TrestleJacks for Trailers

Increase safety and reduce risks


The transport sector is a highly specialised field and requires professional and experienced individuals to identify risks and provide practical solutions. Heavy commercial trailers themselves should be regarded as specialised equipment, as each trailer type is responsible for the carrying specific goods. A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link and time-saving and efficiency are the keys to success. Not all trailers on South Africa’s roads have lifting or supporting equipment. The kind of lifting equipment currently used is originally supplied with the tractor and not suitable for trailers. Changing flat tyres next to the road is most often carried out with equipment not specifically made for the application. A heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) with 26 tyres (16 of them on the trailer) currently relies on a single lifting device that’s known for its unreliability.

A vehicle that is not equipped with the best tools to assist in an emergency is at risk of wasting unnecessary time and money.

Safety Example 1

Load/HCV theft/hijacking

Tyre failure on the N3 is commonly known amongst truck drivers as one of the most dangerous situations one can find oneself in. Lying on the floor and jacking up a trailer puts the driver in a very vulnerable position and open to attack.

In such an unfortunate event, huge losses are incurred for both the operator and its insurance company. The use of TrestleJacks reduces that risk significantly by having the driver safely in the cab during lifting and lowering trailer axles. The time spent lifting and lowering loaded axles is reduced by 85%, with the result of getting both the driver and his HCV back on the road without delay

Safety example 2

Current lifting equipment

The seal inside a hydraulic jack is not reliable and early failure detection is not possible. The real danger comes when lifting the axle of a troubled wheel, taking it off and letting it stand on the hydraulic jack. If the seal of the hydraulic jack is leaking, a slow descent will take place and when trying to replace the wheel, the driver will find that the axle is too low. He then needs to crawl underneath the trailer and again pump the hydraulic jack to create lift. A very real danger exists that the hydraulic jack could slip out and injure the operator.


TrestleJacks benefits

Health & Safety

Current lifting equipment (CLE) used as standard on all HCVs is designed to cover a wide range of applications. On the trailer axle, CLE can be used for one purpose only, that of lifting an axle. By design it is not a complete solution and requires additional equipment to support the axle.

According to the CLE operating manual, a blocking device is required to support the weight of the axle. Most trucks on South Africa’s roads do not carry a blocking device such as a trestle or axle stand.

Occupational Health and Safety standards require employees to be kept safe. Supplying the right tools for the job helps to minimise safety risks. However the implementation of safety guidelines is hampered by CLE requiring additional equipment and human effort.

Using a TrestleJack - which is both a jack and a trestle - to safely lift troubled axles whilst the driver is kept secure in the cab, makes this the safest lifting method currently known. All other similar equipment requires a person to be underneath the trailer during the operation of lifting and lowering axles.

Under-Inflated Tyres

An under inflated tyre increases fuel costs and the chances of a tyre burst which leaves debris on the road, possibly causing damage to other vehicles using the same road.

On the road or at a truck stop, inflating a slow puncture without lifting the troubled wheel is inefficient and ineffective. Because of the load on the tyre, the pressure increase to more than what the compressor can produce. Lifting wheels with TrestleJacks before the inflation process saves time.

Tyre theft

By using the hydraulic jack that is locked in the trailer’s tool box, wheels are often stolen from an HCV that is parked while the driver sleeps. TrestleJacks require the driver to start and drive the vehicle to lift axles - this is recorded on the satellite tracking device. This is a deterrent to a driver’s participation in a theft.

Rejected Loads

Consider this scenario. A refrigerated semi-truck with a 30 ton load of fish is stuck next to the road because one of the super single tyres picked up a nail. There is no option but to change the tyre immediately. The driver of the truck also planned to fill up the fridge’s diesel tank at the next fuel station, 160 km away, and is left with just over two hours of running time. It so happens that the hydraulic jack stops working so the driver has to call for help from another driver on the same route. More than two hours later, help arrives and it takes another 30 minutes to lift the troubled axle as no hydraulic jack can lift an axle of a loaded trailer in a single lift.

Once the fridge’s diesel tank is empty, the fridge stops working and it is a matter of time before the temperature in the trailer starts rising. Even if the driver manages to get to a fuel station an hour later, the fridge agent needs to assist the driver to start the fridge again.

The result - 30 tons of fish rejected. Relationships take a knock as the freight agent now has to explain to the supplier and buyer the reasons for the rejected load.



Fast axle lifting

Whether you are stuck next to the road or waiting in a workshop, TrestleJacks can get you back on the road in less time. A single side can be lifted in less than a minute and an entire empty tipper link in less than seven! In the commercial trucking industry, time literally means money.

According to the Road Freight Association of South Africa, a tri-axle configuration has a standard overhead cost of R685 per hour. Every time a trailer has a flat tyre that needs to be changed, up to 85% of lifting time can be saved. This translates to R514 per lift! Whether you have one rig or several thousands on the road, TrestleJacks will save you substantial time and money.

Trailer usage recommendation

According to the vehicle cost schedule prepared by the Road Freight Association, a 6 x 4 Tridem axle configuration runs at R685 per hour. The costs are made up of tyres, maintenance, fuel, oil, overheads, licences, vehicle staff, insurance, depreciation and other costs. In our calculation below, we have assumed the same configuration and that one wheel per trailer needed repairs each month. Feedback from various operators has shown us that conventional equipment takes on average 30 minutes to lift and lower a trailer axle. Our tests show that the same task can be done with a TrestleJack within 5 minutes. That’s a saving of 25 minutes per lift. Adding up the minutes saved over a year, we worked out that using TrestleJacks can save an operator a significant amount of time over a year. This saving not only reduces downtime costs, but can also mean more kilometers on the road and more loads per year.



1 lift per trailer per month over 12 months!