Owning a travel trailer can be a blast. That is until you need to secure it manually for towing. This task can get extremely stressful and challenging, especially when there’s no one around to assist.
You wouldn’t have to worry about this with an electric tongue jack. The trick here is to choose the appropriate one for your travel trailer with the right accessories. If you want to know all you need to pick the best tongue jack, keep reading.
An electric tongue jack is an electronic instrument with the primary function of leveling, elevating, and lowering heavy your trailer. It is especially beneficial to people who own trailers. This way, it enables you to hitch and unhitch weighty load to your trailer.
Because its power source is electricity, you don’t have to expend significant energy when towing your vehicle. This by itself saves you huge loads of unnecessary exertion and stress. Also, a high-quality electric tongue jack ensures your heavy trailer is secured. This way, it is useful for various other tasks.
Since an electric trailer jack is gear-driven, you need little to no manual input when operating. All you have to do is use the power button to turn it on and off as appropriate. Your electric jack is connected to a 12-volt power battery that determines its functionality.
For the most part, an electric tongue jack can do everything a manual jack can do. That means if you find yourself in a situation where the jack can’t be powered electrically, you can operate it manually. This way, you have covered both ways with access to the best of both worlds.
You may be wondering if there is any point in purchasing an electric tongue jack instead of a manual one? Is it worth the extra bucks? Here is a list of pros and cons of owning an electric tongue jack.
Not everyone with a travel trailer owns an electric tongue jack, so why should you? The answer to this might be obvious, but it is still imperative to reemphasize the importance of owning an electric tongue jack.
A travel trailer, they say, is a home on the road, and the last thing you want is to get stranded in the middle of nowhere with no town in sight.
It is vital to own an electric tongue jack for two main reasons:
It will help you achieve good leveling both sideways and front to back, which are essential for traveling via trailer. It would help if you had an instrument to help you lift and lower your trailer’s tongue.
Electric tongue jacks are available in different sizes and with various lifting capacities.
Your travel trailer has a specific weight. Consequently, it would help if you had a jack that can lift it. Picking the wrong size and weight capacity may damage your jack.
The following steps will enable you to select a suitable electric jack.
Choosing the appropriate weight and size isn’t as challenging as it may seem. All you have to do is know what your trailer tongue weight is. You can find this out by estimating your trailer weight and tongue weight.
Here is a valuable tip for those who might find this task too complicated.
When you have accurately estimated your trailer weight, you can ascertain your tongue weight since it is quite often 15% of your trailer weight.
You have to tread very carefully here, though. Be sure to consider factors like:
However, if you choose to utilize a weight-distribution system, you shouldn’t bother finding out the tongue weight. You should elevate your trailer to the appropriate adjusted degree. After which, you can attach the weight distribution hitch.
It is also necessary to determine the weight of your truck’s backend. This way, the jack will be saddled with bearing its weight. To determine the exact weight on your back axle accurately, contact the manufacturing company.
Figuring out your tongue weight and the weight of your truck end will help you accurately determine the right size and weight for your electric tongue jack. And always remember, purchasing a jack with more capacity than necessary is far better than buying an insufficient one.
As mentioned earlier, the trailer’s tongue typically weighs 15% of the trailer’s total weight, so if your trailer weighs 2.5 tons, you can expect your trailer’s tongue to weigh around 330 kg.
A jack with a maximum lift capacity of a ton should be sufficient for a trailer of this size. To be safe, you should choose a jack that weighs at least four times the weight of your trailer’s tongue.
Another factor you should consider is jackleg extensions. Commonly referred to as a drop leg, jackleg extensions make the process much easier by bringing the jack closer to the ground before lowering the jack.
This is efficient for conserving power and preventing unnecessary energy wastage. It is also a much better alternative to placing levelers and stack boards beneath the jack.
Stacking boards beneath the jack might appear to be a sensible option. Still, it has a few hazardous disadvantages:
As such, we issue a strong warning against such an act.
A leg extension is a vital addition to your trailer accessories and should be considered a necessity. If your jack doesn’t come with one, then you should purchase one.
Another component that your jack needs are ‘jack feet.’ You’ll likely come across numerous brands that manufacture their jacks without feet while shopping for a jack. This may be due to the cost-effectiveness, but as the saying goes, ‘penny wise, pound.
The point is that you cannot afford to purchase an electric tongue jack that doesn’t have afoot. If your jack does not have afoot, it’ll eventually sink into the dirt. This is typical under the immense weight of your trailer, and that’s the last thing you want happening.
If your jack sinks, your trailer’s stability would be placed in jeopardy. If you make the mistake of purchasing a jack that doesn’t come with a foot, you don’t have to worry. Buy a jack foot and attach it to your jack.
If you plan on going on a long-distance trip, you’ll need a jack foot for sure. This will be beneficial in areas that lack leveled pavements for parking.
Another essential factor to keep in mind is the length or capacity for the extension of the jack. Trailer jacks differ in length and extension capacity. Before purchasing a jack for your trailer, it is crucial to know the appropriate length you’ll need.
The length determines how high your trailer can be lifted. So, it is crucial to know how high your jack is when it is fully extended. The most professional approach to learning the appropriate height you’ll need is to measure the distance between the bottom of the trailer and the ground. The trailer has to be parked on flat ground.
Also, the trailer has to be a minimum of 10cm higher than the coupler. This will allow you to lift it above the ball to connect or disconnect the trailer.
One thing you cannot escape is the installation process of the electric tongue jack. You can choose to have someone do the initial installation. If there are no skilled hands around, you may have to attempt the installation on your own.
So, it’s best to know how to install your jack, and fortunately, it is not a complicated process. If you get a decent quality electric tongue jack, it will come with all the parts you need for a complete installation. This way, you should be able to install it easily regardless of wherever you find yourself.
Electric tongue jacks are typically installed either through welding or bolting. That being said, you should not go for the welding option if you do not have any knowledge of welding.
Though welding might be a more secure form of installation than bolting, it is far too complicated and requires an expert’s touch. Bolting, on the other hand, can easily be done with or without expertise.
Before you attempt to install your electric tongue jack, you have first to stabilize the front end of your trailer. You can do this by placing a stabilizing scissor jack beneath the front end of your trailer to support it and keep it stable while you’re installing the electric tongue jack. This helps keep the trailer from rolling off or moving uncertainty while you’re installing. This is necessary for your safety and the safety of your vehicle.
After this, you can start screwing the bolts in. Connect the jack’s sole wire to the battery’s positive pole. Then unscrew the wing nut on the positive terminal of the battery. After that, attach the wire through the eye and screw back the wing nut.
There are lots of brands that manufacture electric tongue jacks. However, only a handful stand out as having quality products that are reliable and recommendable. These include:
It is important to research the brand you eventually choose before making a purchase.
An electric tongue jack is an essential accessory to every travel trailer. However, choosing to purchase an electric tongue jack is merely the first step. Getting the right size and length is crucial. If you don’t, you will end up with a nonfunctional tool. This will also risk damage to your trailer. That’s not to mention the increased possibility of physical injury.
It is also necessary for you to select the correct form of installation, especially one you are familiar with and competent enough to execute independently. Overall, electric tongue jacks save you a lot of stress and effort. They are necessary additions to your trailer, and you won’t regret owning one.