Freezing temperatures can take their toll on your rig, but don’t fret – winterizing your semi truck’s fifth wheel will help prevent damage and save you time and money throughout the season. Read on to discover our tips for semi fifth wheel winterization so you can face the elements with peace of mind. 

Your Go-To Guide for Fifth Wheel Winterization

States in cold climates use aggressive road salts for snow removal. These salts contain magnesium and calcium chlorides that can quickly develop corrosion on tractor and trailer components. The corrosion will adversely affect a semi truck’s fifth wheel’s performance if left unchecked. 

Don’t let your fifth wheel get damaged during the winter season. Winterize your semi fifth wheel and follow the following recommended inspections and preventive maintenance guidelines:

  • Thoroughly degrease and clean the top plate surface and underside using a steam-cleaning device and other suitable degreasing products. Be sure to remove any grease buildup within and around the lockjaw, throat, and pivot points.
  • Use an aerosol cleaner to clean the retractable release handle where the plate extends along the pins.
  • Inspect all areas and parts of the fifth wheel for damaged or missing parts, and if necessary, replace them with genuine JOST parts. 
  • Spray a penetrating oil, such as PB Blaster or Kroil, and lubricate both pivot points underneath the top plate, both slide plungers inside the plunger housings, the slide track, and the center pivot post where the pivot arm rotates. 
  • Verify that the lock closes completely and is operating correctly.
  • Apply lithium-based grease with an EP (extreme pressure) additive to the trailer contact surface of the fifth wheel.
  • Thoroughly degrease and clean the slide track and engagement rack, as well as the plungers and plunger housings using a shop steam cleaning device and suitable degreasing products. Be sure to remove any grease buildup in the slide release mechanism that would inhibit the free rotation of the pivot arm.

How to Service Your Air Supply System

Before the winter season kicks in, it’s also vital that you inspect your air supply system and perform any necessary repairs and maintenance. Follow these steps below to set yourself up for success: 

  • Drain out all of the water from the air tanks.
  • Confirm that all air tank lanyards are attached. 
  • Confirm that the air drier cartridge is less than three years old. 
  • Confirm that the air drier heat element is working correctly. 
  • Remove all the water from the air lines supplying the top plate and slider air release cylinders. 

Other Ways to Winterize Your Semi-Truck

In addition to fifth-wheel winterization, you should prepare other parts of your truck for the harsh winter elements. These are our best tips for preparing for the season:

  • Check your battery and electrical systems and perform any maintenance if necessary.
  • Look over the fuel filter and water separator to ensure everything works properly. 
  • Start using fuel additives.
  • Inspect the cooling system for any necessary repairs.
  • Prepare your windshield and install new wipers or wiper fluid if necessary.
  • Check your tires’ condition and pressure level.
  • Pack an emergency tool kit. 

Invest in High-Quality Fifth Wheels From JOST International

Set yourself up for success this winter and invest in a JOST International fifth wheel. JOST has been manufacturing fifth wheel coupling devices globally since 1956, and we were the first to patent steel-cast fifth wheel coupling. We’ve continued our dedication to innovation ever since with new technologies and exceptional safety features that respond to the needs of our customers. From our unique locking mechanism to our new sensor fifth wheels, our fifth wheels are a standard option at every OEM.

Download our Fifth Wheel Product Line handout to learn more about each product, or give our team a call today!