Trailer Jack Maintenance Tips
Trailer jacks can be challenging to operate. They must be cranked up slowly to avoid injury or damage. Then, they must be lowered carefully until the coupler latch is positioned correctly on the vehicle hitch.
Because these metal parts are exposed to moisture and the elements, they must be lubricated regularly. This article will teach you how to grease a trailer jack.
Clean It Up
Because they are exposed to outdoor elements, trailer jack can collect dirt, grime, road salt, and moisture over time. It can detract from the function of a jack and contribute to its deterioration or eventual breakdown.
Some jacks have the handle attached by a pin or bolt that you can remove, while others are welded to the trailer tongue or frame and require a cutting wheel or reciprocating saw. If the hardware or welds are rusted, soak them in penetrating oil overnight to help loosen them.
To remove a welded jack, raise the trailer tongue with a floor jack and support it on a jack stand to prevent the trailer from sinking into soft soil or gravel while you work. Remove the jack handle by turning it counterclockwise, and use a socket wrench or ratchet to undo the bolts that attach the interior screw assembly to the tubular body of the jack.
Replace the Top Cap
Trailer jacks are exposed to the outdoor elements and runaway road debris, which tends to collect in the top of the head or main tube. It’s essential to clean these components as soon as you notice them to prevent dirt from clogging or corroding internal gears.
Replacing the cap is a relatively straightforward process. A few bolts hold on most caps and can be removed by hand. If the cap is cracked or missing, rain can seep inside and wreak havoc on internal parts.
It’s a good idea to lower the jack foot entirely before replacing the cap so you can make sure it doesn’t accidentally rest on any component underneath it (like a wiring harness). It’s also a good time to double-check that your coupler latch is unlatched and disconnected from the tow ball.
Replace the Pull-Pin
The handle on a trailer jack is used to crank up or lower the trailer tongue. Some jacks use a crankset to wind up and down, while others work side to side. Some jacks have a quick-drop leg that drops to the ground before you crank the jack handle or press the button.
Regardless of your jack type, taking time and carefully completing this task is essential. Start by ensuring you’re parked on firm, level ground and the trailer wheels are chocked.
Next, remove the cotter pin holding the pull pin in place. Once it’s removed, you can replace the old pin with a new one. Before towing, it’s a good idea to test the new jack by raising and lowering it. Once you’re confident it’s functioning correctly, you can remove the jack stands and hitch your trailer to your towing vehicle.
Check the Hitch
The jack is exposed to the outdoors and travels with the trailer so that it will get dirty. A simple cleaning will keep it working properly and protect it from damage. Some jacks have a leg extension that drops to the ground before you lower it, which makes leveling your trailer much more accessible. While some people stack boards under their jacks, this can be dangerous because of sudden movement that could tip the trailer over.
Before cranking the jack handle, ensure the trailer coupler latch is unlocked and not hanging on the hitch ball. While at it, double-check that the safety chains and wiring harness aren’t getting pinched or caught between the trailer tongue and jack leg. Similarly, it would help if you greased the coupler and jack to help maintain a smooth connection. It would help if you also considered using wheel chocks to prevent the jack from moving as you operate it and lower the trailer.