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What Jack To Use For A Semi Truck? (Explained For Beginners)

There are a few jacks you can use on your semi truck. We will talk about each of them, their lifting capacity, and how to use them safely.

We also cover whether an automatic jack is better than a manual jack, what’s the best jack stands to use for your semi, when you would need them, and much more.

Here’s a Quick Answer to What Jack to use for a Semi Truck:

A hydraulic jack or an air jack can be used to lift up a semi truck. Typical sizes of heavy-duty jacks are a 10-ton, 20-ton, and 30-ton jack. The weight limit of the jack must not be exceeded and the size of the jack to be used will depend on whether the semi truck is loaded or unloaded.

What Jack to use for a Semi Truck?

When lifting a semi truck, it is important to use the right jack for the job. It has to hold the vehicle’s weight, and the jack should be able to take 10-tons.

The jack is a lifting device. It is not designed to hold the vehicle for long periods. Use the jack to lift the truck, then rest the truck on jack stands with the jack still in place for extra support.

Jacks with a 20 and 30-ton weight capacity can also be used to lift the truck. These can be hydraulic or air. The different types are:

  • Trolley jack
  • Bottle jack
  • Portable airlift jack
  • Scorpion jack with dual hydraulic cylinders
  • Hi-lift jack for off-road use

Would you need a Portable Jack for a Semi Truck?

It is handy to have a portable jack if you are confident in changing a tire and using the jack at the correct lifting point.

A portable jack can get you out of trouble and back on your way quicker than waiting around for recovery.

However, you would also need wheel chocks, and jack stands if you were to lift the truck to replace any of its components.

Can you use a Hydraulic Jack for a Semi Truck?

Hydraulic jacks are very common in the motor industry and they are also used for lifting semi trucks.

The most important thing to consider when selecting a suitable hydraulic jack is the load limit.

Common sizes are the 10, 20, and 30-ton jacks, and you will need to consider if the truck is loaded or not to determine which size jack to use.

How does a Hydraulic Jack Work?

A hydraulic jack has two cylinders inside it. Pressure is created by oil moving through them via a pump plunger. The suction causes the to close pressure then builds up in the chamber.

The piston in the chamber rises and lifts the desired object. When using any lifting equipment, be sure to use all safety precautions.

Is a Hydraulic Jack Automatic or Manual Operated?

Hydraulic jacks come in both automatic and manual. A manual hydraulic jack is used the same way a conventional jack is by pumping a lever up and down by hand.

An automatic hydraulic jack will rise and fall with the aid of air or electricity. They both operate using the same principle. The automatic is a favorite choice for mechanics.

It is quicker and less effort to lift the truck they will be working on. However, a manual hydraulic jack does have its advantages over the automatic in the event of power cuts.

What Size Hydraulic Jack Would you need for a Semi?

The size of a jack or weight capacity will depend on if your truck is loaded or empty and what you need to lift. You could use a 10-ton jack to lift the vehicle with no load or trailer.

If you have a load, it is better to go bigger. 20 to 30-ton jacks will be suitable for heavy lifting. Just make sure you use axle stands and wheel chocks.

Axle stands will keep the truck lifted in case there is a failure of the jack itself.

If you are not sure of the jack you will need, it is always better to go bigger or ask around for advice.

Can you use an Air Jack for a Semi Truck?

Some jacks operate on air pressure to lift heavy-duty trucks. The strong air/hydraulic bottle jack can lift 20 tons and be used manually or pneumatically.

Air jacks are as safe as any other jack on the market. Always check you have enough air supply, make sure you service your jack when needed, and use the correct lubricant so you get the best lift.

How does an Air Jack Work?

The air jack has an air motor that connects to a rubber tube with an air fitting at the other end. The air fitting connects to a compressor that supplies the air needed to operate the jack.

Air is forced into the chamber, which force’s the cylinder up to lift the jack. To retract the jack, use the release valve at the bottom of the jack by using the extension arm provided.

Is an air jack Automatic or Manual Operated?

An air jack can be operated using air pressure run by a compressor that makes it automatic or by hand/manually, which is great for when you run out of air or are on the road.

The days have gone by when you could only have one or the other. Jack manufacturers are making jacks that can be operated in any circumstance.

What Size Air Jack Would you Need for a Semi?

The size of the air jack you need will depend on the weight you will be lifting. To be safe when lifting a semi truck, use a minimum 10-ton jack for an empty truck with no trailer.

You can use a minimum of 20-ton for a loaded truck or a truck with a trailer.

You could get away with using 2 x 5-ton on a cab with no trailer or a trailer with no load. Just make sure you are following safety procedures.

Which is Better Air Jack or Hydraulic Jack for a Semi Truck?

Both the air jack and hydraulic jack are great to use and I guess it is a case of preference.

The hydraulic is smoother to operate than the air jack. The air jack has easy airflow making it quicker to lift things.

The hydraulic jack is typically smaller thus making it portable and can be carried along with in the truck.

Overall, they are both just as good and reliable as each other.

Would you need to use Jack Stands?

It is advisable to use jack stands when removing a wheel or to go under the truck. The ground needs to be solid, and the truck should be on a level surface.

This is not always possible. Therefore, using stands and chocks will prevent any risk of harm to you and anyone else in case the primary jack fails.

What Size Jack Stands for Semi?

A 10-ton stand should do the trick when you lift one side of the truck. If you have to lift the entire front or rear of the cab or lift the trailer, it is better to use two 10-ton stands.

Always make sure you have the jack and the stands in the correct positions to avoid the truck slipping and causing injury or worse.

How Strong Should my Jack Stands be?

They should be strong enough to hold a heavy-duty vehicle of 80,000 pounds if necessary. Semi trailer jack stands are made from heavy gauge steel.

They have an extra-large base and ergonomic-friendly handlebars for easy use. They have a static load capacity of 100,000 pounds. Some models can also be used as trailer jacks.

How many Jack Stands do I need?

You would need to use two per axle. It is not safe to use one jack stand as the vehicle may tip due to balance. If you do not have wheel chocks, purchase those as well. They are essential for lifting a truck. To help keep you safe.

Are Jack Stands Required by OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards require a truck to be immobilized during loading and unloading to ensure a safe work environment.

It includes setting the brakes, wheel chocks, and using jack stands. The agency also states that all jacks with a lever, rachet screw or hydraulic, must include stopping indicators and not exceed the weight limit. 

The manufacturer’s load limit is to be displayed on the jack. The stands must be maintained, lubricated regularly, and inspected every six months.

Any stands sent out for inspection must be checked both when sent out and upon return.

What is the Best Jack to Use for a Semi Truck?

The best jack for the driver that is away from home more would be a hydraulic bottle jack. They are easy to use and compact for easy storage.

Here are some popular hydraulic jacks that we recommend using:

If you have access to a compressor and are home often, you would benefit more from an air jack. Always carry a minimum of two jack stands and wheel chocks.

Here are some popular heavy-duty jacks that we recommend using:

BIG RED TA92006 Torin Pneumatic Air Hydraulic Bottle Jack (20 Ton)$133Link
K Tool International 22 Ton Blue Air Hydraulic Truck Jack$330Link
Omega 23227 Black 2-Stage Air/Hydraulic Axle Jack – 22/35 Ton Capacity$840Link