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Trailer Couplings

Trailer Couplings 

ATE UK are committed to delivering high-quality products to ensure towed fleet efficiency. We have on offer an extensive range of in-stock trailer couplings from well-known manufacturers including Alko, Avonride, BPW, Knott, Indespension, Meredith & Eyre and Bradley; and we can provide advice and guidance as to the trailer couplings option that your trailer requires.

Whether you are towing a caravan for leisure purposes or a trailer for business reasons, our trailer parts and spares are compliant with ISO and BSI safety standards to guarantee quality and safety.


A trailer coupler is the piece of metal that connects your trailer or caravan to the towing vehicle. It is bolted or welded to your trailer’s frame rail before it fits over the tow ball of the towing vehicle. The coupler clamps around the tow ball to prevent disconnecting but has enough give to allow for pivoting around bends and undulations in the road surface. The dual function and the fact that trailers are stored in the open elements, subjects couplers to a large amount of wear and tear and gives the opportunity for corrosion to occur, and so attention must be given to the coupler’s condition before each use. We provide our customers with an early bird next day delivery option for orders placed before 3.30pm, guaranteeing delivery before noon so that disruption to your planned journey is kept to a minimum.

Do I Need Braked or Unbraked Trailer Couplings?

Whether you need braked or unbraked trailer couplings depends on what is currently on your trailer. An unbraked trailer means that all the breaking comes from the towing vehicle. A braked trailer activates brakes through a mechanical link from the tow bar; if the car brakes, it activates the trailers brakes.

By law, if your trailer is capable of pulling a load of 750 kg or half the towing vehicles’ kerb weight, whichever is less, it can be unbraked; a braked trailer can only pull a load of a maximum of 3,500 kg. If you are unsure about the braking on your trailer, contact one of our specialist team who will be more than happy to help you choose the trailer couplings that you need; never guess!

Why Does My Trailer Bang The Tow Vehicle When I Brake?

If your trailer is coming into contact with the tow vehicle during motion, you need to pay immediate attention to rectifying the situation as a matter of urgency. It may be that the damper in the coupling has eroded. The damper acts as a shock absorber, and if it is damaged, you may experience the trailer drifting when you brake or hitting the towing vehicle. You must replace the damper and inspect the other working parts of the coupling to ensure that other parts have not been damaged in the process. Damage can occur through poor brake adjustment, or in response to other parts of the mechanics that have seised.  

Always be alert to the differences in how your trailer reacts to being used; the trailer couplings may look as all is well, but often damage occurs to the working parts within the casing which won’t be visible from a roadside inspection.

How Can I Prolong The Life Of My Trailer Couplings?

To protect your trailer couplings from the elements, and therefore reduce the risk of corrosion, always cover the trailer couplings when the trailer is not being used. In an ideal world your trailer should be stored undercover, but in reality, this is not always feasible. You can, however, use the heavy-duty PVC covers that you have to protect your load to keep your trailer couplings from the elements.

Driving with a trailer is a very different experience to driving without one, and how you drive can impact the longevity of your trailer’s coupling. Below are some tips on how to ensure a smooth drive, which will lessen the impact on the trailer’s coupling:

Anticipate any hazards in advance.

Pay attention to your acceleration and braking, especially down hills, and around corners and bends.

Avoid sharp braking to reduce the risk of jack-knifing.

Progressively brake, i.e. apply them lighter and earlier than you ordinarily would.

Leave more distance between you and the vehicle in front to avoid the need for quick reactions.

Never overload your trailer. Your trailer is designed to withstand certain weights, and the manufacturers are very clear about the maximum loads that are legally allowed to be carried by the trailer. Overloading your trailer is not only illegal but will negatively impact on the mechanics of the trailer couplings and limit their functionality and lifetime.

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