Whether it's a rental trailer or one you own, towing a trailer for the first time might be a little daunting.
Being the driver who must properly hook up and secure the trailer and load it correctly. The trailer must be driven with caution, slower speed and gracious attitude.
In addition of the added care and caution of the driver, here is a safe towing checklist that will help before you hit the road:
- Coupler, locking pin or latch. When hooking up the trailer to the hitch ball you will want to make sure that the trailer is equipped with some form of a locking system - a coupler that screws down and tightens over the hit ball, a locking pin or a latch that you secure.
- Safety Chains. There are two chains attached to the trailer. These chains cross beneath the trailers tongue, are fed through the holes in the hitch and connected back to themselves. Never tow using safety chains alone and make sure they have enough slack to make a sharp turn and but not dragging on the ground.
- Lighting connections. All trailers must have functioning brake and directional lights. This is a safety feature that alerts other drivers that you are slowing, stopping, changing lanes or turning.
- Tire pressure. Incorrect tire pressure can cause an uneven ride or poor gas mileage. The rear tire pressure of some tow vehicles may be increased to accommodate the additional weight of the trailer. You can inflate the rare tires of the tow vehicle 6 psi above normal pressure, but do not exceed the pressure limit stamped on your tires.
- Automatic hydraulic surge brake. Many large trailers have a hydraulic surge brake. This brake aids in stopping the trailer during deceleration and reduces stress on the tow vehicle. Trailers with Brakes should have a breakaway chain connecting the trailer to the towing vehicle or the hitch.
We wish you safe and fun travels this summer!