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Whatever turns your van: Choosing caravan jockey wheels

Al-KO Jockey Wheel
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For such a small thing, your caravan jockey wheel does a big job. It can help manoeuvre the caravan up to the tow vehicle for hitching, lift or lower the coupling over the tow ball and move the van around when it’s uncoupled.

The jockey wheel usually comes standard with your caravan, and there’s likely to be a clamp for it attached to the ‘A’ frame or draw bar. But if you want to, you can change it over for another one – and there are plenty to choose from.

What’s the difference?

The shafts of jockey wheels can differ in height, and the tyres vary from solid rubber to inflatable (pneumatic), but the main difference is in the way they work.

  • The standard or fixed jockey wheel is usually welded or bolted directly onto the draw bar and has either solid or pneumatic wheels. You adjust the height by undoing the lever and moving the shaft up or down as required. It suits most domestic/leisure applications.
  • The swivel bracket jockey wheel is designed to be easy to use. There’s no need to remove it from the trailer – just pull the release handle and the jockey wheel rotates into a suitable travelling position.

An adjustable swivel bracket gives you the choice of swivelling the jockey wheel or removing it, as well as adjusting height.

  • The flat-footed jockey stand is a must for stabilising the caravan in a fixed location or to help with uncoupling on uneven terrain. It comes in varying heights and with clamp or weld-on swivel bracket.
  • To make light of heavy caravans, auto-retract jockey wheels are activated by winding a handle that automatically retracts the wheel and fork for travelling.
  • Perfect for manoeuvring the van when it’s disconnected from the tow vehicle, the power mover with pneumatic wheel does the hard work for you – simply use the handle to ratchet the caravan forwards or backwards with minimum fuss. The power winch makes the job of getting the caravan into a tight garage or parking spot easy without doing a lot of pushing.

Which is the right one?

The jockey wheel that’s right for you depends on so many things. Check that the load capacity is applicable to your caravan and make sure it comes from a reliable manufacturer. Before making a decision, talk to other caravan owners about how easy it is to use, manoeuvre, remove or adjust.

Whatever you choose, do not place excess weight on it and where possible use it only when the caravan is empty – jockey wheels are not designed to bear heavy loads. When parking, place a support such as a board under the jockey to distribute the weight and avoid having it sink into the ground thereby damaging the jack or the wheel.

If you’re considering changing your jockey wheel, talk it over first with your dealer and fellow travellers to see how it will work for you.

Read our article about power movers to learn about more more ways to move your unhitched caravan, apart from using the jockey wheel.

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