for heavy bikes, a wider platform is a must.
Unlike cars, motorcycles don’t have enough space to store a jack. Therefore, it is necessary to go for compact jacks with low-profile designs. It should compress down to 4 inches and less, making it easy to store and carry along. Also, if it has a handle, it should be detachable.
Motorcycle jacks are either made of steel or aluminum. Steel jacks are heavy, sturdy, and have a high weight capacity. They are suitable for heavy-duty vehicles weighing 5-10 tons. On the other hand, aluminum jacks are lightweight with a low weight capacity. This makes them easy to carry and store. It depends on your bike’s weight and jack quality.
You can also opt for a steel-aluminum hybrid that combines strength, lightweight, and durability. It is also reasonably priced and a much better deal than a steel motorcycle jack.
Tips For Using Motorcycle Jack
- Use towels to protect the bike’s paint. While you make adjustments to the bike parts, the paint might come off, ruining its show. Towels can help you avoid such situations.
- To ensure the upright position of the bike, you can use ratchet straps or safety locks. It keeps the bike in place while you do the repair work.
- Once you slide the jack underneath, sit on the bike to find the balance point. Then, you can slowly raise it upwards as required.
- Add wooden block pieces between the frame rails to set the bike in an upright position. You will need to make adjustments before the jack is fully secured in place.
- Hydraulic jacks require more maintenance than the traditional scissor jacks. The piston in the hydraulic lift needs to be lubricated regularly to run smoothly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can you lift a motorcycle with a car jack?
Yes, a car jack can be used to lift a motorcycle. It employs a mechanical system in which you must rotate the axle between the jack to lift it. You will have to use some wooden blocks or slides to set the bike in an upright position here as well.
However, as the carjacks are designed for cars, it can be risky to use them on a bike. It’s always better to buy a floor jack as they are way more reliable and specifically designed for the purpose.
Q. Do motorcycle jacks need maintenance?
Yes, you can do basic lubrication and clean them from time to time. As they get old, replace old parts or the hydraulic fluid in case of floor jacks. This will help run the jack smoothly and add to its durability.
A motorcycle jack is a trusty device that you can carry on your adventures. It makes repairing easy and helps with bike storage. It makes maintenance easy and quick. We suggest you read the user manual or watch YouTube videos before using the jack for the first time. It might take a few failed attempts before you get well-versed with the process.
As it’s almost time to take on unknown roads once again during winters, invest in a motorcycle lift asap. Also, while using the device, your safety should be a priority. Be patient and take help if necessary.