In order to successfully uncouple your trailer, the fifth wheel on your truck has to be in good condition. Check out what to do to ensure this wheel is ready for winter travel.
Over time, sand, dirt, and pebbles kicked up from the road begin to accumulate under the plate of this wheel. The debris mixes with grease and freezes in the cold weather. The resulting poor condition of this wheel may cause your trailer to break away. No one wants to encounter that terrible scenario.
Getting rid of old lubricant on the wheel is priority one. This allows you to see any dents or other breakage to the top plate. Use solvent to avoid removing the plate to clean the wheel. Don’t forget to clean its lock.
Testing the lock and giving it a visual inspection is essential. As stated in a September 21st, 2020 article in Heavy Duty Trucking, Trucking Info, Jost International’s national sales manager Rob March advises, “Once you have it clean, exercise the lock mechanism four or five times using a lock tester. You want to make sure it locks and unlocks freely and easily.”
Damaged springs or a bent plate are easy to see once the grime is cleaned away. If you’re not sure the plate is level, use a straightedge to check it.
Remember to inspect the air cylinder to find leaks. Examine the fasteners to be sure they’re tightly connected and test the slider mechanism.
Removing the old grease means the wheel is going to need new lubricant before the winter maintenance routine is complete. It’s important to check with the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of lubricant to use.
Finally, checking the condition of your fifth wheel in the winter can help you spot damage before it creates a bigger issue.