Safety First: Fifth Wheel Securement

Safety First is one of our Core values. Every decision we make - big or small - is based on our commitment to safety. That’s why we’ll be brining you regular blog stories on topics that will help you continue to be a safe owner-operator.   

Let’s talk about fifth wheel securement, everyone’s favorite topic! As many of you already know, proper lubrication and routine maintenance of the fifth wheel is important to maintain safe operation of your truck. Now that is warming up after an extremely messy winterremember to clean out any debris and grease build-up.  

According to Volvo Trucks, locking mechanisms should be lubricated every 30,000 miles and cleaned every six months or 60,000 miles. Be sure to grease all contact surfaces using a water-resistant lithium grease. Pay careful attention to the yoke tips, cam profile, yoke shaft, secondary lock, release handle, kingpin and jaws.  

Additionally, inspect the bracket liners and replace any worn or damaged ones. These should be replaced every 300,000 miles for standard operation and every 180,000 miles for heavy usage.  

Important next steps:  

  • Visually inspect the locking jaws to ensure they are engaged and locked around the pin. 
  • Confirm there is no daylight or separation between chassis deck plate and fifth wheel. 

According to the CVSA, “ On the lower fifth wheel, check for unsecured mounting to the frame or any missing or damaged parts, or any visible space between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates. Verify that the locking jaws are around the shank and not the head of the kingpin and that the release lever is seated properly, and the safety latch is engaged. Check the upper fifth wheel for any damage to the weight bearing plate (and its supports), such as cracks, loose or missing bolts on the trailer. On the sliding fifth wheel, check for proper engagement of locking mechanism (teeth fully engaged on rail); also check for worn or missing parts. Ensure the position does not allow the tractor frame rails to contact the landing gear during turns.” 

We hope this article serves as a good reminder to check that fifth wheel! Stay safe out there and thanks for driving with us.