This Simple Test Can Save You a Lot of Headaches
Fifth-wheel trailers are a popular choice for RVers because they offer powerful, stable towing that’s also easier to control. But just like with any trailer, if your RV isn’t properly connected, you risk major damage to your vehicle, your RV, and potentially to others around you.
To prevent these problems, you can do a simple “fifth wheel tug test.” Let’s take a closer look at the fifth wheel tug test, why you’d want to do it, and how it works.
What Exactly Is a “Fifth Wheel Pull Test,” And Why Should You Do One?
If the connection between your truck’s pin box and your trailer’s kingpin isn’t secure, it can cause major damage to your truck. When you go to drive away, the insecure connection will result in your fifth wheel being left behind. The result? Your RV will fall onto your truck bed, doing major damage in the process.
The fifth wheel tug test is a simple test to ensure you have a secure connection between your truck and your trailer. In essence, all a tug test requires is for you to connect your truck and trailer and “tug” it forward to ensure it stays connected. This test is essential for anyone pulling a fifth wheel, and if you skip it, you’re risking heavy damage to your vehicle.
The below video shows what can happen when one fails to do a fifth-wheel tug test.
You may be happy to know that the couple in the video have used their many years of experiences (some learned the hard way) since the above video to help new RVers hit the road in the RV LIFE Masterclass titled, A Beginner’s Guide To RVing. The Course is Also Part of the RV LIFE Pro Member Bundle which RV LIFE Pro members have access for FREE. Check out all the RV LIFE Masterclass courses here.
How Do You Do A Fifth Wheel Tug Test?
A fifth wheel tug test is simple and requires only a few steps. Before starting the test, ensure your RV still has the wheels chocked. If not, put your RV wheel chocks down.
- The first order of business is to line everything up properly. Ensure the kingpin lines up correctly to slide into the pin box.
- Reverse your truck to engage the fifth wheel hitch and connect your RV. As you do so, your RV will raise slightly.
- Before continuing, do a visual inspection of the hitch to ensure the pin is properly in place.
- Then, you can make all other connections for the hitch, like connecting the wiring harness.
- Retract your landing gear until there’s about a half inch between your landing gear and blocks. Leaving this gap ensures that, should the test fail, your RV won’t have too far to go when it falls. This protects your RV from damage as well as reduces strain on the landing gear.
- TIP: It’s also commonly recommended to drop your tailgate until the test is finished. That way, the small distance the trailer drops won’t ding or damage the gate in the rare case the test fails.
- With everything in place, you’re ready to carry out the test. Get in your truck and put the truck in gear. Apply just enough gas to give the trailer a good tug.
If everything is properly connected, your truck won’t move forward, and your fifth wheel will stay connected. Congratulations, you’ve passed your pull test! Now, you can finish your RV hooking-up routine and hit the road!
Now You Know How To Do A Pull Test For Safety
That’s it! The fifth wheel tug test is super simple, but it’s also essential. With this simple test, you can always be sure you have a strong connection and avoid costly damage to your vehicle or RV.
Don’t forget to check out RV LIFE Masterclass for more beginner RV information and courses like: