Jacking up a caravan is very different to jacking up a car, so it is important to take time and care to do this correctly.
You can’t for example, put the jack anywhere on the chassis. Caravans have recommended lifting points and these should be the only areas where you place the jack. These points will be detailed in the caravan’s handbook.
Do not use the corner steadies as jacks under any circumstance as you can endanger yourself, and cause serious damage to the corner steadies and their mounts.
Once you have located the jacking points, it is also important to only use an appropriate jack as recommended by the manufacturer.
Before you start
To begin jacking your caravan, ensure that your jack fits comfortable under the lifting point and that when extended, it will have enough height to lift the wheel free of the ground. If you use a jack that has a compact base, on soft ground put a support board underneath to spread the weight.
Scissor jacks can be very effective if used correctly, though they will need enough room to reach their minimum height before they begin to lift, otherwise they will not produce any effective lift.
Here are a few tips to help keep things stable when jacking your caravan
Most caravans have a single or twin central axle. This means when you jack the caravan it could become unstable. Caravan Talk members recommend the following to keep the caravan stable:
- Keep your car attached to the caravan at all times
- Always apply the car and caravan handbrake before lifting the caravan
- Use chocks to secure the far-side wheel or wheels
- Always try to perform the operation on level ground
- Always try to perform the operation on hard ground
Remember, when jacking your caravan to change a flat tyre, with the lifting jack in place always loosen the nuts slightly with the flat tyre still in firm contact with the ground. Then commence the lift.
Like a good Boy Scout - be ‘tyre’ prepared
Ensure that your caravan always has a spare wheel, dealers have been known to ‘forget’ to include it with new caravans, and with pre-owned units alike.
Your spare tyre should always be inflated to the correct running pressure so it is ready for immediate use and when you change the other tyres because of age, replace the ‘spare’ one too. This keeps them all in a similar (good) condition.
Most of our members carry and recommend carrying a torque wrench. This handy tool is a real help as it will help you tighten your wheel nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications. To make sure your wheel nuts are correctly tightened, simply loosen them slightly, then tighten again with the torque wrench set to the correct torque.
In addition, visually inspect your tyres regularly and check for obvious signs of wear and tear such as loss of tread, rips, cracks and bulges. If in doubt, replace or repair. Regular inspections should prevent most blowouts before they occur.
If you use an under-slung spare wheel carrier, this should be maintained and the runners well greased regularly, when the spare tyre is inspected. Our members recommend rotating the spare wheel periodically to minimise any damage from pressure points on the carrier.
Keep safe! Never go under
A jack is not a substitute for a professional hydraulic lift or inspection pit. Never go underneath a caravan that has been raised by a jack to inspect the underside or to look for any problems. If you must go under the caravan when it is raised from the ground, always use axle stands, and lower all steadies.
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