Congrats on buying your desired trailer! Owning a utility or cargo trailer makes transporting multiple items a whole lot easier and more convenient. But before you load it up and hit the road, it’s basic yet most important to know how to hitch and unhitch a trailer to your tow vehicle. In this guide, we’ve made it easier for you.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO HITCH YOUR TRAILER
Step 1: Positioning the Trailer
Carefully position the hitching coupler over the tow ball. If you have a jockey wheel on the trailer, use this to lower the coupler over the ball, otherwise you can just lower it carefully by hand.
Step 2: Release the Handle
Once the coupler is in position, releasing the handle will lock the trailer in the right place. Lower the coupler until it has completely covered the hitch ball. Make sure the ball clamp is below the ball and not riding on top of it.
Step 3: Safety Pin
Lock the handle and the safety pin to keep the coupler secured.
Step 4: Connect the Safety Chain
Connect the safety chain to the vehicle using the D shackle. You’ll need to make sure the screw is tightened into the shackle thread and not loosely inserted.
Step 5: Connect the Light Lead
Connecting the light lead will activate lights on the trailer. Test the tail lights, brake lights and blinkers to make sure everything is connected correctly.
Step 6: Jockey Wheel
Stow away the jockey wheel and you’re set to go.
KNOWING THE TRAILER PARTS
The main parts of a trailer that are involved in hitching and unhitching are:
The Hitching Coupler: The coupler is usually a ball type, and it attaches to the ball on the vehicle for a more secure connection. In Australia, the tow ball needs to be 50mm.
The Handle: This locks the tow ball and releases it.
The Safety Pin: The safety pin keeps the coupler from jumping off during transport. Always make sure you have the safety pin latched in place before driving off.
The Safety Chain: This is added protection in case the coupling fails. The chain has a D shackle that connects straight to your vehicle. Some trailers only have one chain but larger trailers may have two. If you have two chains always remember they have to be crossed before you set off.
The Light Lead Connector: This connects the lights of your vehicle to the trailer. Light lead connectors come in a range of different types to suit different vehicles.
TOW VEHICLE HITCH COMPONENTS
Receiver Hitch – The Square tubing that is bolted or welded to the frame of the towing vehicle.
Ball Mount – A square bar that fits into the receiver hitch which comes separately from the receiver hitch, and can come in several different heights depending on the height of the vehicle and trailer.
Trailer Ball – This part is attached to the end of the ball mount which is used to attach to the coupler of the trailer.
Please note: It is an offence to have any items in your trailer that are not secured tightly before hitting the road. Make sure you have everything tied down and any loose items are covered before you set off.
Always be aware when you’re hitching or unhitching a trailer. Notice if something looks out of place, double check to make sure it’s hitched properly and discuss any concerns with your travel mate.