September 2, 2009
Motomaster aluminum jack. Click image to enlarge
By Glen Konorowski
It’s not often I really get excited about a product I test, but once in a while something comes along that I really find handy and easy to use: the Motomaster Aluminum Jack, better known as a trolley jack.
Most trolley jacks are made of steel and are generally fairly heavy, even the smaller ones. This heavy weight makes them awkward to carry about, especially if you take your jack with you to car shows, track days, or even if you live in an apartment and just carry it out to the car.
The majority of the jack is made of aircraft grade aluminum which is strong and light, but the key areas that carry the weight are steel. Overall, this jack is fairly easy to carry and its aluminum handle breaks down into two pieces which makes it easy to store in small places.
The Aluminum Jack is about two fifths the sized of a regular floor jack and about the same size as a decent quality smaller trolley jack. This works out to 50 cm long by 25 cm wide with an overall jack body height of 30 cm. It has a low lift height of just 9 cm so it will slip under the lowest of vehicles. The handle is 95 cm long, and comes in two clip together sections with a foam rubber cover over the lower section to protect the vehicle’s body when near or under it.
Putting the jack into action wasn’t hard this season as I was forever under one car or another. Its first work came in the cold changing the winter tires for summer. Even on this cold dry day the jack pumped up just fine – the hydraulics were not affected by the cold, which can happen on some jacks.
My son and I found the jack could lift all the cars we had without having to use a block under the lift pad of the jack, except our Jeep Liberty. We had to use a 2×4 piece of wood turned on its side to lift the Liberty enough to get an axle stand under the sub frame.
Due to its compact size and low lift height, a friend and I were able to use the Aluminum Jack to push out a dented rear fender. We managed to slip the narrow end of the jack into the dented area in the trunk. Due to restricted space we used just half the jack handle to pump it to pry open the area. Sounds rather crude, but it did get the job done – to everyone’s amazement.
A friend borrowed our test jack for a track day to switch tires. He needed a jack that was relatively small, light and easy to pack and move about in limited space. Our little Aluminum Jack passed the test with flying colours, as it handled all of my friends race-day needs. Our friend especially liked the built-in handle on the side of the Jack, as he did have to carry it out to a friend who got a flat in a very inconvenient spot on the track.
We had one minor problem: the coloured anodized aluminum sides of the jack have gotten scratched. One person commented that it must be a useful jack if it had that many scratches so quickly, and I have to agree.
The Aluminum Jack has proven to be a favourite tool when my son and I are working on cars in the driveway. The ability to carry it easily to the car and place it without a lot of struggling has made us a believer that it is well worth the $199 price-tag.
Note: those of you who’d like to save a little weight in your performance car might like to know that Mazda used a nifty little aluminum scissor jack in the early RX7s. I grabbed one for my performance VW when I noted how really light they were and how well they worked.