RV Education 101: Establishing your RV’s pivot point

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By Mark Polk
RV EDUCATION 101

It doesn’t matter if you are driving a motorhome or towing a trailer, every vehicle has a pivot point. The pivot point is a fixed point on the vehicle at which the vehicle rotates around when making a turn. It sounds more complicated than it is.

If it is a vehicle, like a truck or a motorhome with two axles, the pivot point is the center of the rear axle. If it is a tandem axle, like a travel trailer or 5th wheel trailer, the pivot point for the trailer is at the center of the two axles.

The thing to take away from this is: If an object, for example a gas pump, is located at the center of your pivot point or behind your pivot point you can turn in the direction of the object and not hit it. If, on the other hand, the object is ahead of the pivot point and you turn in the direction of the object you can hit it.

Note: This of course is dependent on the distance you are away from the object, too, as you start making the turn.

Mark Polk’s tech tips are posted every Saturday in the RV Travel Newsletter and every Wednesday on the RV Daily Tips Newsletter.

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stephenie
1 month ago

where would the pivot point be for a trailer with single axle

alcomechanic
2 months ago

Another thing to remember is if you turn away from the object, make sure you have room for “swing” of the part of your R. V. behind the wheels to clear that object. If your turning sharply that rear end can make a pretty wide swing! Experience speaking!

Dale e Rose
2 months ago

I believe that too many people watch the back of their trailer when backing into a campsite, instead of watching the tires. I was taught that several years ago, and I can do a pretty good job of backing up trailers. And remember, folks, steer with the bottom of the steering wheel.