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Attaching a trailer

Attaching a Trailer

Hitching up requires a series of key steps all of which are vital to safely securing your trailer, therefore it’s best to follow a precise routine when hitching and unhitching so that you don’t forget any anything important.

Firstly, begin by applying the trailer handbrake and wind the jockey wheel to the required height – the trailers hitch should be a little higher than the tow ball hitch on your vehicle. Then back towards the trailer. It’s helpful to have someone to guide you in this instance, but if that’s not possible you can either use something leaned up against the hitching point as a guide, or you might have to get out at points to check where you are in proximity to the neck of the trailer.

Try to position the vehicle’s ball hitch directly underneath the trailer hitch if the trailer is too heavy to move, if the trailer is light enough backing up close is entirely suitable and you can move the trailer manually if required.

Ensure that the trailer hitch is unlocked with the handle positioned at a right angle to the neck of the trailer. Use the jockey wheel to lower the trailer hitch onto the tow ball of the vehicle.

Check your coupling head – some have locking handles that automatically lock onto the ball, others are manual and have to be held, producing an indication to show when the ball is in place.

Once you think the coupling head is locked on properly, lower the jockey wheel to lift the back of the vehicle to make sure, and after you are satisfied fully raise the wheel, unclamp it and lock it fully raised. This will ensure there is no damage to the wheel during your journey and also that it will not interfere with the coupling overrun mechanism.

If your trailer has chains to prevent it from becoming detached, then cross them over and attach to the bottom of your vehicle trailer hitch. If it has a breakaway cable instead, attach this to either the special rings some tow bars have, loop it around the bar or around the tow ball neck if there is no alternative. Regardless of whether you are using chains or a breakaway cable, ensure that both have enough slack for cornering, but that neither drag on the ground.

If your trailer has an eye coupling, ensure that the safety locking catch is on and that the pin is fitted. This makes sure that the trailer doesn’t become unhitched at any point.

Once the trailer is attached, there are a few checks to be made before starting your journey. Check the lights, break lights and turn signals by attaching the trailers electrical plug to your vehicle’s electrical system. Adjust both external mirrors so that a view down both sides of the trailer can be obtained. (If you can’t see adequately then extension mirrors should be fitted). Check that your load does not exceed the gross maximum weight, and that it is distributed effectively with the correct weight in the nose.

Once all these steps have been taken you are then good to go – happy towing!