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What is a Jockey wheel and what does it do?

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What is a Jockey wheel and what does it do?



What is a jockey wheel and why are they important?

Jockey wheels are a critical piece of equipment for your trailer or caravan. When your trailer is unhitched, jockey wheels keep the trailer level as well as steady and provide necessary stability when you are loading your trailer. As jockey wheels level the trailer or caravan they help with the hitching or unhitching, and they allow them to be manoeuvred without the use of a towing vehicle. It is important that you buy the right jockey wheel, and they typically fall into two categories which are smooth jockey wheels and ribbed jockey wheels. We offer jockey wheels from some of the world’s leading brands including AL-KO, Bradley, Knott, and Maypole.  

How to choose my jockey wheel?

One of the first questions you need to ask when buying a jockey wheel is do I need a ribbed jockey wheel (also known as a serrated wheel) or a smooth jockey wheel. You will also need to buy a jockey wheel with the appropriate diameter for your trailer.

What is a smooth jockey wheel and when should I use this?

If you are towing a light commercial trailer, then a smooth jockey wheel is what you need. A couple of examples of these are our Maypole jockey wheel which has a 42mm diameter and a long handle and our Knott 34mm diameter long handle jockey wheel. The Knott jockey wheel is suitable for loads of up to 60kg. One of the downsides to this type of jockey wheel is if the clamp (which needs to be purchased separately) isn’t secured tightly enough, the shaft can slip through the clamp resulting in the trailer collapsing when not being towed or whilst towing the jockey wheel hitting the road. This can lead to severe damage resulting in replacing the tyre or the entire assembly. To ensure this doesn’t happen make sure you tighten the clamp and when buying the jockey wheel make sure you purchase the right jockey wheel clamp.  As a general rule, for single axle trailers up to 750kg, our recommendation is to use a smooth jockey wheel of 34mm to 42mm in diameter.

Smooth jockey wheels with diameters of 42mm to 48mm can also be appropriate for heavier commercial trailers up to 2700kg, some unbraked boat trailers as well as some caravans. However, they may not be suitable for trailers with more than two axles and if the trailer has two axles, we don’t recommend manoeuvring a fully loaded trailer as they have very heavy nose weights. A couple of our bestselling jockey wheels for this category are the TT Heavy Duty Jockey Wheel (48mm Diameter) which can carry a load of up to 300kg and the Knott 48mm smooth tube jockey wheel for loads up to 150kg. The 48mm diameter TT Heavy Duty Jockey Wheel also comes with the benefit of a telescopic retraction system to help with hitching your trailer.

What is a ribbed or serrated jockey wheel and when should I use this?

Ribbed jockey wheels or as they are also known, serrated jockey wheels, are exactly what they say they are. The ribs or serrations are locked into the clamp to prevent them from sliding when loading or towing your trailer. They are ideal for heavy-duty commercial trailers and will normally require a jockey wheel with a diameter of 48mm or 60mm. Most of these jockey wheels are suitable for 3500kg trailers.

Our recommendations from our best-selling heavy-duty jockey wheels are the Kartt heavy-duty ribbed auto lift Jockey Wheel which has a 48mm diameter and the AL-KO Auto Fold jockey wheel with a 60mm diameter. The AL-KO heavy-duty jockey wheel can carry dynamic loads of up to 300kg and like the Kartt heavy-duty wheel has the added benefit of a retractable wheel. On that note, if you are buying a retractable wheel you need to consider the open and close size, however, although this is not as important it is helpful to know the range of lift.  

What jockey wheel clamp and jockey wheel spares do I need?

As we mentioned above you will need a jockey wheel clamp for your new smooth jockey wheel. We offer both pressed steel jockey wheel clamps, which are suitable for lighter loads and cast steel jockey wheel clamps which are for heavier loads. Our range includes Bradley, AL-KO and Kartt clamps and if you are in doubt, please do get in touch with one of our team who can assist you.

We offer a wide range of jockey wheel spares which include but are not limited to spare jockey wheels, manoeuvring handles, clamping handles, clamping pads as well wheel knobs. Our jockey wheel spares are from the best brands such as Bradley, Knott Avonride, Kartt, Indespension and AL-KO. You can check all of these out in our range. When buying jockey wheel spares please do make sure that you know the brand, model, and age of your coupling as pitches and thread sizes have changed over time. This will make sure you buy the right spare part. If in doubt, please do get in touch with us.

In conclusion, Jockey wheels are an incredibly important piece of kit used when loading or towing your trailer and something that must not be overlooked. Once you know what type of trailer you will be towing as well as what you will be loading into your trailer, we can help guide you through the process of buying the right jockey wheel. We can also help you if you are looking for jockey wheel spares. At Trailertek our goal is to make things easy, and fun so please do get in touch if you have any questions, and we will be ready to serve.