How Fifth Wheel Safety Systems Work

Most fifth wheel safety systems are adjustable, so it should be easy to find one that will fit over your setup. See more truck pictures.
Steve Shepard/istockphoto

A fifth wheel setup is a great way to go RVing or tow heavy trailers. Fifth wheels can haul heavier loads than traditional hitch setups, and because the trailer can pivot, turning is a lot easier too. Instead of being hitched to the back of the tow vehicle, fifth wheel setups are attached with a coupling pin on the front of the trailer and fifth wheel at the rear of the towing vehicle. The fifth wheel is shaped like a horseshoe, and gets its name from the fact that it turns like a wheel (that's what makes fifth wheel setups more maneuverable than a simple towing trailer). But just like with other towing setups, fifth wheels have unique safety concerns.

The most common safety issue with fifth wheels is dropping the trailer. Often, after hooking the trailer to the truck, people will forget to latch the coupling pin. When the truck starts to move, the trailer comes free of the fifth wheel and falls into the bed of the truck, causing major damage to both it and the trailer. The trailer could also fall into the road.

Fifth wheel safety systems combat this problem by providing foolproof protection. Most are simple devices that prevent the coupling pin (or "king pin") from slipping out. These towing accessories are key pieces of equipment that can greatly enhance towing safety. Keep reading to find out how to install and use fifth wheel safety systems.