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How do I Choose the Correct Trailer Jockey Wheel?

INTRODUCTION

One of the most common replacement parts we get asked for at Trident Towing Kent are complete jockey wheels, as well as the replacement jockey wheels on their own.

The jockey wheel is one of the most vital pieces of trailer equipment and allows the caravan or trailer to be easily moved from place to place whilst unhitched from the tow vehicle. It also keeps the A-Frame / drawbar off the ground, and is vital to help with hitching and un-hitching from the vehicle tow bar – especially if the trailer is loaded.

We at Trident Towing Kent stock a wide variety of complete jockey wheels and jockey wheel spares to either collect from our depot in Maidstone, Kent or to send to you directly via our website.

As such, please have a look at our guide below to help you choose one suitable for you.

 

TRAILER JOCKEY WHEEL SELECTION

There are three criteria for selecting the correct jockey wheel for your caravan or trailer:

  • The jockey wheel type;
  • Jockey wheel dimensions (width and length);
  • The jockey wheel replacement wheel.

 

JOCKEY WHEEL TYPE

The two main versions of complete jockey wheel are with a smooth or a serrated outer sleeve. There are also some alternative jockey wheel versions which are also outlined below.

Smooth Outer Sleeve:

This is the most common type, and the standard for many jockey wheels from light to commercial duty. These can fit most pressed steel and cast iron jockey wheel clamps and are therefore the most likely candidate for replacement.

The disadvantage of the smooth-sleeved type is that if not secured enough, they are prone to sliding through the jockey wheel clamp to hit the road during the trailer journey.

Serrated Outer Sleeve:

This is where the outer sleeve has a “ribbing” shape. These are found on heavy-duty commercial jockey wheels with a 48mm or above outer sleeve width, and require a specific jockey wheel clamp which matches the ribbing shape.

The reason for the serrated shape is to help prevent the jockey wheel sliding down to the road during transport. The serrated shape, when matched with the correct clamp has more anti-vibration qualities and is less prone to sliding than the equivalent smooth-sleeved version.

If you are planning to change from a smooth-bodied jockey wheel to a serrated one, please note that you will need to change the clamp for a serrated version as well.

Retractable Jockey Wheel:

Retractable jockey wheels do away with the clamp altogether with the body being bolted directly to the side of the trailer A-Frame. When winding the outer wheel up, an “auto-fold” mechanism flips the wheel up next to the trailer without needing to pull the whole assembly through the clamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This eliminates the chance altogether of the jockey wheel falling to the road as the body is bolted to the trailer and there is no clamp to slide through.

Please note that if your trailer does not have provision for a retractable jockey wheel you may need to do considerable modification to the trailer A-Frame for fitment.

Nose-weight Jockey Wheel:

These have a gauge built into them to determine the nose-weight load going onto the towball.

These jockey wheels are mainly used on caravans as an excellent aid to distributing the load when preparing for a trip – however these can also be used on commercial trailers too.

 

JOCKEY WHEEL DIMENSIONS

Jockey Wheel Sleeve Width

This is the most important measurement to take from your old jockey wheel, and is simply the overall diameter of the jockey wheel outer sleeve as per our picture below:

The main sizes of jockey wheel outer sleeves are:

  • 34mm: The smallest size, these are used on the lightest-weight small camping trailers.
  • 42mm: These are used on larger camping trailers and some light un-braked boat trailers.
  • 48mm: Used on the majority of commercial trailers, the 48mm sleeve is possibly the most common jockey wheel width.
  • 60 / 63mm: A rarer size and is used only on the heaviest duty trailers, these are capable of up to a huge 750kg nose-weight capacity.

The width of the jockey wheel is important not only for the appropriate strength for your trailer, but also as to whether it will fit into your existing jockey wheel clamp. On braked trailers, the clamp in many cases is part of the moulding for the complete coupling and cannot be changed, making this measurement even more vital.

Jockey Wheel Length

If you are replacing your jockey wheel like-for-like, just measure the overall length of your old one (from the top of the jockey wheel handle to bottom of the wheel itself) as per the diagram below:

This shows the minimum and maximum lengths – the minimum being when the jockey wheel is fully wound up and the maximum being when it is fully wound down and fully extended.

If you are looking to change to a different length jockey wheel, there are some factors to bear in mind:

Boat Trailers: A boat hull would extend over the A-Frame – a longer length jockey wheel could foul on this.

Caravan Bodywork: Many caravans have opening compartments in the front bodywork – a jockey wheel with too much length can prevent these opening.

Single Axle vs. Twin / Triple Axle Trailers: A longer jockey wheel length is needed for trailers with multiple axles. This will provide an increased maximum length when wound down to lift the front axle off the ground for easier trailer manoeuvring. On single axle trailers a shorter jockey wheel will suffice as you just need to keep the trailer level to move it around easily.

 

JOCKEY WHEEL REPLACEMENT WHEEL

There are many different replacement wheel sizes and types – just let us know the dimensions of your current wheel as per the diagram below and we at Trident Towing will find a suitable replacement wheel for you straight away.

If you are planning to change to a different jockey wheel replacement wheel, the following would need to be bourne in mind:

Solid vs. Pneumatic Tyres: These are suitable for different types of terrain. The solid tyres are better on solid ground such as tarmac and tightly-packed surfaces, where the pneumatic tyres are good on shingle, beach sand, muddy fields and loose ground.

Please note that the pneumatic tyres are often larger than the solid ones, and can foul on the jockey wheel body if you are fitting it into a jockey wheel originally designed for a solid wheel.

Pneumatic tyres must also be routinely checked for air pressure – if too low and if moving the trailer on solid ground, the tyre can pinch and blow out.  

Steel vs Plastic Wheel Centres: The plastic-centred wheels are a cheaper option and these are better suited for light camping trailers, light un-braked boat trailers and small caravans.

If you need to use your trailer for any heavier-duty or commercial use, we would highly recommend going for a wheel with the stronger, heavier-duty steel centre.

 

 

We hope this will be of help to you when sourcing a replacement trailer jockey wheel from us at Trident Towing.

If you have any further enquiries about jockey wheels, about any other tow bar or trailer queries or about our blogs, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be pleased to be of help to you.

 

Many thanks to you for choosing Trident Towing Kent.

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