How to Fill a Bottle Jack: A Step by Step Guide

Want to fill your bottle jack with oil and have no clue how to fill it? Problem solved. This article will give you a step-by-step walkthrough on how to fill a bottle jack.

You often change your car engine oil, right? It’s because every machine works better with proper lubrication. And so is your bottle jack. It doesn’t lift properly with years-old oil. You’ll have to replace the oil for better performance. 

If it’s been years since you haven’t changed your bottle jack’s oil and want to refill it, then this article is for you.

So, let’s fill your bottle jack.

What Do You Need for the Filling?

Before starting the job, it’s essential to bring all the requirements together for filling your bottle jack. So that you don’t look for any tools during the work. The following are some of the essential elements:

  • Hydraulic oil
  • Bottle jack
  • Screwdriver (depends on your jack model and what type of screwdriver you will need)
  • Funnel or a plastic squeeze bottle
  • Rag or cloth for cleaning purposes

How to Fill a Hydraulic Bottle Jack?

Place Your Jack on a Flat Ground:

Placing your jack on level ground prevents the jack from tilting over while working. It also helps to level the oil in the chamber, preventing oil from spreading. 

To ensure cleanliness, it’s necessary to place a rag or a cloth under the jack. It will keep the ground or working place clean if some oil gets spilled in any case.

Rotate the Release Valve of Your Jack:

Open the release valve of your jack to have access to the filler hole. Depending on your jack’s model, the valve may be a press release valve, or it may open with rotation. If the latter case, rotate the valve counter-clockwise with your jack’s handle and keep it open during the filling process.

Remove the Filler Plug:

Remove the filler plug

Next, find the filler plug on your bottle jack. It is on the top side of the cylinder. In some bottle jacks, the filler plug may have a rubber cover. If your jack has it, remove the rubber. You’ll see a screw behind the veil. Then drive out the screw as well. 

Depending on a jack’s model, the filler hole may have a screw without any rubber cover on its top or a cap on the screw. In any case, remove them.

Before driving out the screw, clean the area around that point. Since you haven’t filled your bottle for months or even years and have not removed the filler plug, more dirt will be around the hole. So wash the hole’s surroundings, or you can clean the area with a cloth. You will keep the oil reservoir off the dirt this way. Slowly open the screw because the excess oil may run out of the hole. 

Haven’t found the filler plug? Head over to the owner’s manual to locate your bottle jack’s filler plug.

Squeeze in the Oil with the Funnel or Plastic Squeeze Bottle:

Pour in new oil

If you have enough oil to fill the reservoir, remove all the old oil from the pool. For the unfilling purpose, hold the jack in a horizontal position, and the hole should be towards the ground or any pot in which you want to put the oil.

Once you’ve emptied the bottle, place the jack back on the ground vertically. Take your plastic squeeze bottle and fill it with the new oil. It should have a long tip opening, which can quickly get into the hole.

Replace the Filler Plug:

Since you’ve filled the bottle now, clean the area around the hole and place the screw back in its position and turn it clockwise. If it had a cover on it, put back that as well. 

Try the Jack

After the jack has been filled, give it a few strokes to see whether it operates or not. If the filling is done well, you would notice more smooth lifting than before. Since this time you’re not lifting any load with it, just testing it, you will need to press the head upon releasing the jack because of no pressure on it. So don’t worry if it didn’t settle for the time.

Pumping the jack will also release the air gathered inside while working. 

Video Tutorial

What Kind of Oil Do You Put in a Bottle Jack?

Fill your bottle jack with anti-foaming jack oil. It should also be an excellent graded hydraulic oil. Adequate lubrication also prevents the jack from corrosion. 

Don’t use brake fluid, motor oil, transmission oil, or any alcoholic oil. Use hydraulic oil to fill the bottle jack. Never mix multiple oils, and then put that in your jack. Bad oil will damage the jack’s hydraulic system, so go by the rule and follow your owner’s manual. 

How Much Oil Do You Put in a Bottle Jack?

It depends on the size and load capacity of your jack. You should fill your bottle jack with oil just ⅛ inch (0.3 cm) below the filler hole in your jack. So keep on putting the jack until the oil comes out of the hole, then stop filling. 

If you put more oil in the reservoir, the jack may not lower to its original height. So try to avoid overfilling the jack with oil.

Does a Bottle Jack Work without Oil?

Nope. A hydraulic system does not work without hydraulic oil. A bottle jack is also a hydraulic system. Jack oil transfers the mechanical energy of a jack pump to the lifting power. The lifting feature comes in a hydraulic jack because of the oil.

Why Won't Bottle Jack lift?

Your bottle jack may not lift any weight or hold load because of the low oil level. You have to fill the oil reservoir of your bottle jack so that it raises the load. Because of the low oil level, a bottle jack may not extend to its full height.


You’ve learned how to fill a bottle jack in this article. Keep in mind to use a good hydraulic jack oil for better performance. Fill your best bottle jack for a truck or other vehicles with a proper schedule. A good rule is to fill your bottle jack once every three months.

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