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How Level Does a Fifth Wheel Need to Be When Towing?

how level does a fifth wheel need to be when towing

There are so many benefits to driving with a level trailer. The trailer is less likely to sway and when it’s level you won’t have to worry about early wear out on your tires. Part of this is because a level trailer improves your braking performance.

Next time you attach a travel trailer to your vehicle, make sure you get it as level as possible. Ideally your trailer should be perfectly level, or at least within an inch of level.

Anytime you travel with a trailer attached to your vehicle it’s important to make sure it is level. While setting the trailer up to your vehicle may seem like an easy task, there are some safety factors that should be considered before taking it on the road. A level trailer should improve the trailer’s stability for a safer ride.

How Level Should a Fifth Wheel Trailer Be When Towing?

It should be as level as you can get it, or within 1 inch of level. It is very important for safety reasons, to make sure the trailer is adjusted. Traveling with an unlevel travel trailer is dangerous both for you and the other people on the road around you. Not only is it a huge safety concern, but it also causes more wear and tear and damages to your vehicle, which leads to costly repairs.

However, it’s not always possible to achieve that. If you are unable to to have a perfectly level trailer, your next best move is to make sure the trailer’s nose is down slightly and the tongue side is higher. It is much safer to drive with more weight at the front of the trailer to lower it and keep things level.

Why You Should Always Make Sure the Fifth Wheel Trailer Is Level

There are many reasons why you need to make sure your trailer is level before going on the road. Safety should always be your top concern when taking a fifth wheel on the road, but there are other reasons why it needs to be level. 

Improved Towing

When you’re driving with a few thousand pounds of metal attached to the back of your vehicle, your entire ride will be affected by how level the trailer is. If the fifth wheel isn’t level when towing then it’s likely to take control over your vehicle when you’re going down the road.

Sway Prevention

If you’re driving with a travel trailer attached to your vehicle and it starts to sway back and forth, then you’ll have no control over your vehicle. Stability is very important when you’re driving with a fifth wheel. Sway prevention is crucial because your trailer does have the ability to take your vehicle off the road.  

Optimal Aerodynamics 

When fifth wheel trailers are designed, they are made to be level. Weight distribution plays a big part in how level they could be. Your trailer will always be more dynamic when it’s level. When a trailer’s aerodynamic, it has much better gas mileage. An unlevel trailer is likely to slow the vehicle down, burning up more gas.

Improved Ground Clearance

There’s always going to be bumps and potholes on the road ahead of you. You can’t guarantee a smooth terrain everywhere you go. A properly leveled fifth wheel trailer will give your vehicle a much better ground clearance. When the trailer doesn’t have good ground clearance, it’s more likely to cause damage to your vehicle’s bumper. 

Prevent Tire Wear and Tear

If there isn’t an equal weight distribution on your travel trailer, then it’s likely to put more weight on one axle. This could lead to wear on tear on your tires much quicker. Too much weight on an uneven trailer could also lead to a tire blowout while you’re on the road. Nobody needs that when they’re traveling.

We recommend a high quality, high tow capacity 5th wheel hitch like this one. It offers a 20,000 lb GTW/5,000 lb VTW, front to back and side to side pivoting, a cam action latching handle, and comes with a limited lifetime coverage.

How Do You Level a 5th Wheel Trailer for Towing?

To level your fifth wheel trailer for towing you should raise the pin box of the trailer and lower the head of the trailer hitch. It’s a good idea to make sure there is at least 4 to 6 inches from the trailer’s overhang to the bed rails. 

Another thing you can do if you need to lift the trailer is moving the axles to below the leaf springs. This is a great alternative if the pin box or hitch adjustments aren’t possible. 

How High Should My Fifth Wheel Hitch Be?

Since every vehicle is a different size, you’ll need to make sure you get the hitch at the right height each time. Ideally your trailer hitch should be set to a height that will allow the fifth wheel trailer to be level.  As mentioned above, there should be around 4 to 6 inches of space between the trailer’s bottom and the top of the bed rails. 

Luckily most hitches allow enough room for adjustment to make this possible.

How to Tell If Your Fifth Wheel Trailer Is Level

Before hitting the road, you should do an inspection to make sure the trailer is actually level. To do this, make sure you are parked on level ground. This will give you a more accurate estimate of how level it is. While you should be able to guess this by eyeballing the location, you can use a level if you’re very particular about it.

Always make sure your trailer is fully loaded with all the weight you plan on taking on the road. Now you will be able to use either a level or a measuring tape to see if your travel trailer is level enough to be safe for the road.

When using a level, place it on the tongue of the fifth wheel trailer. Ideally the bubble on the level should be between in the middle of the two lines. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be within 2 degrees. If the bubble is touching the lines, it is still level enough to be on the road.

If you choose to use a tape measure to see if your trailer is level, you will need to measure the space between the bottom of the trailer and the ground. Do this at both the front and back ends of the trailer. While it may not be perfectly level, as long as the front and back are within an inch of each other your trailer should be level. 

However, with smaller sized trailers it may have to be a little bit less than an inch.

Final Thoughts

When you’re getting a fifth wheel trailer ready for towing, it should be as level as possible. While you may not be able to get a perfectly level trailer, it should at least be within one inch of being level in order to be safe enough for the road.

Remember an unlevel trailer is a hazard for you and everyone else on the road. Many accidents have been caused due to trailers that weren’t level taking control over the vehicle. In order to get to your destination safely, always make sure the fifth wheel trailer level for a stable ride.

Not only does a level trailer drive better, but it also causes less wear and tear on the vehicle. 

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