Fifth Wheel Safety and Maintenance
If you’re a truck driver or a heavy equipment operator – or even if you’re just someone who loves to camp! – then chances are good that you’re familiar with fifth-wheel configurations. These setups, in which a trailer is hooked into the tractor or semi by a “kingpin” held in place in the centre of a disc or other mechanism, are very common and can be seen all over the roads you travel.
There are many different kinds of fifth-wheel connectors. Aside from the common vertical pin type that you’ll likely see on semis and tractor-trailers, there are also pintle hitches, which use a hook and a ring to allow greater flexibility on rough terrain; gooseneck hitches, which are used in pickup truck beds to pull campers and horse trailers; ball hitches, which usually attach to the back end of a truck for a variety of towing needs, and low-mount car-haulers – kind of like miniature flatbeds. With so much variation in style and capability, it’s easy for some telltale signs of danger or incorrect weight distribution to go unnoticed. And that means bad news!