Before You Hitch A Trailer

1) Check Vehicle Towing Weight

The first thing you will need to do before you hitch up your trailer is check that the load capacity of the trailer matches the weight that your vehicle can legally tow.

2) Inspect Trailer Condition

Now you will need to inspect the trailer for any cracked welds, rust, or damage and ensure that the tow hitch and safety chains are secure. You will also need to check the tow bar and ball on the towing vehicle for any damage.

3) Check Tailgate

Finally, check that the tailgate can easily be opened and closed. You may need to loosen up the securing mechanism before use.

how to tow a trailer

How To Hitch A Trailer

1) Attach The Coupling

First, you will need to lower the jockey wheel. Start with the jockey wheel set higher than needed while you line up the coupling with the tow bar. Once in place, lower the jockey wheel until the trailer is in line with the tow bar and the coupling is fit snugly over the tow bar.
Note: some trailer couplings may have screw fitting to you can use to tighten the connection so that it can’t jump off.

how to hitch a trailer

2) Release Emergency Brake

Remove the jockey wheel and release the emergency brakes on the trailer by pulling the brake lever back toward the trailer.

3) Connect Safety Chains

Connect the safety chains to the tow bar using the ‘D’ shackle ensuring that they cross over from left to right. This will prevent the trailer from falling to the ground if the trailer uncouples while in use.
Note: Some older trailers may only have one safety chain.

4) Connect Trailer Lights

Connect the cable for the trailer’s lights to the towing car. If the plug doesn’t fit you will need an adaptor (if hiring a trailer, the hiring company will likely have a range of adaptors available for use).

5) Check Trailer Lights

Finally, check that when each light on the car is in use, the corresponding light on the trailer also lights up (check indicator lights, brake lights, and reverse lights).

How To Drive With A Trailer:

1) Increase Following Distance

The most important change to make when driving with a trailer is to increase your following distance. Even if the trailer has its own brakes, the extra load exerted on the towing vehicle means that your stopping distance will increase.

2) Avoid Braking Suddenly

Avoid braking hard or suddenly as this can cause the trailer to “jackknife” (this is where the trailer moves around towards the side of your car making the vehicle unable to be driven).

3) Drive With Caution Over Hills

When driving over hills with a trailer, select a lower gear before descending (as a general rule, use the same gear that you would use to climb the hill). If driving an automatic car, manually select a lower gear. This is important as the extra weight from the trailer means that your vehicle won’t respond as normal.

Never descend a hill with a trailer in neutral with no engine braking as this will greatly increase the chance of losing control of the vehicle.

4) Allow More Room When Overtaking

When overtaking another vehicle, allow a lot more room than you normally would when driving without a trailer hitched.

How To Reverse A Trailer

1) Steering Is Reversed

Reversing a trailer can be difficult, even for those with experience. It is important to remember that if you turn the back of the towing vehicle to the left, the back of the trailer will move to the right. Similarly, turning the back of your vehicle to the right will cause the back of the trailer to turn to the left.

2) Take It Slow

Be aware that trailers, particularly smaller trailers, may not respond to steering initially when reversing, then suddenly snap sideways.

3) Have A Spotter

When reversing with limited space, move slowly and pay close attention to where your trailer is moving to avoid causing damage to surrounding property. If possible, have another person stand at a safe distance from the vehicle to signal when you are getting close to surrounding objects.

4) Practise

If possible, find an open area to practise reversing your trailer before trying it in a confined space.

Australian Made Trailers - Manufacturer Direct Prices

The following technical light requirements must be followed for road legal trailers and trailer inspections.

Austrailers Queensland manufacture high quality trailers locally in our Clontarf manufacturing facility. We have a wide range of trailers available including box trailers, car trailers, tradesman trailers, and even custom trailers. We also offer financing options so you can have your trailer no and pay later. Call Austrailers Queensland on 07 3040 5192 for all of you trailer needs!