Trolley jacks

16 Nov, 2005 12:43pm James Stanbury

A trolley jack is essential when tackling DIY car maintenance - but which gives the best lift? We look at 14 to find out

You might have a basic, cheap jack in your car, but for anything other than changing wheels it probably won't be able to cut the mustard.

For all but the most simple of maintenance tasks, you need a fast, versatile trolley jack to raise the vehicle. Prices have tumbled over the years, with some available now for less than £20. But which should you buy? We scoured the shelves for 14 best-sellers, and headed into the garage to find out.

Jacks are all about highs and lows. Sports and modified cars need a unit that will flatten enough to fit under the lowest sill or sump. At the top end, all vehicles require maximum lift to allow axle stands to be used and give plenty of room for you to work.

We measured closed and open heights, plus how quickly the jacks worked by counting the pumps needed for a 20cm lift. Weight capacity wasn't an issue, as all could lift at least two tonnes, more than adequate for most cars. Price, saddle size and design were also considered.

Verdict

A Professional performance for DIY money easily sums up the Clarke CTJ3000QL, which boasts features that are usually found on more expensive units. It takes our Best Buy award here, yet it was a close-run thing, as the excellent JCB 70003 performed superbly but could not overcome the price difference. Third place goes to Kamasa's GE4841 - a great all-rounder available for less than £20.

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