5th Wheel Height On Semi Truck | Trucking Explained

We all had a dream of being a trucker growing up. The thrill of traveling on the highway, moving from state to state, even countries knew no boundary. Also, the power of being behind that big engine is just so, enticing. 

Talking about trucks, there are a whole lot when we talk about semi-trucks. Some come with cabins, and some don’t. But one of the main components of the truck right after the engine and wheels is the 5th wheel. 

If you are wondering what the 5th wheel height on a semi truck should be then the standard is 11.7-13.5 feet. Why is that not exact? Because there are different types of semi-truck, different state laws, and different tow heights that needs to be brought under consideration. 

And today we are going to talk about that. So put on your trucker cap and move on!

5th Wheel Height On Semi Truck

What Is The Average Height Of The 5th Wheel On A Semi Truck?

As we mentioned earlier, the standard of the 5th wheel depends on many things. But if you ask about the average standard height, it would be around 12.5 feet. The best part about the 5th wheel is you can adjust it from your cab anytime you want.

So if your tow is lower than 12 feet, you can lower it to 11.7 anytime you want. And also rise it to adjust a taller tow. Because if your 5th wheel is not leveled with the tow, it will be a scene out of a cartoon where you will leave your tow behind or worse.

Reasons For the Difference In Height Of The 5th Wheel 

Here are the main reasons why there is a difference in the height of the 5th wheel. Although it is adjustable, you have to get by with different manufacturers’ options and definitely abide by the law of different states. 

1. Different State Highway Law

Some states require different heights of your tow truck. It is something that you cannot see down whenever you want. What you can do is lower your 5th wheel height. The reason behind this law can be due to the lower height of signboards, monuments, overbridges, and other highway builds.

So whenever you are going to a new state, make sure you look at their highway rules about the 5th wheel height. Cause it’s a semi-truck, not a car you can just push it in anywhere. 

2. Different Semi Truck Manufacturers

Different semi truck manufacturers have different size specifications. This is due to the power of the engine, the size of the semi, and what the specific model is intended to tow. Hence you will get different options from one model to another from each manufacturer.

You can look it up on their website anytime to know about your semi and its options. Some manufacturers have different 5th wheel changing options which is an after-market customization. So make sure you check it out. 

Can You Adjust The Height Of A Semi Truck 5th Wheel?

Yes, you can adjust the height of a semi-truck 5th wheel. With just a push of a button in your cab, you can lift it or lower it to your tows preference. But it also depends on what your semi manufacturers limit. Not all semi trucks can go as low as 11.7 or high as 13.5 feet. So make sure you check it out over the website or your dealer. 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers – FAQs

What should be the height of the fifth wheel to the ground be?

The height of the fish wheel from the ground can range from 8 feet to 13 feet. But it depends on which state you are in and what are the road law about the fifth wheel. Also, it is illegal in all states to have a height of 13.5 feet.

What is the height of the fifth wheel on a Volvo VNL?

The height of the fifth wheel on a Volvo VNL is 140mm from its chassis. It can be raised and lowered at different heights for different VNL models.


The fifth wheel height is an essential piece of detail if you are a semi-driver. If you are not careful enough, you might ram an overpass getting into a new state if the 5th wheel a too high. And we don’t want that to happen. So make sure to keep it at the standard height and learn about each state’s standard before trucking in. 

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