5 Essential Safety Tips for Hitching a Trailer
Trailers are an important tool for work and play, but proper preparation and usage play an important role in whether or not your trailer (and you) get safely from point A to point B. An improperly hitched trailer can break free and cause major damage on the road. Fortunately, most of these accidents are completely preventable. Here are five important safety tips for hitching a trailer.
1. Use the Right Size Hitch Ball
The size of your hitch ball matters down to the smallest eighth of an inch. If you have a 2-inch trailer, you should be using a 2-inch hitch ball. Otherwise, the trailer could pop off during towing and have dire consequences. The process for latching your trailer should go smoothly, without resistance or force, and make sure to use a pin or lock to safely secure it.
2. Pick the Right Vehicle & Hitch for Trailer’s Weight
Weight is an essential factor in pulling a trailer. Before settling on a vehicle, make sure to look up exactly how much weight it can safely tow by looking it up in the owner’s manual. Once you’ve settled on a car, you can focus on finding the right hitch. Based on the gross trailer weight (GTW) and maximum tongue weight, you can use this guide to identify which class of hitch you need. Keep in mind that within each classification are numerous hitches made by a variety of manufacturers.
3. Choose a Ball Mount That Keeps the Trailer Level
To limit sway, you want to make sure that you have the right amount of rise or drop to keep the trailer level with your car or truck. To determine whether your ball mount will need to have rise or drop, subtract the receiver tube height from the coupler height. If this number is positive, you need rise. If it’s negative, you need drop. Consult your trailer dealer to help find the right ball mount.
4. Cross the Safety Chains
You should always be using safety chains when pulling a trailer. For added safety that prevents any additional damage, arrange them into an X when hooking them up. Crossing your safety chains helps to form a cradle so that, in the event of the ball and hitch separating, they will catch the tongue and minimize the amount of damage.
5. Check the Lights
Lighting and wiring problems can be common with trailers. Make the road a safer place for you and those around you by double-checking your trailer lights before backing out of the driveway. Once the lights are connected, make sure to check the brakes, hazards, both turn signals, and running lights, with the tow vehicle’s headlights on.
Safety comes first, especially when it comes to trailer usage. With these essential safety tips for hitching a trailer, you’ll be arriving safe and sound at your destination in no time at all. If you have any hesitations or questions while hitching your trailer, consult a professionally trained expert and allow them to set you up with all the bells and whistles.