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What Is an Electric Power Tongue Jack for Trailers?

If you’re tired of getting an arm workout when hitching and unhitching your trailer, you might want to consider a power tongue jack. An electric trailer tongue jack can allow you to quickly and easily get the job done. However, some trailers come with a manual jack, but we think upgrading to a power tongue jack is worth it.

Today, we’re taking a look at an essential component of any travel trailer. Let’s get started! 

What Is a Power Tongue Jack?

A power tongue jack is an automatic lifting system that can raise and lower the frame of a trailer. Manual tongue jacks require using a crank and for you to exude a tremendous amount of effort. Electric trailer tongue jacks do the heavy lifting for you.

Power tongue jacks come in handy when hitching and unhitching an RV or other type of trailer. You’ll need to raise and lower the trailer multiple times during both processes. Once you have your RV parked, you’ll also likely need to raise or lower the trailer to get it leveled.

Do Travel Trailers Come With a Jack? 

Travel trailers almost always come with a jack. However, smaller, budget-friendly travel trailers often don’t come with power tongue jacks. Manufacturers install manual jacks on these rigs to keep costs and weight down. But, replacing a manual jack with an electric trailer tongue jack is easy. Practically anybody can do it themselves with a few basic tools.

What Kind of Jack Goes in a Travel Trailer?

Travel trailers typically use retractable jacks mounted on the front of the trailer’s frame. These jacks are capable of lifting thousands of pounds with ease. Larger rigs will use power tongue jacks to raise and lower the frame, but using a manual jack isn’t the end of the world. No matter what type or brand of jack you use with a travel trailer, they typically all function and operate the same. Like most products, some brands are better than others.

Close up of a power tongue jack attached to trailer
Make raising and lowering the frame of your trailer easier with a power tongue jack.

How Do You Hook Up a Power Tongue Jack?

A power tongue jack will need, you guessed it, 12V power! Once you install the power tongue jack, you can connect the jack to the power source.

You’ll first need to install a fuse holder close to the positive terminal from the power source. Most power tongue jacks are internally grounded, so you’ll only have to connect a single positive wire lead to the reset breaker or directly to the battery’s positive terminal. Confirm all connections and bolts are tight. You can now begin raising and lowering your power tongue jack.

Pro Tip: New to RVing? We uncovered How to Tow an RV: The Beginner’s Guide.

Side angle of a power tongue jack attached to trailer
After installing your power tongue jack, connect it to a power source to make hitching up to your trailer quick and easy.

What Size RV Tongue Jack Do I Need?

The size of your tongue jack will depend on the size of your RV. You need a tongue jack that’s more than capable of lifting the tongue weight of your RV. An RV’s tongue weight is typically 10% to 15% of the overall trailer weight. Don’t forget that your RV’s “dry weight” is not the actual weight of your RV.

It’s best to buy a more capable tongue jack than an underrated one. If you’re pushing your tongue jack to the max when using it, you’re likely to increase the wear and tear. You may even reduce the expected life of the jack. If you’re unsure of your weight, take your RV across a CAT scale to get an accurate reading.

How Do I Lubricate My Electric Trailer Jack?

Not all electric trailer jacks require more than the basic lubrication, so make sure you check with the manufacturer of your jack for specific instructions. You don’t want to do more harm than good to your electric trailer jack.

Extend your jack and wipe any dirt or debris off the inner leg. You can then spray the leg with lithium grease. Then, retract and extend the jack a few times to lubricate the moving parts. Depending on how often and where you’re using your jack, this is typically a seasonal maintenance task.

Pro Tip: Do you have a truck camper? We found the Best Truck Camper Jacks for Lifting Your RV.

RV trailer hitched to truck with power tongue jack attached
Make sure to consider your RV trailer size when deciding what size electric trailer tongue jack you need.

How Do You Manually Lower an Electric Tongue Jack?

An electric tongue jack will require power to raise and lower it. However, blown fuses and dead batteries can convert your electric tongue jack into a manual tongue jack. These tongue jacks typically come with a manual override connection and a crank handle that fits into the manual override connection. Many times an electric drill can be connected as well to operate the jack.

If you need to raise or lower your tongue jack, simply crank the handle in the appropriate direction. Turning the crank clockwise will raise the jack, and turning it counterclockwise will retract it. 

If you regularly go on adventures with your trailer, a power tongue jack will save you lots of time and energy hitching up your RV!

Can You Over Extend a Trailer Jack?

While some trailer jacks have features preventing over-extension, not all do. If you’re not careful with these jacks, you can over-extend them and damage the sensitive components. Some jacks will include markings on the leg to indicate when you have reached the maximum amount of extension or retraction.

If you overextend your trailer jack, the best-case scenario is that you blow a fuse and need to replace it. The worst-case scenario is you damage the gears or other components and ruin your jack. Neither is a good option, especially if it’s at the start of a camping trip.

How to Load and Unload a Truck Camper on a Pickup Truck | Go North Explore More
While not a travel trailer our truck camper has 4 electric jacks to lift it up.

Is an Electric Trailer Tongue Jack Worth It?

A power tongue jack is essential if you regularly plan to use your trailer. Being able to quickly and easily raise and lower your RV’s frame can take some of the stress out of connecting or disconnecting your RV.

An electric trailer tongue jack is an excellent option if you’re tired of wearing your arm out whenever you use your RV. Don’t spend another camping trip icing your elbow and upgrade to an electric tongue jack before your next adventure!

Do you own an electric trailer tongue jack? Tell us what you use in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Thursday 8th of June 2023

Good article on electric jacks, I installed a small solar panel to keep the battery charged, The only drawback I have is my tailgate does not open all the way down and you have to be extra careful not to dent the gate as it can hit the jack head