Spare Tire Jack Suggestions?

I just acquired a 1982 Cadillac Hearse. Needs some work, but only 60K miles on it.

I just got 5 new tires on it and noticed it does not have an emergency type jack for changing a flat tire. I have a good floor jack for home use, but nothing if I needed one on the road. I am bouncing back and forth between a 12 ton bottle jack or a scissor jack. My neighbor suggested a hi-lift 4X4 bumper jack, but I don’t think they would work with the curved bumpers. It is big, long, and heavy.

Suggestions appreciated.

Go for the bottle jack, no worries mate. Use it on the axle of course.

I would go with something like this.

It’s small, light weight, can be placed under the frame, and raises the vehicle quickly. But I would also include with the jack a length of 2 X 8 board to place under the jack in case the vehicle has to jacked up on soft ground.


+1 @Barkydog - I’d hate to see what happens if a bumper jack is tried…

I would like the bottle jack because it would take up less room. 12 Ton is way overkill though.

The bumper jack would have no problem lifting the car but the bumper might take a beating and the bumper might need to be raised a considerable height to gain clearance to change a tire which can make for a precarious situation. A shop jack like Tester linked would be the safest alternative but it takes us a great deal of space. A good scissor jack can be safe and adequate if you can find one. The old Mustang OE scissor jack was great and I scarfed up every one that I have found over the years for myself and family. It used a 3/4" hex to operate it and the ratcheting lug wrench worked well but I attached a 4+/- foot length of galvanized 1/2 in conduit to a 3/4" socket and a 3/4" hex bolt to make it easier to operate. That jack had a very large base, a heavy duty scissor mechanism and a large, dished pad. It would lift a ton. And when lifting the axle, raising the jack just 6 to 8 inches would allow clearance with a much safer situation. But certainly not as safe as the shop jack.

@texases I hear you, I had a really great hydraulic bumper jack way back when, now adays all I hear is ripping plastic.


A trolley jack is a miniature version of a regular shop floor jack. Notice the handle on the jack?


I will look for one of those next time I am at Harbor Freight, @Tester. I feel sure they would have one if Sears is selling them. It’s hard for me to look at that picture and not think it as the same size as the jacks in my shop. If the OP has room for such a jack that’s the safest way to go, I believe. The base would certainly be large enough to support the car even on a soft shoulder while those high lift jacks would likely sink and tip. But I have one of those high lifts that I bought to raise a porch while replacing the columns and it is tough.

Yup, I did notice that handle. I have a jack which was probably made in the same Chinese factory with the same paint scheme, which I bought at Kragen, now OReilly. And I always wish for a handle right there! And you’re exactly right about needing lumber underneath, but 2x8 is not nearly wide enough. The caster wheels (closer to the handle) are exactly the width of the 2x8 (7.5 inches). I use a 2x12 to give those caster wheels room to wiggle as they tend to do. Ideally, I’d like a nice piece of 3/4 plywood about 15" x 40" for the gravel driveway. A slightly smaller one would do for riding in the vehicle as the OP needs.

Ya know what works better than a hunk of lumber? Go to Wally World and buy the biggest plastic cutting board you can find.


Must be mostly in town miles I suppose.

I believe if you get under the car and look, you are going to find the bumpers are not connected to the frame like they were in the 50’s when bumper jacks were used. I suspect the bumpers are attached to a couple shock absorbers. A high lift just can’t be used. A plain ole floor jack like Tester showed makes the most sense.

I think bottle jacks are unsafe for emergency use. The base is too small, and you’re often not on level ground. I recommend a miniature floor jack like this one.

Make sure you secure it somehow so it doesn’t become a projectile in a collision.

I personally prefer a bottle jack to a trolley jack for an emergency device, but the salient point is to ensure the vehicle is safely chocked, the parking brake engaged, and NEVER get under a vehicle on only a jack of ANY kind. Jacks are for changing flats only.

Bottle jacks tend to have a very limited lift range, often only about 4" which may not be enough to change a tire. You could use it under the axle on the rear or the lower control arm on the front and that will get the tire off the ground, but on the rear, there may not be enough room to get the tire out of the fender well.

A scissor jack would be a little scary on a vehicle this size. Granted you are only lifting one corner, but you are awfully close tho the max weight limit for these. A trolly jack may take up more room, but surely there is plenty of room in an old Hearse for one.

I have a three-stage bottle jack at home that’ll lift about 8" over its totally collapsed height of about 5". They can be purchased in many sizes, lengths, and capacities. Scissor jacks tend to be unstable IMHO. Trolley jacks are perhaps the safest of the three, but shouldn’t be used on soft or graveled ground. Unless the wheels can roll as the jack rises, it’ll tend to pull the load toward itself.

I remain a bottle jack man, but none is safe to get under and, in truth, if the limitations of the jack are understood they’re all safe to work with. I’ve used all types (I routinely use a floor jack at home) and never had a problem…but I’m ultra careful and double check everything for stability.

We all seem to be tip toeing around the problem of safety and jacking up a car on the side of the road is a situation that is to be avoided if at all possible. One of those cigarette lighter pumps and a couple of cans of Fix-a-Flat would be worthwhile investment even if you go for the top of the line jack.

I can imagine that driving a hearse often opens a wide wake in traffic and gets a pass on overtime parking.

I have a trolley jack like the one Tester showed you (got it at Sears). It works well enough, but I prefer my larger Michelin floor jack. But for a compact jack, the trolley jack is hard to beat.