How To Hitch A Trailer: A step-by-step guide for safe trailer hire
Hitching a trailer may seem like a daunting task, but it’s a necessary skill to learn for anyone looking to hire or own a trailer. Weather you’re hauling furniture across town or taking a camping trip, properly hitching your trailer can help ensure a safe and successful journey. In this article, we’ll go over the step-by-step process of hitching a trailer, along with some important safety tips to keep in mind. If you’re in need of trailer hire, this guide will help you get started on the right foot.
- Check your equipment before you start hitching your trailer. It’s important both the tow vehicle and the trailer have the right equipment and are in working order. Make sure your vehicle is fitted with a towing tongue and a 50mm tow ball. Ensure the tow vehicle has had a recent inspection on the trailer plug function and all outgoing connections work on the vehicle. Also, inspect the trailer coupling to ensure all components are present and in working order.
- Use the jockey wheel, to raise the trailer above the tow ball. You want to ensure there is plenty of clearance to ensure your vehicle does not contact the trailer.
- Reverse the vehicle slowly up to the trailer, and position the tow ball directly under the trailer coupling. Never drag the trailer to the vehicle, you could easily injure yourself in the process.
- Using the jockey stand, lower the trailer coupling onto the tow ball. Once a good connection is made, the jockey stand should be free without any load. If you are not confident the coupling has seated correctly, push down on the trailer, or stand on the drawbar to provide downward pressure on the coupling.
- Lower the handle until the safety latch is in its correct position, then fit a clip or pin to the latch to secure the handle in place.
- Lift the reverse lockout latch to allow the trailer brakes to operate.
- Release the handbrake into its lowered position.
- Stow the jockey stand into a horizontal position. Always have the handle facing upwards, otherwise it may make contact and break.
- Connect safety chains via D-shackles to the vehicle. If the chains hang too low. You can shorten them in two ways.
- 1. Twist the chains before attaching them with shackles
- 2. Place the shackles through another link on the chain.
- If the trailer has two chains, they must be crossed when attached. This will allow the chains to properly catch the trailer if it accidentally disconnects from the vehicle.
- Connect the wiring loom, ensuring the correct orientation of the plug. Check lights are operational. This is extremely important for road safety, especially at night.
Conclusion: Hitching a trailer may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and careful attention to detail, it can become second nature. By following these steps and keeping safety in mind, you can ensure a successful and stress-free trailer hire experience. Remember to always check your equipment, stay within your vehicle’s towing capacity, and follow local laws and regulations. Happy towing!
If you are NOT confident in your ability to safely hitch a trailer, please have someone with experience help. Alternatively, give us a call and our team can assist.