Operating a Trailer Jack Work: Important Parts And Its Functions

There’s a lot of angst on the Internet about trailer jacks. The general feeling is they’re cheaply made and consistently fail at the worst time. First, ensure the trailer is on firm, level ground and its wheels are choked. Then, crank the handle (or press the button if it’s an electric jack) to raise the leg.

The Handle

Whether you’re using an electric or manual trailer jack, the same basic principles apply. First, be sure you’re on firm ground that can support the weight of the trailer tongue and have a good amount of clearance to maneuver. Then, ensure the towing vehicle’s wheels are chocked so it can’t roll away while you’re working on the jack. Many jacks have legs that drop instantly within the inner lift tube, but others have spring-loaded pins that hold them in place. It’s a good idea to work incrementally, checking the jack foot and coupler every few inches to ensure everything works correctly. Like any other equipment, trailer jacks can wear out and break over time. You can usually buy them replacement parts rather than an entirely new trailer jack. Various features are available, from small-cap setscrews to complete motor assemblies for an electric jack.

The Top Cap

The head of the trailer jack contains the gears that convert the user’s cranking motion into lifting power for the jack leg. It’s usually topped with a weather-resistant cap to keep moisture, dust, and pests away from the inside components of the jack. Some jacks, like A-frame jacks, mount to the trailer frame using vertical bolts that pass through the jack head. Others, including electric jacks, use a bracket that mounts over the trailer tongue.

Many jacks have a swivel to allow the leg to rotate 90 degrees and lie flat against the trailer frame. To lock the swivel in either the ready-to-use or stored position, it’s typically secured with a simple pull-pin. Most jacks have an information label on their head that indicates the static and lifting ratings in pounds. It’s essential to ensure the jack is correctly rated for your trailer. It can overextend and lift the trailer off the ground if it isn’t.

The Pull-Pin

A pin attached to the base of the jack drops down and extends out, raising the trailer tongue. It can also be pulled up to retract the jack leg and drop it back into the base for storage. Most jacks have a protective finish, like a powder coat or zinc plating. These protect the iron from corrosion from moisture and road salt. Some jacks are welded to the trailer frame, while others are mounted via a bracket on the front of the trailer tongue. Because a trailer jack supports such a weight, operating can be dangerous. Only raise or lower the trailer on level ground and use wheel chocks to prevent it from rolling. If you need help safely operating your trailer jack, ask a professional for help. And always remember to never stand under a raised trailer.

The Lift Tube

A trailer jack’s inner tube or leg is the primary element that raises and lowers the trailer tongue. It’s a hollow, cylindrical tube that fits inside the outer body of the jack. This body, known as the head, contains the gears and mechanical components that harness the user’s hand-cranking efforts to raise and lower the jack leg. Most jack heads are topped with a weather-resistant cap to protect the internal components from the outdoor elements.\ Most jacks come with the option to be bolted or welded into place on the trailer frame. Bolt-on jacks are more accessible to remove should the need arise, while weld-on jacks require more advanced tools and skill to disassemble and replace.

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