How do you grease a Reese 5th wheel hitch?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: How do you grease a Reese 5th wheel hitch? We will explain how to properly maintain and use a Reese 5th wheel hitch. 

How do you grease a Reese 5th wheel hitch?

Here’s how you grease a Reese 5th wheel hitch step-by-step:

  1.  Clean your fifth wheel, preferably using a pressure washer on the parts. This is particularly useful for the top of the trailer. 
  1. Check that the fifth wheel hitch locks properly. Some operators prefer to remove any old dry and caked grease from the mechanism with a putty knife before adding more.
  1.  Look over the fifth wheel for any signs of grease going into the wrong places.
  1. Engage the locking mechanism with a test pin to see that it is still in good working condition. Brackets and pins must fit exactly, with no signs of damage or excessive wear.
  1. Grease the locking mechanism with oil. Fill areas above the pins as needed.
  1. Allow the grease applied to the top plate to spread across the surface when the trailer is in operation.

Some safety tips when greasing a Reese 5th wheel hitch:

  • Look for fifth-wheel grease that protects in all weather and operating conditions.
  • Protect your fifth wheel mechanism from clogging with metal particles that build-up due to surfaces rubbing against each other.
  • The test pin will be exactly two inches, and that will fit in the precision area with no excess space.
  • Lift up portions of the fifth wheel that fit snugly in order to allow the grease to completely cover all areas that need lubrication.
  • When checking the locking mechanism, make sure the release handle is in the correct place.

Why you should periodically grease your Reese 5th wheel hitch

It is recommended to periodically grease the hitch of your 5th wheel trailer to avoid premature wear, as well as that of the trailer hitch head (with exceptions, such as when you have an anti-skid system and when using a bracket to hitch bicycles). If the hitch is not used regularly, the grease can prevent the ball from rusting.

AMSOIL Synthetic Fifth-Wheel Hitch Grease is a heavy-duty lubricant designed to provide exceptional protection and performance under the harsh, high load conditions common to fifth-wheel hitches used in trucking and towing applications. Here are some of its benefits:

  • Fifth-wheel hitches should be lubricated to minimize wear between hitch plate and trailer, facilitate pivoting (which improves fuel economy and reduces abnormal wear on steering components and tires) and reduce jack-knife. 
  • Provides exceptional protection against wear and corrosion
  • Has a long service life
  • Stays in place and is water-resistant
  • Withstands high loads and pressures
  • Comes in a convenient tube with a reusable cap that allows for a cleaner application
  • Offers effective protection in all seasons. 

To apply a 5th wheel hitch grease is recommended for use in a fifth wheel and ball hitches on-highway trucks, recreational vehicles, campers, tent trailers and other types of trailers. It is also recommended for the lubrication of open gears of all kinds. The above-mentioned hitch grease is compatible with many other greases. However, it is recommended that the equipment be cleaned of its old grease before applying the new lubricant. 

How to maintain your Reese 5th wheel hitch

Fifth wheel trailer hitch maintenance is essential to safely towing all types of trailers. The trailer hitch is the mechanical system that is robustly and securely attached to the chassis of the vehicle. Caravans, motorcycle or boat trailers, etc., can easily be attached to it and transported.

The trailer hitch ends in a sturdy metal arm to which a standard 50mm diameter metal ball is attached. The trailer hitch can be attached to it and locked using a special latch. There are fixed tow bars and removable or folding models that can be removed when not in use.

Next to the trailer hitch is an electrical connection that connects the brake lights, parking lights, etc. with the car’s electrical system. If the trailer is not connected, it is important to place the cap over the connector contacts. Bad weather and materials that come off the car while driving can affect the performance of these components. 

However, regular Reese hitch maintenance can avoid these problems and maintain trailer and hitch functionality:

Step 1: Clean the 5th wheel trailer coupling. 

It is important to keep the ball attached to the trailer hitch clean and protect it with a suitable cover. A soft plastic ball, for example, is suitable for this purpose, as it keeps dirt and moisture away from the hitch ball. Road dirt can be removed by washing and drying thoroughly, but greasy residues are somewhat more resistant.

When servicing the trailer hitch, cleaning is an important step and the proper product must be used. For example, WD-40® Multi-Purpose Product can be used to remove dirt such as grease, oil and grime quickly leaving the surface protected against rust and wear.

If small rust spots already appear on the ball, these can be removed with fine-grit sandpaper. It is important to proceed carefully so as not to change the shape of the ball. It is also important to pay attention to the diameter of the ball during this step.

Step 2: Check the 5th wheel trailer coupling system. 

It is recommended to begin trailer hitch maintenance with a careful check of hitch bolt tightness. The first service should be done after about 600 miles. Thereafter, it is advisable to check it after each use of the trailer.

Using a gauge, check that the diameter of the ball is not less than 49 mm. However, if this is the case, the ball tube must be replaced. However, it is not a simple procedure and should always be performed by a specialist.

Step 3: Grease the 5th wheel trailer hitch without the stabilization system.

In the maintenance of the Reese trailer hitch, two steps must be distinguished:

  1. Using a 5th wheel trailer without a stabilization system
  2. Using a 5th wheel trailer with the stabilization system.

In the first case, after a thorough cleaning, as indicated in the previous step, it is advisable to apply a thin film of lubricant. This film reduces the friction between the ball and the coupling and protects them. WD-40 Specialist Dry Lubricant with PTFE is suitable for this step, as it provides optimal lubrication and protection. In addition to protection against friction, it also offers long-lasting protection against water thanks to its water-repellent function.

Step 4: Grease the 5th wheel trailer hitch with the stabilization system

When servicing a trailer hitch with stabilization system, it is essential not to lubricate the ball. The stabilization system has special sleeves that act on the trailer ball.

The lubricant application will mix with the material released by the splints and form a paste. This, in turn, seriously impairs the function of the splints. If the new ball is covered in paint, it must be removed by rubbing it carefully with sandpaper. Otherwise, this could also impair the function of the ferrules.

Step 5: Clean electrical contacts

The last step is to check the operation of the electrical contacts. It is essential to keep the connections clean to ensure proper current flow when hitching the trailer.

This applies to both the connection next to the trailer hitch and that of the trailer. A little WD-40® Specialist Contact Cleaner is suitable for cleaning the contacts. Removes oil, grease deposits, condensation, and other contaminants on electrical or electronic contacts. The product penetrates quickly into hard-to-reach areas, dries quickly and leaves no residue.

For optimal maintenance of the trailer hitch, it is also advisable to regularly check the electrical wiring. In this way, accidental damage or breakage can be detected as early as possible or even avoided. If the first defects in the connections and cables are detected, these problems should be rectified by a specialist.

Note: To ensure that the 5th wheel trailer works properly for as long as possible, it is important to perform regular maintenance on the trailer coupling. In this way, we will comply with all security measures and enjoy a worry-free trip. WD-40 products are a great ally that can help you in the maintenance of your 5th wheel trailer. 

Final thoughts

If you have a problem with the truck’s fifth wheel connection not hitching it could be due to it being out of alignment. Proper maintenance of your truck enables safe operation. Taking care of your equipment should be provided by greasing your fifth wheel on a regular schedule. Most truck operators have the weekly fifth wheel greased if the truck receives a lot of mileage. It is best to have someone help you with this task to reduce the difficulty.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content.

FAQ on How do you grease a Reese 5th wheel hitch?

 Should I grease the fifth wheel hitch ball?

Yes, you should grease the fifth wheel hitch ball as it prevents premature wear of the ball joint or hitch head. Apply grease directly to the bottom of your kneecap.

How does the fifth wheel hitch work?

A fifth wheel hitch l works by locking a kingpin in the lockjaw. The kingpin is similar to a hitch coupler and is attached to the semi-trailer, while the locking jaw acts as the receiver for the hitch.

Can a fifth wheel hitch be removed?

Yes, a girth wheel hitch can be removed.  A fifth wheel, or gooseneck, hitch sits in the middle of the sturdy truck bed, where it can support more weight in that area. This also makes it easier to turn around tight corners. 

How do I reduce the weight on my 5th wheel hitch?

To reduce the weight on your 5th wheel hitch, simply move all your luggage in the back of the trailer. If you want to increase the weight on your 5th wheel hitch, just do the contrary – move the things to the front of the trailer. 


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!