Before You Take Your RV on the Road, Check Your Fifth-Wheel Hitch

Before You Take Your RV on the Road, Check Your Fifth-Wheel Hitch

  • A survey from Master Lock revealed that 71 percent of Americans admit to being “somewhat to not knowledgeable” about safe towing practices. Let’s ponder that for a second.


     Of the 10 people you see on the road pulling a trailer, seven of them are unsure about how to tow safely – or they’re completely clueless. Let’s hope you’re driving next to one of the three who know what they’re doing.


    Now that we’re heading into camping and RV season, most people will go through their RVs and make sure the inside sparkles. They’ll check the refrigerator, battery, water tank and dump valve. They’ll bring the tow vehicle in for maintenance, have the trailer checked out, and make sure the brake lights are in sync.


    But what about your fifth-wheel trailer hitch? You know, that nifty little piece of equipment that secures the trailer to the back of your vehicle? Knowing some people don’t maintain their hitches is downright frightening.


    B&W Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch 3500  Ford towing a Fifth Wheel RV


    Checking Your Hitch

    1. The first thing you need to do is closely inspect the hitch for missing or damaged parts and remove any debris. Remove old grease and apply fresh lubricant to all moving parts, including the interior handle and spring coils. White lithium grease will work in most cases. Use a plastic lube plate or automotive-grade chassis grease to lubricate the skid plate surface.


    2. Next, make sure the jaws close completely and work smoothly. If they don’t, check for debris. If that doesn’t do the trick, take it to a professional before you hit the road. Check the pins to ensure they’re positioned properly.


    B&W Companion 5th Wheel Hitch Jaws


    3. Check the torque on your nuts and bolts because over-tightening can do just as much damage as a loose screw.


    4. Finally, inspect the breakaway cable and ensure that the lock is functioning properly.


    If you have a new RV or you’re towing for the first time, take it on a test run. Adjust the mirrors, get a feel for the breaks, and practice driving in reverse. If you’re not sure about something, don’t take any chances. Give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.


    Just do everything you can to be among the minority who actually know what they’re doing when they tow thousands of pounds down the road!