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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vehicle Jacks, Spare Wheels & Wheel Braces

rueda de repuesto de emergencia. Emergency spa...Image via Wikipedia

Original Article

Vehicle Jacks, Spare Wheels & Wheel Braces

Have you noticed just how badly located many spare wheels are located on our vehicles and also how utterly useless the standard vehicle jack is, very often the OE jack can only be used on one specific spot on each corner of the vehicle, that’s no good if that spot is sited over a rock or soft ground when you get a puncture.

One thing I always try to do to my vehicles is to relocate the spare wheel if it’s stored UNDER the vehicle, I either bonnet, roof or tailgate mount it, or even leave it inside the vehicle. I'm sick of having to crawl under the vehicle to unwind the securing bolt in the pouring rain, then trying to drag the blasted thing out from underneath the vehicle.

I also very often scrap the OE Jack and replace it with one with a wider base so it works on soft ground (stops the jack sinking in) and one that will go under the vehicle easily and lift in multiple locations on the body or suspension, rather than many OE jacks that can only lift in specific locations on the vehicle body. You can compromise by welding a bigger steel footplate to the bottom of your OE jack.

At the very least you need an extra foot plate made from steel or thick timber to be kept with your jack, 12x12 or 18 x 18 inches.

Some folks now use AIR jacks which are basically a re-enforced neoprene bag you push under the car and inflated it via a compressor ran from the cigar lighter socket, or from a 3 litre diver’s bottle.

I have also noticed in their mad dash to make vehicles as light as possible that the manufacturers are now making the wheel brace for undoing the wheel nuts very short indeed, often requiring someone with super human strength or a piece of scaffolding pipe to free off tight wheel nuts. I strongly recommend you get hold of a chrome steel extending wheel brace, they are only about £15 and also double up nicely as a defensive weapon.

Don’t forget in a real Bug Out situation the spare wheel, jack and brace need to be very easily accessible so you can change a wheel quickly and get going again ASAP, Having to unload the BOV to get at the spare is definitely bad practise to be avoided at all costs.

Also if you are likely to be sleeping overnight in the vehicle in a BO situation and end up parking off the highway it is well worth keeping four pieces of 13 or 19 mm plywood at least 18 inches x 12 inches to park the vehicle on during the stopover, this will help prevent your vehicle sinking into soft ground overnight and getting stuck. The bigger the vehicle and heavier the load the bigger the boards need to be.

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