No. 2 – I needed to get a jack just for the trailer

Scissors Jack
Great…We thought ahead and ordered our trailer with a spare tire (you’re going to order a spare, too, aren’t you?). But it never occurred to us to figure out how we would jack up the trailer to change a flat tire.

Nowadays, most cars and trucks come with a short hydraulic or scissors jack. These small jacks are designed to fit into special recesses in the vehicle frame or suspension arms.

We were planning on using that jack to change flat tires on the trailer, but surprise! the vehicle jack failed miserably at lifting our boat trailer.

Our trailer frame is farther off the ground than the tow vehicle’s lift points. As a result, when we placed the tow vehicle’s jack under the trailer frame, we discovered that the jack couldn’t extend far enough to let us change a flat.

Hmm…how about placing the jack under the trailer axle? That looked like it would work. However, since we have a single axle trailer, the side with the flat was very low to the ground. We found that even fully retracted, the tow vehicle’s jack was too tall to fit under the axle near the wheel. 

We eventually figured out that the jack could fit under the axle by moving it towards the center line of the trailer. But that placed the jack so far under the trailer that we couldn’t work the handle. Passenger vehicle jacks usually use a short tire iron or crank rod to actuate the jack. With the jack near the center line of the trailer, we had to crawl under the trailer to work the handle to extend the jack. 

When we got home, we found a couple of large wooden blocks that we could place under the jack, making it tall enough to lift the trailer using the frame. But we eventually bought a large scissors jack that was tall enough on its own to lift the trailer by the frame. It also had a much longer crank.

The main point: Don’t assume that your vehicle jack will work on your boat trailer. TRY IT BEFORE YOU NEED IT, and figure out what you’re going to do if it doesn’t work.