Manual Trailer Jack Won’t Go Up or Down (Just Spins or Hard)

When it comes to simple devices like a manual tongue jack, the source of the problem may be a small part. That part may be made from weak metal and will not hold up over time. When it breaks, you do not get to use your jack.

The source of the problem for this situation may be that the inner extension tube bent. It is hard to see or tell when they bend but when they do, these jacks are hard to operate. Check the sear pin as well, it may have broken.

To learn more about this situation just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can fix the problem quickly. If it is still under warranty, get the dealer to fix it and save it. Or replace the manual with an electric jack.

Manual Tongue Jack Not Working


There are different sources for this problem even though this is a simply designed tool. One source could be a threaded pin that could have backed off just a little bit. When it does, the jack won’t work.

The fix for this is to tighten the screw and use some thread sealant. Or the sear pin may have broken and you will have to disassemble the jack to remove and replace it.

Another source for this problem is hard to see. The inner tube may bend a little bit and when it bends, you can’t move the jack up or down. The bend is often caused by trailer movement while the jack is extended.

The best repair for this problem is to replace the jack. Many RV owners are recommending that other owners with manual jacks replace those models with an electric one. They say the electric is much better and easier on the body.

How To Fix a Manual Trailer Jack


This is basic mechanical repair work you are doing here. The manual jack is not a complicated device and you should be able to repair it within a few hours.

Step one- remove the jack from the tongue by removing the bolts. If welded to the tongue, then you need a larger jack to lift the tongue high enough for you to work on the trailer jack.

Step two- Disassemble the jack and then clean the bearing and washers with mineral spirits. Check for damage to any of the disassembled parts and replace where you find the damage.

Step three- Grease all the parts that require grease, bearings, etc. Don’t forget to grease the different washers as well.

Step four- Reassemble the jack and put it back on your trailer's tongue. Do a test after re-installing the jack to make sure it works properly. The items you will need for this repair work are as follows:


Mineral spirits

Jack stands


Steel wool

Socket set

Grease gun


Make sure to assess the damaged parts and see if the jack is worth fixing. Since these jacks are not expensive, replacing the whole unit with a new one may be the best option.

The Manual Trailer Jack Won't Go Up Or Down


The first step in this situation would be to find the part or parts that are damaged or the source of the problem. The second step is after finding those parts to assess if it is worth repairing or not.

Sometimes repairs can be more expensive than replacing the jack with a new one. If the repair is not difficult, then buy the parts you need to fix the jack and then test it out.

If the jack still won’t move then all it means is that you missed another part that is contributing to this problem. Find that part and see if it can be repaired or not. If not, then replace it. This is a simple process and there are a few parts that can fail on you.

Trailer Jack Just Spins


One source will be that the base of the jack got damaged enough that it is not connecting to the groove that prevents spinning. All you have to do is take a wrench and hold the base of the jack still.

Then you align the groove with the indentation on the front of the outer tube. Then take a hammer and chisel and drive the indentation back into the groove. Once engaged, the jack should stop spinning.

It is a simple set up that only takes a little work to get it working properly again. The chisel punch should be a flat design and made to take a couple of good blows from a hammer.

Gooseneck Trailer Jack Hard To Crank


This would be a lubrication problem. Now some of the older jacks may have a grease zerk right below the crank. Just attach your grease gun to it and refill the jack with the needed grease.

Some newer models may have a screw-on cap that can come off fairly easily. Just remove the cap, look inside and clean out any gunk or debris that has built up over time.

Once the gunk and debris are gone, use the proper grease made for manual trailer jacks and re-grease the gears, etc. If this doesn’t work, it may be the jack screw is damaged or out of lubrication.

You can try to get oil down to that screw but most likely you have to disassemble the jack to get to it. Then either add the oil or replace the screw.

Some Final Words

Manual jacks do not have many parts to fail. Once you find the part, it is a matter of merely replacing it to get the jack working again. Sometimes all you will need is a bit of grease and the jack will get right back to work with little effort on your part.

Other times, you have to disassemble the jack, replace broken parts and repack the bearing. It is just a matter of what is wrong with the jack.

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