Here’s Your Complete Guide to Fifth Wheel Coupling

Here’s Your Complete Guide to Fifth Wheel Coupling

There are several critical safety aspects to heavy vehicle combinations, one of which is couplings. Understanding fifth wheel couplings is vital to the safety and efficiency of any trucking fleet. We’ll dive into the world of fifth wheel coupling and what some of the best products on the market currently offer. 

What Is Fifth Wheel Coupling?

The technology of fifth-wheel coupling provides the connection between a semi-trailer and the towing truck, tractor unit, leading trailer, or dolly. A fifth wheel connects the two components, allowing them to articulate, move around, and steer comfortably.

Without a fifth wheel, it would be almost impossible for a semi-truck to make a turn. A fifth wheel evenly distributes weight between a semi-tractor and trailer so you can hit the road and navigate your equipment. 

What Does a Fifth Wheel Coupling System Consist Of?

As a whole, the fifth wheel coupling system consists of the fifth wheel and the kingpin.

  • Fifth wheel – This equipment is a flat, non-rotating horseshoe-shaped coupling device installed on the semi-truck tractor.
  • Kingpin – A metal component that protrudes from the trailer that’s frequently referred to as the “pivot point between the tractor and semi-trailer.” The kingpin on the trailer installs into the fifth wheel on the tractor. The semi-trailer’s surface, with the kingpin at the center, rotates against the upward-facing fifth wheel. 

Invest in High-Quality Coupling Systems With Advanced Technology

When you need to invest in high-quality coupling systems with top-of-the-line technology, look no further than JOST International. Our JSK37UBK Series wheel is revolutionary – it allows the driver to know when the fifth wheel is properly and safely coupled from inside the cab. The sensor technology in the wheel sends a signal to a display in the cab that lets the driver know when the wheel is properly coupled.


  • Throat Illumination (sold separately) – An LED Light shines into the throat to allow clear inspection of the coupled fifth wheel. 
  • Go Light – A green light indicates the fifth wheel is properly coupled, with both kingpin and handle in the locked position.
  • No-Go Light – A flashing red light with an audible alert indicates that the kingpin and/or handle are not properly coupled. 

Capacities & Ratings:

  • Maximum Vertical Rating: 55,000 lbs
  • Maximum Horizontal Rating: 150,000 lbs

How It Works:

  • The Loc-Light system enhances your JOST fifth wheel with the addition of our two-sensor monitoring system as well as a LED throat illumination. 
  • The dual-sensor system is connected to the Go/No-Go indicator light located next to the handle. A proper coupling with the handle and kingpin in the locked position will be lit up as green or “Go light”. If the system does not detect the handle and/or kingpin in the proper locked position, the light will flash red or “No-Go light” 
  • The throat illumination light option (sold separately) automatically turns on when the system is engaged. The light shines directly into the throat of the wheel to provide a better view of the lockbar for pre-trip inspections.

If you need to know how to couple and uncouple JOST fifth wheels, take a look at our instructional video.

Looking For More Coupling System Information?

If you’re looking for more information about JOST International’s coupling systems and top-notch technologies, contact us today. Our experienced team members would happily listen to your needs and share how we can help. We offer an expansive range of fifth wheels, kingpins, turntables, landing gear, coupling systems, and more. 

Follow This Fifth Wheel Inspection Checklist Before Hitting the Road

Follow This Fifth Wheel Inspection Checklist Before Hitting the Road

When you want to set yourself up for a safe, successful trip, performing a thorough fifth wheel inspection is key. It can be a little daunting but necessary for any semi-trailer driver. We’re here to help walk you through the complete fifth wheel inspection checklist. 

What Is a Fifth Wheel Inspection Checklist?

A fifth wheel inspection is a process of carefully examining your vehicle and its components and systems. This checklist usually takes about 15 minutes to complete and is required by the Federal government. 

Why Are Fifth Wheel Inspections Important?

If you’re a semi-trailer driver, you know that the job comes with a lot of responsibility, which isn’t as easy as it looks. Performing fifth wheel inspections before trips is essential for many reasons, including:

  • Safety – Driving a semi-trailer can be dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailer trucks suffer fatal accidents more than any other occupation. Making sure all your equipment is in proper working order can be the difference between a safe trip and getting into an accident.
  • Maintenance – Performing the checklist allows you to find minor issues before they become serious. This can save you money on maintenance by solving problems before your trucks get on the road.
  • Compliance – Pre-trip inspections keep you in compliance with the Department of Transportation regulations. In the case of an audit, the DOT may review your pre-trip inspection checklist to ensure they have been filled out correctly. 

What Does a Fifth Wheel Inspection Checklist Include?

You must thoroughly check each major system when performing your fifth wheel inspection. This process includes:

Engine Compartment

  • Check for leaks in the engine compartment.
  • Ensure every component is properly mounted and secured, including the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, front suspension system, and front brake system. 
  • Look for leaks in hoses.
  • Make sure all the tires, rims, and axles are in good shape and working correctly.

Fuel Tank And Battery Area

  • Inspect fuel tanks, caps, batteries, and exhaust systems and ensure they’re working properly.
  • Ensure mirrors, door hinges, and door handles are not damaged.
  • Look at the exhaust system, driveshaft, catwalk, frame, cross members, and gaskets for any malfunctions.
  • Check that the suspension system, brake linings, changers, slack adjusters, and pushrods are properly working.

Coupling System

  • Ensure that electrical lines and airlines are good to go.
  • The fifth wheel should be greased appropriately and have no gap between the fifth wheel and the trailer apron.
  • Make sure the skid plate of the fifth wheel and apron of the trailer are working properly.
  • Inspect the kingpin, mounting bolts, and locking pin. 


  • Check that landing gear, frames, cross members, mudflaps, and the rear door are ready for travel. 


  • Inspect turn signals, four-way flashers, brake lights, high beams, low beams, and brake lights.
  • Ensure that reflectors, reflective tape, and the color chamber are in good condition.

Fifth Wheel Inspection Checklist Resources

If you want more resources regarding fifth wheel inspection checklists, we’ve provided some below.

Check out our helpful JOST International instructional videos to make sure your fifth wheel, landing gear, and coupling systems are in proper working order. 

Take a look at this helpful Semi-Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist. In addition to ensuring your fifth wheel, landing gear, and major systems are in good working order, you should also inspect these elements of your semi-trailer before embarking on a trip. 

fifth wheel inspection checklist sheet

JOST International Is Here for All Your Semi-Trailer Needs

Once your pre-trip inspection is complete, you’re ready to hit the road! If you need any replacement parts for your semi-trailer, look to JOST International. We have a long history of developing efficient, safe, and innovative systems for trucks and trailers, including fifth wheels, landing gear, coupling technologies, kingpins, and more. 

What Is Semi-Trailer Landing Gear? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

What Is Semi-Trailer Landing Gear? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to the parts and equipment of a semi-trailer, the landing gear is extremely important. Do you know how it works? We’ll dive into semi-trailer landing gear and explain how they work, plus where you can purchase this high-quality equipment. 

Everything You Need To Know About Semi-Trailer Landing Gear

In today’s world, there are many landing gear products on the market to choose from. If you aren’t familiar with the benefits and options available to you, you’re in the right place. 

What’s the Job of Landing Gear on a Semi-Trailer?

Trailer landing gear is the retractable support equipment that keeps a trailer level when it’s uncoupled from the semi-tractor. It’s located at the front of the trailer and will keep you and your truck safe. The landing gear consists of two legs that can support the heavy weight of the trailer. 

How Does Landing Gear Work?

The landing gear is also known as “the stabilizers,” and they should be of suitable capacity with a gear mechanism and be able to lift the loaded trailer when required. A pair of landing legs are fixed near the front end to support the trailer after it is uncoupled from the tractor. 

What Are the Benefits of High-Quality Landing Gear?

The leg with the JOST internal gearbox and the crank is called the driving leg, and the other is called the driven leg. The two legs are connected by a central transmission rod known as a cross shaft. To raise or lower both legs at the same speed, simply rotate the crank clockwise or counterclockwise. Always make sure you shift the JOST crank and input shaft out to engage the low gear when raising the trailer and cargo weight.

When you invest in high-quality landing gear, you’ll experience a variety of benefits, including:

  • Improved driver safety
  • Increased driver productivity
  • Lower risk of workplace injuries
  • Keep equipment safe and secure

What Landing Gear Is Offered by JOST International?

JOST International offers an array of landing gear models; each made for varying applications to meet your needs. Some are made for light and heavy-duty, with a gearbox or without a gearbox, and with a spring or without a spring. No matter what type of landing gear you need, we’ve got you covered here at JOST International. 


JOST semi-trailer landing gear

Look To JOST International for All Your Landing Gear Needs

Do you need high-quality semi-trailer landing gear? JOST International is here for you. If you’re looking for superior landing gear from an industry-leading manufacturer, our landing gear meets or exceeds international standards for OEMs and fleet use in North America and internationally. Plus, we use top-of-the-line technology, so you can always trust that you and your equipment will stay safe. 

Browse the full catalog from JOST International and find landing gear for your job today. 

Download Our Drop Leg Product Catalog

A complete guide to the drop legs offered by JOST International

A Complete Guide to the Most Common Types of Fifth Wheels

A Complete Guide to the Most Common Types of Fifth Wheels

If you work in the semi-trailer industry, you’re familiar with fifth wheels. But do you know what types of fifth wheels are on the market? From stationery to sliding, we’ve got them all. Plus, besides JOST International, other brands make their own models as well. Here are the types of wheels explained. 

Types of Fifth Wheels Explained: JOST International

At JOST International, we’re proud to be a world market leader and international supplier for the commercial trucking industry. We provide top-of-the-fifth wheels that accommodate various applications – sliding fifth wheels and stationary fifth wheels.

Sliding Fifth Wheels

A sliding fifth wheel is a coupler that connects the tractor unit and semi-trailer together. It features a mechanism that slides the coupler forward and backward. Sliding fifth wheels are mounted to the semi-tractor’s frame. Unlike a stationary fifth wheel, it can move along the frame rails.

Advantage: Sliding fifth wheels help transfer weight to or from the steer (front) axle when customers change trailer types or have variable loads. The number of options for customers and revenue opportunities are increased.

JOST sliding fifth wheel

Stationary Fifth Wheels

Stationary mount fifth wheels, also known as fixed fifth wheels, are the original fifth wheel. These fifth wheels are ideal for applications where the semi-trailer’s kingpin setting, axle loading, and vehicle length are all constant throughout the fleet. As a rule of thumb, stationary fifth wheels are lighter than sliding mount fifth wheels.

Advantage: Stationary fifth wheels offer greater weight savings and maintenance simplicity. Customers increase revenue through greater payload and reduce operating costs with greater simplicity.

JOST stationary fixed wheel

For more information about our products, download our Fifth Wheel Product Line handout. 

Identifying Types of Fifth Wheels

JOST fifth wheels are standard products for many trucking companies. There are also other brands on the market that produce quality fifth wheels, including Holland and Fontaine. If you need to identify a type of fifth wheel, here’s how to do so:

JOST International Fifth Wheels

Every JOST fifth wheel has a unique red identification tab with the item’s model and assembly numbers. It will also have the JOST logo cast in the top surface or prominent on the ID tag.

Every JOST International genuine-made component meets the strictest OEM first-fit requirements for specifications. We make an array of compatible replacement parts for other brands of fifth wheels.

JOST logo fifth wheel

Invest in Industry-Leading Fifth Wheels

When it comes to types of fifth wheels for semi-trailers, JOST International is the industry leader. We’ve been manufacturing fifth wheel coupling devices globally since 1956, and we even submitted the patent for the very first steel-cast fifth wheel coupling. 

If you’re looking for more information about JOST fifth wheels, we’re here to help. Take a look at our inventory of fifth wheel products or contact our team today.

Download the jost fifth wheel catalog

A comprehensive look into each of the JOST fifth wheel products.