The RV fifth-wheel trailer comes under the category of towable recreational vehicles. It is one of the most luxurious trailers that contains all the necessities required by an individual. With multiple slide outs, it offers extra space.
As the size and weight of the fifth wheel trailer are relatively bigger than the other trailer types, a lot of care and precaution needs to be taken while towing it. You need to have the right set of tools to tow the trailer with your pickup truck.
While driving along with the trailer on the road, extra precautions need to be taken. These precautions include keeping a check on the trailer while turning, staying within the proper speed limit, prevent from going into stiff or remote places and many more. All these factors need to be checked while towing an RV fifth-wheel trailer.
This article will give you an insight into some of the crucial trailer towing tips that will prevent you from getting into accidents while towing it.
Tips for Towing Fifth Wheel Trailer
In this section, we will explore some of the most important trailer towing tips and strategies in detail. The section will also discuss the various problems that you might face while towing, hitching and unhitching the trailer. We will also take a look into the solutions to those problems and what can be done to prevent mishaps.
If you are a beginner in this, there is no need to worry because after carefully studying this article you will be able to tow an RV fifth-wheel trailer with ease. Let’s start!!!
1. Practice makes the man perfect
This is the best tip to implement which is practice, practice, and practice. Why we are laying stress on this is because no matter how professional you are at driving other vehicles. Driving a pickup truck with a trailer attached to it at the back will not be the same. You need to have a proper practice of everything related to that.
For example, when not going on a trip take the trailer for a spin. Try turning it around tight corners and practice stopping it within minimum distance. Stopping a trailer takes more distance. Try driving it with varying weights to know how much can the trailer handle while keeping it running throughout the journey. Use tools to hitch and unhitch the trailer frequently to get hands-on them. Practicing these steps would make you a professional at it in no time. This will also prevent you from getting into any kind of accident.
2. You need to consider the weight of the trailer
The weight of the trailer is another crucial factor that needs utmost attention while towing. You need to be very careful while towing a trailer along as a sudden jerk in the movement of the vehicle may lead to a lot of problems on the road. You may end up trying to bring the vehicle in the normal motion for a long time. It is also a possibility that you may enter the construction area on the road while trying to prevent an accident with other vehicles on the road. Worst case scenario, due to sudden jerk while shifting lanes, you may end up turning over the trailer along with your vehicle. Please be extra careful while applying the brakes as the weight of the trailer may lead to taking more distance for stopping the vehicle. Hence, maintain sufficient distance in front in order to prevent collisions with the vehicles.
3. Drive carefully without any distractions
As you have the idea that managing an RV fifth-wheel trailer towed to your pickup truck is a tough deal. You should also be aware that driving a heavyweight and a large-sized vehicle will require hardcore focus.
Now, the best way to focus on the road, truck, and trailer is to get rid of all the distractions. You need to have a clear mind while driving with a trailer behind you on the road. The best way to do that is by keeping yourself away from listening to music, chatting on the phone, thinking about something irrelevant, etc. In a nutshell, stay away from random noise elements that can distract you from paying attention to the road. Driving carefully without distractions will make your ride relatively easy and smooth.
4. Mirrors are not to patronize yourself, use them to look around
Most of the accidents on the road occur due to improper or unplanned turning. Another reason for the same is the sudden switching of lanes. Unfortunately, this may lead to catastrophic mis happening on the road sometimes. To prevent this kind of mishap, always use the mirrors attached to your vehicle. In case of a trailer truck combination, you need to get bigger mirrors. These mirrors provide you a clear view of what is happening behind like if any vehicle is approaching or overtaking, the trailer is moving in coordination to the truck, etc. Having mirrors on the truck will help you while turning and switching lanes if required.
For more clarity and convenience, try attaching blind spot fish eye type mirrors. These mirrors show the area which is not covered by the primary mirrors. They often come in use when you are trying to reverse the trailer and show the vehicle who sneak up beside you.
5. Take care of those corners
As stated, before that the fifth wheel trailer has a long length, it becomes pretty clear that it would need attention while turning around sharp corners. Turning an RV fifth-wheel trailer is not as easy as other small vehicles. You need to be extra alert and very precise with the turn radius and width of the road. The use of mirrors is mandatory in this case because you need to keep an eye on the trailer whether it is clearing the corner comfortably or not. Now while turning, plan according to the length of your trailer how much area would it need. The area required by the trailer would be more than that required by the pickup truck. Consider everything stated above before you turn the trailer and yes practice is the ultimate key.
6. Driving in Overdrive
Overdrive is a driving option provided in many trucks. In this, the engine’s output is reduced to save gas and it can also help in preventing wear and tear of the vehicle’s engine. Although, the overdrive option is not perfectly suitable for the RV fifth-wheel trailer because of more weight. But in case, you are driving on a smooth and flat lane with good weather conditions, it can be tried. In such conditions, it will not cause any problems. But if in case, the route is through the hilly areas or similar terrains where the slope is steep, you should not opt for overdrive. It may affect the engine’s performance by wearing out the transmission.
7. Maintenance and Checkups
It doesn’t matter if you are going on a trip or not and if you have checked your truck and trailer most recently. Whenever you are planning to head out on a trip with your RV fifth-wheel trailer, always check both the trailer and the truck for maintenance. If you have an old truck, take it to the local mechanic for an overall checkup like brake oil, engine oil level, fuel level, and tires. You also need to check and maintain the trailer for any damage. For this, you need to take the trailer out for a spin. Check if the tires work well with the route, keep a check on the alignment of the trailer. Check if everything related to the hitch is functional like a kingpin, bolts, lug nuts, etc. After performing a comprehensive check on both the truck and trailer take the vehicle for your trip.
8. Consider the Weather too
Before heading out with your RV fifth-wheel trailer, it is crucial for you to examine the weather conditions. Bad weather will get you in trouble while you are pulling a heavyweight trailer behind. Some of the bad weather conditions that need special attention are rain, fog, and wind. Check the weather for rain, try not to start the journey is it’s raining. If by any means, you get stuck in the rain, maintain the maximum distance between the vehicle ahead of you. Rain reduces tire friction which increases both distance and time required to stop the vehicle. Foggy weather generates a vision problem, you are not able to see properly in the fog. If in case, fog is dense, stay for some time till the fog clears or you may end up having accidents. The wind is the factor that can lead to overturning of your vehicle in case you are traveling through high-speed winds (40 – 60 miles/hour). You need to be careful as the height, weight and hitch mechanism influence the behavior of your trailer in the wind.
9. Route planning
Whenever you are planning to go on a leisure trip with your family along with your RV fifth-wheel trailer. You should make a proper route plan for the entire journey. This should include studying the whole route properly such that there are no tough corners, low clearance bridges, low weight bridges, etc. This will help you in deciding which route will suit you best and what will be your detour options in case you get into a bad situation. This is necessary as you will be having a heavyweight trailer behind you which is not that easy to manage.
10. Understand Hitching
Hitching is the process of attaching the hitch to the bed of the truck. The hitch is responsible for holding the trailer together with the truck. Use the appropriate hitch with your truck so that it does not cause any problem in the way. Properly screw the bolts of the hitch to the truck and also place it in a balanced position in the truck. The next section will elaborate on this well.
Hitching and Unhitching the RV fifth-wheel trailer
This section will deal with the discussion of Hitching and unhitching the RV fifth-wheel trailer. A hitch is a metallic structure fitted in the bed of a pickup truck used to attach the trailer with the truck. A fifth wheel hitch is more spacious is size, provides stability to the trailer and is also expensive as compared to traditional bumper hitch. It is also a bit difficult to hook and unhook a fifth-wheel trailer hitch.
Now, how to install a hitch? Let’s go through the following points to know:
1. Install the foundation
The foundation for installing the hitch is the rails. The rails act as the base for the hitch and are attached and secured to the truck bed. This needs to be done with great precision as your trailer will be attached to this thing.
2. Placing the Hitch
After properly securing the rails, place the Hitch over the rails and secure it with the help of tightened bolts. The placement of the hitch should be just over the axle or in front of the rear axle.
3. Hook up the wiring
Now, its time to link the wiring to the truck. For this, a hole is drilled in the truck bed to let the wiring harness to pass through. Post this, the wiring is connected to the truck’s factory connector. Install a brake controller if you don’t have one in place and you are done.
Though it is a bit tough but the frequent practice of his process will make you perfect in this.
As we have clearly studied all the crucial points regarding the towing of an RV fifth-wheel trailer. It would be pretty easy for you now to analyze every aspect whenever you will deal with it. Keep a close eye on every aspect explained above and then only undertake any action related to the towing of an RV fifth-wheel trailer. Though all these points look very easy to implement but you may require a lot of practice and experience to be proficient in all of them. I hope this article guides you in the best way possible and answers all the questions that you might be having in your mind in the beginning.
Additionally, if you want to buy any additional trailer part or accessory related to your RV. Get in touch with TOW-MAX. They are one of the greatest platforms in this domain and will serve you in a better way than others.