How to Grease Your Fifth Wheel

How to Grease Your Fifth Wheel

April 1, 2024  |  Fifth Wheel, Maintenance, Semi-Trucks
How to Grease Your Fifth Wheel

As any trucker will tell you, keeping your truck in great condition is the best thing you can do to ensure it has a long lifespan. Taking care of parts and components makes the whole of your truck stronger and more resilient to wear and tear.  

One key aspect of truck maintenance is lubrication. Lubrication makes the many miles spent on the road easier on your truck by reducing the amount of friction each component experiences. One area that can be neglected when it comes to lubrication is the fifth wheel. 

Necessary for turns and pivots, the fifth wheel relies on lubrication for your safety on the road. In this post, we will discuss the fifth wheel on a truck, how to prepare for lubrication, and give you a step-by-step guide to help you lubricate your fifth wheel the right way. 

fifth wheel

What is the Fifth Wheel? 


The fifth wheel is a crucial pivot point located on the rear of a truck's chassis. It serves as the connection point between the tractor and the trailer, allowing for articulated movement and enabling the truck to make turns. This pivot point is essential for the overall maneuverability of the truck, as it allows the trailer to move independently from the tractor. 

What causes a semi-truck to fail on the road? Check out this blog to learn more! 

Lubrication of the fifth wheel is vital to ensure smooth and seamless movement. Without proper lubrication, the pivot point can become stiff and prone to wear and tear, leading to increased friction and potential damage to the components. Regular lubrication reduces friction, minimizes heat buildup, and prevents premature wear on the fifth wheel, ultimately prolonging its lifespan and maintaining optimal performance.  


Preparing for Greasing 


When preparing for greasing the fifth wheel of a trailer, it is important to follow a four-step process to ensure proper maintenance and lubrication. 

  1. First, start by cleaning the fifth wheel thoroughly. This involves removing any old grease and dirt from the surface to ensure a clean and smooth application of the new grease.

  2. Next, it is crucial to choose the right grease for the job. Use fresh grease, specifically designed for heavy-duty applications and compatible with the materials used in the fifth wheel. 

  3. Assemble your materials, including a grease gun, grease zerks, ball bearings, and, of course, high-quality grease. Some fifth wheels may need specific types of grease, white lithium grease for example, so it is important to understand the specific needs of your truck.

  4. After selecting the appropriate grease, look up or read through your manual to understand the particularities of your fifth wheel. Country of origin, part size, and age of your parts can all make a difference when it comes to greasing your fifth wheel. 

 You may want to look for additional resources online about your specific unit. Search for YouTube videos, online diagrams, or part instruction manuals before you jump in.  

The last thing you want is to start the greasing process only to discover that you are not sure how to perform a grease fitting, or worse, you can't put your 5th wheel back together.  

By following these steps, you can ensure that the fifth wheel is properly prepared and greased, which is essential for maintaining the longevity and performance of the trailer. 


Quick Considerations Before Greasing Fifth Wheel 


Common Greasing Mistakes 


When greasing your fifth wheel, there are a few common mistakes that are important to avoid. One of the most common mistakes is using the wrong type of grease. Make sure to use a high-quality, lithium-based grease designed for heavy-duty applications. Another mistake is not greasing the fifth wheel regularly. It's important to establish a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it to ensure the fifth wheel is properly lubricated.  

Over greasing can also be a problem, as it can cause excess grease to build up and attract dirt and debris, leading to premature wear and corrosion. 


Addressing Unusual Noises or Wear 


If you notice any unusual noises or wear on your fifth wheel, it's important to address these issues right away. Unusual noises could indicate a lack of lubrication or worn components, while wear could be a sign of over-greasing or using the wrong type of grease. Inspect the fifth wheel for any signs of wear or damage and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. 


Establishing a Regular Maintenance Schedule 


To ensure that your fifth wheel remains in good working condition, it's essential to establish a regular maintenance schedule. This should include regular greasing, inspections for wear or damage, and any necessary repairs or adjustments. By staying on top of maintenance, you can help prevent costly repairs and extend the life of your fifth wheel.

Step By Step Guide to Greasing Your Truck's Fifth Wheel 


Below are the typical steps you will take when lubricating a truck's fifth wheel. 

  1. Start by cleaning the top plate of the fifth wheel to remove any dirt, debris, or old grease. Use a wire brush or a scraper to ensure the surface is clean and smooth.

  2. Next, apply the appropriate grease to the top plate of the fifth wheel. Make sure to use a high-quality grease that is specifically designed for fifth wheel applications.

  3. Spread the grease evenly across the entire top plate, paying special attention to the areas where the kingpin makes contact.

  4. Inspect the fifth wheel hitch thoroughly for any signs of damage, wear and tear, loose or missing parts, and cracks. Look for any visible signs of wear on the top plate, as well as on the locking mechanism.

  5. Check the pivot pins and bushings for signs of wear, and make sure they are properly lubricated.

  6. Inspect the jaws of the fifth wheel for any wear or damage and ensure they are properly aligned and functioning correctly.

  7. Finally, perform a test hookup with a trailer to ensure that the fifth wheel is operating smoothly and securely. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your truck's fifth wheel is properly greased and inspected, allowing for safe and efficient towing operations. 

Looking for some additional heavy equipment maintenance tips? Check out this blog to learn more! 

working in workshop

Grease Your Fifth Wheel with Help from Beamers Piggyback 


Learning to grease a fifth wheel on a truck is a valuable skill for truck drivers to learn. However, there can be complications in the greasing process if you are inexperienced. Not only that but properly greasing a fifth wheel requires the use of equipment like a grease gun, which can be expensive. 

If you are looking to have your fifth wheel greased, or need other truck part maintenance or repair, then Beamers Piggyback is here for you. Our team of maintenance and repair professionals can help you ensure that your truck is in great condition and ready for whatever comes your way.  

Click here to reach out to Beamers Piggyback now! 

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