How To Safely Hitch Your Trailer
August 08, 2017
Trailers come in all shapes and sizes, and to be able to safely tow any trailer you need to make sure it is properly hitched to the tow vehicle. Don’t be the next YouTube Towing Fail sensation! We have everything there is to know about safely connecting your trailer hitch to your towing vehicle.
Do You Have the Correct Towing Vehicle to Haul Your Trailer?
You need to make sure you have the right vehicle for the load you are hauling. First, you will need to determine what the overall weight and tongue weight is on the trailer you will be hauling. You can figure this out a couple of ways. (a.) You can look on the manufacturer's decal sticker to see if they added the information or (b.) you can take the trailer to a commercial scale and have it weighed.
Next, you check out your towing vehicle to determine what the towing capacity and tongue weight capacity on the hitch is. Once, you have both the trailer weights and towing vehicle's weight capacities you will be able to determine if you are safe towing your trailer. As long as the weight and tongue weight of the trailer do not exceed the capacity of the vehicle then you are ok to travel safely down the road.
If you find that the hitch or tow vehicle is not rated to haul your trailer then you will need to look at upgrading your vehicle or your hitch. You could also look into installing a weight distribution hitch to add to the trailer stability.
What are the Hitch Parts on Your Trailer and Towing Vehicle?
Tow Vehicle Hitch Components
Receiver Hitch - The square tubing that is bolted or welded to the frame of the towing vehicle.
Ball Mount - This is the square bar that fits into the receiver hitch. This part comes separately from the receiver hitch and can come in several different heights depending on the height of the vehicle and trailer. You want to make sure you have the right height to have level towing.
Trailer Ball - This part is attached to the end of the ball mount which is used to attached to the coupler of the trailer.
Trailer Hitch Components
Hitch Coupler - The coupler is the connection point between the trailer and the tow vehicle. The coupler connects to the ball of the on the vehicle's hitch.
Safety Chains - Safety chains are an added level of protection while towing. They connect from the front of the trailer to the receiver of the towing vehicle. They are there in case the coupler and the ball becomes disconnected.
Electrical - This is the wiring harness that connects the trailer to the truck to run the trailer lights and turn signals while towing.
Locking Lever - The locking lever is what locks the coupler to the ball and prevents the ball and coupler from becoming detached.
How to Safely Hitch Your Trailer?
Now that you know the towing capacity of your towing vehicle can handle the weight of your trailer, you can properly hitch your trailer to your vehicle. It is always best to have a second person to help you back-up to the trailer so you do not have an accident in the process. This person can safely guide you to line up the coupler with the ball directly.
Once, the ball is directly under the coupler you can lower the trailer down onto the ball until it locks into place. Then you lock the locking lever to secure the ball into its position.
Most of the common mistakes when connecting the ball and coupler are made during this step. The ball isn’t secure and then dislodges from its place while going down the road.
Next, you connect the safety chains to the receiver hitch, but you first want to crisscross them for added safety measures. Then you connect the electrical cord to the connection point in the bumper of the towing vehicle and make sure all of the lights are properly working.
Now you are ready to take your safe trip down the road in your properly connected trailer and towing vehicle. Using this information will ensure the safety of you and everyone else around you on the road while traveling.