We have five trailers to tow around our armada of small boats, and when we hit the road we carry a roadside repair kit, with one of the most important items being a trailer jack to change out flat tires or bad wheel bearings. For many years we focused on jacking up the trailer frame, which meant a variety of jacks ranging from a repurposed car jack, a 3-ton bottle jack, a wooden 2×6, to a heavy floor jack. Recently we came across a better solution, the Springfield Quick Change Jack, which has no moving parts and lets the towing vehicle do the lifting.
The jack is a heavy-duty aluminum semicircle that cradles the axle in a notch on one end and uses a cam action to raise the axle, with lifting effort provided by the tow vehicle. It is easy to use. The jack is placed under the axle, close to the inside of the wheel and tire that need to be raised. Seven treads molded on the arc of the jack grip the ground while the vehicle is moved forward or backward, depending on which direction the jack has been placed. Once the tire is raised enough to perform the necessary work, the tow vehicle is placed in park, parking brake set, and, for a belts-and-suspenders approach, a set of wheel chocks is placed around the tow vehicle’s tires. We have found the jack to be just as steady as any of the other jacks that we have used and, in some cases, even steadier because the length of an axle jack is much shorter than a frame jack.
The jack is designed to work on trailers that have round or square axles and wheels that range in size from 10″ to 15″ in diameter, which covers all five of our trailers. The weight capacity of the jack is 4,000 lbs. The jack’s small size and light weight mean that it can be stored just about anywhere, and some similar versions have predrilled holes that allow the jack to be bolted to the trailer frame for everyday carry. We leave ours loose because we have multiple tow vehicles and multiple trailers. When we hit the road we grab the jack, a folding lug wrench, and a spare tire (if the spare is not already mounted to the trailer).
Nothing can ruin a fun day of boating quicker than a roadside breakdown, and the less time we spend raising and lowering a trailer on the side of the road, the better. Fortunately, the Quick Change Jack lives up to its name.
Audrey and Kent Lewis, aka Skipper and Clark, have towed boat trailers across the U.S., from left to right and from top to bottom, with a most memorable experience of burning up a brand-new set of 8” tires in six hours during a daytime dash across Arizona in the summer. Luckily, they had thought ahead and had brought two spares. Their small boat adventures are blogged at Small Boat Restoration.
The Springfield Quick Change Trailer Jack is manufactured by Springfield Marine and is available from National Supply for $72.99, from Amazon for $59.94, and from other online retail outlets. Overton’s sells a similar jack that works on 8″ to 15″ wheels.
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