A gooseneck hitch is a valuable tool for individuals who require reliable towing capabilities. To keep your gooseneck hitch performing at its best, regular maintenance is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with a wealth of tips and advice to help you maintain your gooseneck hitch effectively. From inspections and lubrication to cleaning and storage, we’ll cover it all in a relaxed and cheerful tone, ensuring your towing experiences remain smooth and trouble-free. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to a well-maintained gooseneck hitch!
In This Article
Remove Excess Grease and Grime
A hitch will accumulate grease, dirt, and debris over time. Grease attracts dirt, and the longer a hitch goes without cleaning, the more it can hide damage and create wear and tear. Too much dirty grease in the contact areas of your hitch will gum up the works and erode the protective coatings on the contact plates. Make sure that the only grease on your trailer hitch is new and squeaky clean. Too much old grease will hide insidious damage.
Cleaning Gooseneck Hitch
First things first, before winter strikes and before getting started with the process of conducting basic maintenance on your gooseneck hitch, you’ll want to be sure that it is nice and clean.
As your hitch does its job pulling your travel trailer, there are great possibilities for dirt, debris and grease to build up over time, causing it to be messy and full of grime. Cleaning it after each use is highly recommended, but doing so before conducting a maintenance routine is great and just as important. Give your hitch a nice cleaning using a mild soap and warm water solution along with a soft bristle brush for tight spaces to remove the built-up grease and other dirt. You can also use a pressure washer, such as the Lippert Power Pro Max portable pressure washer, on a low power setting.
After washing, use compressed air or a towel to dry it thoroughly. Fully drying it before winter is especially critical to prevent the moisture from being trapped and freezing within the unit. Cleaning your gooseneck hitch in general is particularly important before winter as the combination of old grease and low temperatures can cause additional issues, resulting in parts that may not function properly.
Additionally, if you plan on storing your hitch or leaving it outside and exposed to the harsh elements of the winter for a long period of time, you could also spray and coat it with a rust inhibitor (such as fogging oil) to keep it clean and protect it from rust. Another benefit of cleaning your gooseneck hitch before winter is that when the springtime rolls around and you’re anxious to take your first road trip of the season, you won’t have to spend your precious leisure time thoroughly cleaning your hitch – you’ll be good to go!
Inspecting Gooseneck Hitch
Now that your gooseneck hitch is cleaned up, the next thing you need to do is inspect it. Keeping your gooseneck hitch in great shape consists of doing a proper, thorough inspection of your entire system, and cleaning it beforehand makes it easier to spot defects that could be hidden under built-up dirt and grease. The main things you should look for are noticeable damage to the hardware, evidence of significant wear and tear, loose or missing parts, and cracks in your components.
Be sure to check parts and components carefully, especially in the areas where there are moving parts. Conducting an inspection before and after the winter is important so you can be immediately aware of any changes to your gooseneck that may have happened as a result of the cold season.
Once winter has passed and you’re ready to get back on the road, be sure to do another thorough inspection of the same parts – even doing some testing of your parts to ensure they are not stiff or stuck from sitting idle through the frigid months. If you find any parts that need to be replaced, we have you covered with an extensive collection of gooseneck accessories and replacement parts that keep you on the road, no matter which season it is.
Lubricating Gooseneck Hitch
One last major step that is critical to the preservation and upkeep of your gooseneck hitch is lubrication. Keeping your hitch lubricated is essential for smooth, quiet towing and efficient operation. When lubricating your gooseneck hitch, the main key is to ensure that rotating or metal-on-metal surfaces are lightly coated. To lubricate the hitch, you can use a grease gun and high-quality grease such as a high-pressure lithium-based grease, or a spray lubricant such as an aerosol-based graphite dry film.
Many gooseneck hitches are equipped with grease zerks (aka grease fittings) that provide lubrication to various areas of your hitch. Be sure to look for those throughout each part of the hitch so that grease can be distributed to all vital areas. Before attaching the grease gun and adding grease to the zerks, each zerk should be cleaned to receive the grease properly.
The most common indicator for knowing when enough grease has been applied is when the old grease begins to seep out of the joint. Once the zerks have been lubricated, check the jaws and hitch plate and grease both of those areas adequately.
Gooseneck hitch lube plates are also a great option to keep things cleaner and not have to apply a large amount of grease to the gooseneck coupling point. Lube plates eliminate the need for grease between the skid plate on top of the hitch and the gooseneck trailer pin box.
Proper storage and security measures are often overlooked aspects of towing hitch maintenance. When not in use, store your hitch in a dry, secure location to prevent theft and damage. You can also invest in hitch locks and pins to deter would-be thieves. Protecting your hitch investment ensures it will be ready and safe for your next towing adventure.
Routine Gooseneck Hitch Maintenance Tips
- Before storage, before performing routine maintenance, and after each use, thoroughly clean and dry your gooseneck hitch, using a mild soap solution and a towel or compressed air. Remember to get all the nooks and crannies to avoid water build-up.
- Check your gooseneck for cracks, loose or missing parts, and signs of significant wear and tear. Replacement components should be purchased and installed as needed.
- Use a torque wrench to ensure that all of the hardware on your gooseneck hitch is properly tightened to the correct values. Consult your owner’s manual for torque specifications.
- Anywhere there is metal-on-metal contact, particularly at points that need to articulate while towing, apply a high-quality grease. gooseneck hitches are designed to tow an exceptional amount of weight, and having a quality grease applied to all of the right spots promotes smooth operation and longevity.
- To keep your gooseneck hitch in good shape, periodically inspect it and apply a rust inhibitor as needed. Looks for scratches and scuff marks. This will keep your unit better protected against the elements and deter corrosion.
In summary, maintaining your towing hitch is a crucial responsibility for anyone dependent on safe and efficient towing. Regular inspections, proper lubrication, mindful load capacity considerations, rust prevention, and hitch storage and security measures are all essential aspects of hitch maintenance. By following these five tips, you’ll extend the life of your towing hitch and ensure that your towing experiences remain safe and enjoyable. Remember, a well-maintained hitch is reliable, and safety should always be your top priority on the road.