Jockey wheels are an exceptionally important but often overlooked part of a trailer. Due of their significance, choosing the correct size to fit your trailer is essential. The aim of a jockey wheel is to keep the trailer level and balanced whilst it is unhitched and to keep it stable when you are packing your trailer. Jockey wheels can also reduce the strain on your back as they assist in the movability of the trailer as well.
Smooth or serrated jockey wheel?
This is the one of the first question’s you may come across when choosing a jockey wheel. But what is the difference? The smooth jockey wheels are in fact, the most popular choices, and are the norm go to for most light weight to commercial duty trailers. One disadvantage of a smooth jockey wheels is that the clamp when not secured tightly enough, can lead to the shaft sliding through the clamp, subsequently hitting the road during the journey. This could potentially result in a severely damaged tyre and the potential requirement of replacing the entire assembly.
The serrated jockey wheel on the other hand, has a ribbed outer sleeve. Commonly used on heavy duty commercial vehicles with a diameter of 48mm or larger. A disadvantage to the serrated jockey wheel is that they need a clamp that will match the exact ribbing of the outer sleeve. The ribbing however, resolves the issue of the shaft sliding through the clamp.
What is a retractable jockey wheel?
The next question you may encounter on your search for a jockey wheel, is what is a retractable jockey wheel? What are the key differences between a retractable jockey wheel, and one that isn’t? To answer this briefly, a retractable jockey wheel eliminates the requirement of using a clamp. In place, the retractable jockey wheel bolts directly onto the side of the trailer, coupling onto a multi-hole fixing plate (commonly on a square-tube coupling or t-pole coupling).
What do the different sizes mean?
Another area to consider is the sizing of your jockey wheels. There are two sizes to take into consideration. The most important, being the diameter of the jockey wheel. With ATE, you will find that we stock six different variations in diameters. The 35mm, 42mm, 48mm serrated, 60mm and 63mm.
- 35mm would be the best fit for light-weight trailers.
- Larger trailers and a few unbraked boat trailers would need a 42mm jockey wheel.
- Commercial and caravan trailers will need a 48mm
- Heavy duty commercial trailers tend to require a 48mm serrated, 60, or 63mm diameter.
The 60 and 63mm diameter jockey wheels are the least conventional, with the capability of up to 750kg nose-weight capacity. The width is most crucial when selecting a jockey wheel where the clamp is part of the moulding on the complete coupling as this can’t be adjusted.
The second size to consider is the open and closed height. These are only available on adjustable height jockey wheels. Despite being less important, it helps understanding what range of list is available between these two heights.
When choosing a jockey wheel, there are a variety of areas to consider; what type of tailer is it being applied to, what diameter do you require, do you need a smooth or serrated jockey wheel, and whether or not a retractable jockey wheel would be an ideal choice. Do keep in mind that if you end up choosing a jockey wheel that is retractable, you need to ensure there is not already a clamp on the coupling. In place, there is a multi-hole fixing plate, where it can be attached.