How to Choose a Jockey Wheel for Your Utility Trailer

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Trucks are responsible for moving at least 70 percent of cargo in the United States. That’s more than 10 billion tons of goods moved every single year. With goods flowing from every part of the country, including the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and everything else we use daily, nothing gets from point A to point B without trucks. So much of our economy depends on the trucks that ply our nation’s highways daily.

If you move goods for a living, then you know how important a jockey wheel is. Without it, you’d have no way of connecting the utility trailer to the vehicle. You have to replace them quite often, especially if you haul heavy goods every day, so it is one of the most common parts that people buy at auto parts stores. You can either get a replacement wheel or the complete system.

Because jockey wheels allow people to move utility trailers from one place to another, it is one of the most important pieces of cargo equipment to have. It keeps the drawbar or A-frame off the ground and, it also makes hitching and unhitching the trailer from the tow-bar easier, which is especially helpful if the trailer is loaded with goods.

A replacement jockey wheel can be easily found in many auto parts stores. You can even order one online if a brick-and-mortar store isn’t available in your area. However, you would have to know what you’re ordering. There are three things you have to consider when choosing the right type of jockey wheel for your heavy-haul trucking. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

  1. Smooth external sleeve

The smooth external sleeve is the most common type of jockey wheel and is the gold standard for many utility trailers. This wheel can fit most cast-iron and pressed steel clamps, which is why you’ll never have a problem finding a replacement wherever you are.

The main drawback of the smooth external sleeve type is that it is prone to sliding through the clamp during the journey if it isn’t secured properly.

  1. Serrated external sleeve

car wheelAlong with the smooth external sleeve, the serrated external sleeve is one of the most common wheel systems. Unlike the smooth-sleeved type, however, the serrated sleeve has a ribbed exterior. This type of wheel is often used on heavy-duty commercial wheels with an outer sleeve width of 48 mm and above. It also requires a specialized wheel clamp that can support the shape.

The serrated sleeve is designed to prevent the wheel from sliding down to the ground during the transport process. When paired with the correct type of clamp, the ribbing provides excellent vibration dampening qualities and is less likely to slide down compared to the smooth external sleeves.

If you want to switch from a smooth external sleeve to a serrated one, you also have to get a clamp that can support a serrated external sleeve.

  1. Retractable system

A retractable wheel system replaces the practice of bolting the clamp and the body directly to the side of the utility trailer’s A-frame. The wheel system’s auto-fold mechanism flips the wheel up next to the trailer when turning the outer wheel up, negating the need to pull the whole system through the clamp.

This removes the wheel system’s chances of falling to the ground as the system is directly bolted to the caravan, and there is no clamp for the wheel to slide through.

However, you have to understand that if your trailer does not support a retractable jockey wheel, you will have to extensively modify it to fit one.

  1. Nose-weight

A nose-weight jockey wheel has a built-in gauge that can determine the load of the nose-weight that will be supported by the tow ball.

This system is often used on trailers to aid the load distribution when preparing for an extended trip. To a lesser degree, it is also used for commercial uses.

The final word

Jockey wheels come in many shapes and sizes, and finding the right one for your needs may require some research and guesswork. Hopefully, this guide will help you find a system that works for you.

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