SPRING into taking care of your fifth wheel locking jaw system!


Spring has officially sprung, but that doesn't mean the cold and icy weather is gone for good in the Midwest. Your fifth wheel locking jaw system requires STILL requires your care and attention. Us Midwesterners are not necessarily free of the combination of highway salt, sand, ice, and freezing temperatures, which can cause your system to become sluggish and unresponsive, putting you at risk of a dangerous trailer disconnect.

SPRING into taking care of your fifth wheel locking jaw system!

Here are some tips to help you maintain your fifth wheel locking jaw system during a midwestern spring:

  1. Remove Frozen Grease: You may think having a thick coating of grease on your locking jaw mechanism means it is properly lubricated, but as the temperatures drop, that grease can get very thick and clumpy. Remove and discard any thick clumps of frozen grease you see around your locking mechanism or fifth wheel throat.
  2. Use a Penetrating Catalyst: Spray a penetrating catalyst like PB Blaster on and around your fifth wheel's locking jaws and other moving components. This will help prevent the grease from freezing and provide a light lubricant.
  3. Apply PB Blaster to Sliding fifth wheel: Volvo drivers should also periodically spray PB Blaster under the rails of your sliding fifth wheel and around the locking pin mechanism if you ever have to move your sliding fifth wheel. If you are unsure how moving a 5th wheel can affect weight distribution or trailer clearance, reach out to a member of Safety before attempting.
  4. Cover the Fifth Wheel: An experienced driver once told me of an easy way to keep snow and ice out of your locking jaws while your tractor is parked bobtail during a storm. Simply place a piece of plywood or a rubber paper roll mat over the top of your fifth wheel. When you return to the tractor after the snowfall, it’s a breeze to clear off. If you don’t clear the snow from your fifth wheel after a storm, all of that snow and ice can get jammed up into your fifth wheel throat and locking mechanism. Your tractor might look kind of funny with a board over the plate, but it helps keep things running smoothly.
  5. Address Problems Immediately: If you experience a fifth wheel that doesn’t want to lock onto the kingpin or seems to be running sluggish, send a breakdown message and address the problem. Your fifth wheel may need a deep cleaning and inspection. Don’t just continue to ram it and risk a disconnect.
  6. Grease Your Fifth Wheel Plate: If your fifth wheel plate looks dry, get a light coat of grease on it. A dry fifth wheel plate can result in poor steering control.
  7. Inspect Regularly: Always visually inspect and give it a good TUG to ensure your locking jaws are giving the kingpin a tight HUG.

By following these tips, you can help ensure your fifth wheel locking jaw system operates smoothly and reliably all year round.


Having trouble getting your fifth wheel to release? Watch our YouTube video Why Won’t My Fifth Wheel Release?!


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