How To Adjust Tent Trailer Cables (Step By Step)

If you own a tent trailer, then you know how convenient they are for traveling. They’re easy to set up and break down and can easily fit in the back of your car. 

However, if one of the cables on your tent trailer breaks or snaps, it could be a serious danger to yourself and others around you. If you want to prevent this from happening, it’s important to know how to adjust them safely before leaving on your trip.

Replacement of Goshen lift cable in my popup camper
Adjusting tent trailer cables is an important part of maintaining stability and safety during camping trips.
Proper tensioning of the cables ensures the tent trailer remains secure in various weather conditions.
The adjustment process involves loosening the turnbuckle, adjusting the tension, and tightening the turnbuckle.
Regularly inspecting and adjusting the cables before each camping trip helps prevent issues and ensures a hassle-free experience.
Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions is crucial for proper adjustment and maintenance of tent trailer cables.

Loosen The Tension Adjuster On The Cable

Loosen the tension adjuster on the cable. This is usually located at the bottom of your axle and will have a metal pin sticking up from it with a hexagonal shape. 

You need to loosen this by turning it counterclockwise so that you can remove the cable from your trailer’s gearbox. Make sure not to loosen too much as you don’t want to accidentally loosen everything and cause yourself some problems!

Check for rust or corrosion. If there is any rust or corrosion present on any of your cables, this could cause them not to work properly! If this happens, then we recommend replacing all of them at once instead of trying to clean or repair them individually (it would be much easier). 

Another option would be using industrial grade lubricate such as WD-40® Spray Lube™ (which works great against both water and oil based substances) which can help prevent future corrosion while also providing additional protection against wear & tear over time too!

Adjusting guide ropes is an essential part of tent setup. To ensure a stable and secure camping experience, follow our expert advice on adjusting guide ropes on a tent for proper tent maintenance.

Identify The Problem

You have to identify the problem with your tent trailer before you can fix it. Here are some things to look out for:

Check The Lights

Is the light on your trailer working? If so, check the light switch and see if it’s in the right position. If not, flip it around until it works properly. If that doesn’t help at all, then you might need a new bulb or ballast unit (which is what makes sure that electricity flows through).

Check The Tension Adjuster

Is there any slackness in your cable adjustment? This might be because of an issue with a pulley the pulley is what connects one end of a cable to another end; if it’s loose then you’ll have trouble pulling down on one side without having them both come down at once! 

It could also mean that either end has slipped out from its respective screw holes on either side of whatever they’re attached too (like when you try tightening up those screws but find there isn’t enough room). 

In this case try cleaning off any dirt/rusty metal bits using WD40 or grease followed by reapplying some lubricant before trying again; but remember not too much because too much pressure could cause damage just as easily! 

You could also replace these parts altogether if necessary which would save time later on down the line when other problems arise due to poor maintenance practices.

Check Loose Connections

For this step, you will need to check all of your connections. All of the connectors should be tight and secure. You’ll also want to make sure that the battery terminals are tight, as well as the ground connection under your trailer.


Pulleys are used to redirect the force of a cable. They can be found on either side of your trailer, usually just below where you attach your tent trailer to your vehicle. 

Pulleys can wear out over time, so it’s important to check them periodically and replace them if they’re damaged or worn out.

When camping on the beach, anchoring your tent is crucial to withstand the winds. Learn how to securely anchor your tent with our easy-to-follow steps in our guide on anchoring a tent on the beach and enjoy a worry-free beach camping experience.

Loosen The Cable Adjuster On Your Trailer

Loosen the cable adjuster on your trailer.

The type of cable adjuster depends on your specific model. It may be a knob or a lever, and it will most likely be located near where you attach the trailer to your vehicle. If you can’t find it, ask someone who knows about trailers to help out.

Once you’ve loosened the cable adjuster, twist off both ends of the rope where they meet inside of it. 

Pull gently until each rope is fully extended from its respective end point (either through one end of another rope or through a pulley), then tighten everything up again by re-inserting both ends into their assigned slots in their respective pieces of hardware (like nuts).

Clean And Lubricate With WD40, Grease, Or Other Lubricants

When the cables are in good working order, they’ll be easy to slide through pulleys and be perfectly balanced with the weight of your tent trailer. That’s why it’s important to take care of them by cleaning and lubricating them regularly.

WD-40 is a great lubricant to use on the cables and pulleys, but there are other types of lubricants available at auto supply stores or online. 

You can also try using grease or oil for your specific needs; just make sure that you choose one that has been tested for use with tents or trailers!

Stakes not available? No problem! Discover effective methods for anchoring your tent without stakes by checking out our solution-packed guide on anchoring a tent without stakes. Ensure stability on any surface without compromising your camping adventure.

Get New Tent Trailer Cables

If your tent trailer is still under warranty, it’s best to contact the company that made your trailer and ask them how to go about replacing (or repairing) the cables. 

They will be able to tell you where to buy new ones, or if they’re available locally.

If you’re not under warranty and don’t want to deal with replacing them yourself, then check out some local auto parts stores that sell replacement tent trailer cables and take a look at what they have in stock before purchasing anything online.

When buying new parts for any vehicle, there are two very important things we strongly recommend:

Don’t Tighten Too Much

One of the most common mistakes people make is tightening the cable too much. This can cause it to break, or even damage other parts of your tent trailer. The rule is simple: tighten enough so that it holds fast but not so much that you risk breaking anything.

If you find yourself over-tightening one of your cables and there’s no way to undo the knot, try loosening one end and then tying a new knot at the end of it. 

You could also cut off some of the excess cable after untying everything, but this might leave some sharp edges that could fray or tear more easily in future use.

Make Sure You Have Enough Slack

Slack is important for safety, ease of use and flexibility, but not too much of it. If you’re using a long cable ladder or if your tent trailer’s cables are really long, it’s possible that the cable may become too loose and create an unsafe situation where the cable could hang too low or touch something else that could cause damage. 

In those cases, consider adding extra tension to the anchor points instead of loosening them to accommodate for more slack in the line.

Concrete surfaces require specific anchoring techniques for your tent. Find out the best practices and step-by-step instructions in our comprehensive guide on anchoring a tent on concrete to secure your tent trailer and enjoy a safe camping experience.

Check For Rust Or Corrosion

Corrosion and rust are a common problem on tent trailer cables. The corrosion can cause the cable to become difficult to adjust, which may lead you to believe that the problem is with your cables. 

However, it could be that there is no adjustment needed at all it could simply be that corrosion has built up in the cable, making it impossible for any amount of pulling or turning to be effective.

To check whether your cable is rusted or corroded:

Take a close look at both ends of each cable you’d like to adjust (if they’re too long, cut them in half). 

You should see some sort of coating around these sections; this is what keeps moisture out while protecting them from damage caused by sun exposure. 

If there’s no coating present where there should be one, then this means that moisture has gotten into these areas and caused some serious damage over time!

ItemRust or Corrosion
Metal BoltYes
Iron PipeYes
Steel WireNo

Check For Misaligned Teeth In Gearbox

Now that you’ve checked your cable, it’s time to look at the gearbox. If you find that there are misaligned teeth in the gearbox, then it is likely that your problem lies here. 

The best thing to do is replace your gearbox and start fresh with a new one. However, if no replacement is available or cost prohibitive (which we understand), then cleaning and lubing should do the trick. 

When cleaning make sure not to get any water inside of either end of the cable; this will cause rusting and corrosion which may damage the cables further down their length. 

In addition, check for fraying or damage to any wires inside of each end of each cable segment as this could also cause issues later on down its length as well

Double Check All Cables For Fraying Or Damage

After you have tightened the cable, ensure that there is no fraying or other damage to the cable. If there is, replace it immediately.

You never know when an electrical problem could occur with your trailer and it’s best to be prepared for anything at all times.

Cable TypeFraying or Damage
Power CableYes
HDMI CableNo
USB CableYes

Replace Parts As Needed (Trailer)

Check the trailer for any signs of damage, such as dents or cracks. If you see any damage on your trailer, make sure to have it repaired before driving it back home.

Change cables if they are frayed or damaged. If you notice that one of your cables is frayed or damaged in some way, then you will need to replace it with a new cable as soon as possible. 

While using a damaged cable may not cause an accident right away, over time this can lead to serious problems with your cables and hitch system that could possibly lead to an accident while driving down the road!

Looking for a quick and easy fix for anchoring your tent? Our guide on anchoring a tent provides practical tips and techniques to ensure stability and peace of mind during your outdoor adventures.

Replace Parts As Needed (Tent)

If you need to replace your tent, there are a few things to consider. First, if it’s damaged beyond repair or is worn out and you’ve had it for several years, then it’s time to get rid of that tent and get a new one. 

Second, if your family has grown and the old family-sized tent is no longer large enough for everyone, then it might be time for an upgrade! 

Thirdly (and this goes without saying), if you want a different color or style than what was originally purchased from the store you should certainly buy something else! 

The last thing we want is for people who bought black tents getting blue ones instead because they weren’t paying attention when shopping around.

Tent polesSturdy aluminum poles for structural support.
Guy linesStrong and durable ropes for anchoring and stability.
Tent stakesMetal stakes for securing the tent to the ground.
RainflyWaterproof and protective cover for the tent.
Tent fabricHigh-quality and tear-resistant material for the tent body.
ZippersReliable and smooth-operating zippers for easy access.

Replace Tent Trailer Cables If Necessary (Parts)

As a tent trailer owner, you may find yourself having to replace a cable at some point in the life of your trailer. If a cable is frayed or damaged, it definitely needs replacement. 

Cable age can also be a factor in how often you need to replace cables if you have an older tent trailer, for example, its cables are likely on their last legs already and should be replaced before they break. 

If there’s anything wrong with the size or type of cable that came with your tent trailer, or if it doesn’t fit with any other part of your setup (for example: if the new cable runs into problems when trying to connect with other parts), then this will necessitate buying new ones.


Adjusting tent trailer cables can be a little tricky. It’s important to have them adjusted properly so that your tent trailer will stay in place when you hook it up to your vehicle. 

This can be difficult if you don’t know how to do it correctly because there are several different types of cables and several different ways that they can be attached. Some are even “self-adjusting.”

It’s important to know what type of cable you have before attempting any adjustments because some will require special tools or equipment not found on most vehicles today. 

Further Reading

Popup Explorer Forum: Tips and Tricks for Tent Trailer Setup: Join the discussion on Popup Explorer Forum and explore valuable tips and tricks shared by fellow tent trailer enthusiasts.

12V System for Camper Vans: Learn about setting up a reliable 12V system for your camper van with this informative guide from Asobo Life.

Pop-Up Setup Guide: American RV Center provides a comprehensive pop-up setup guide to help you effortlessly prepare and enjoy your camping adventures.


How long does it take to adjust tent trailer cables?

The time required to adjust tent trailer cables can vary depending on the specific trailer model and the complexity of the cable system. It typically takes around 15-30 minutes to complete the adjustment process.

Can I use regular tent ropes instead of guide ropes for my tent trailer?

While regular tent ropes may have similar functions, it is recommended to use guide ropes specifically designed for tent trailers. Guide ropes are usually stronger and more durable to withstand the additional weight and stress exerted on tent trailers.

What tools do I need to adjust tent trailer cables?

The tools needed to adjust tent trailer cables may vary depending on the trailer model. However, common tools often include a wrench or pliers to loosen or tighten cable tension, a screwdriver for adjusting cable attachments, and a tape measure for precise adjustments.

How often should I check and adjust my tent trailer cables?

It is advisable to check and adjust tent trailer cables before each camping trip to ensure proper tension and stability. Additionally, regular inspections and adjustments should be done every few months or as recommended by the trailer manufacturer.

Are there any safety precautions to consider when adjusting tent trailer cables?

Yes, safety precautions should always be taken when adjusting tent trailer cables. Ensure that the trailer is on a stable and level surface, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Use caution while working with tensioned cables and avoid over-tightening to prevent damage or accidents.