Hitching a trailer can pose some challenges if you are not experienced in trailer handling. It often takes several attempts to hitch the trailer up. Hitching alone can be very frustrating, so here are some helpful hints to help you keep your cool.
Things and tips to remember:
- Ensure that your coupler matches the size of your tow ball;
- Raise the coupler high enough to clear the ball;
- Position your vehicle so that its rear tyres form the top of a rectangle and the trailer front tyres form the bottom;
- Find the centre of your vehicle’s bumper and the centre of your trailer to easily line up with the hitch ball. You can buy dot stickers or decals to help you mark the spot for hitching. Visual aids can simplify the alignment and the backing up process of the vehicle. These may be useful until you get used to the correct alignment;
- Once your vehicle is in position with the coupler over the ball, turn the vehicle engine off and set the park brake;
- Ensure the latch is in the unlocked position;
- Lower the coupler onto the ball until the trailer tyres are properly on the ground. If the coupler clamp is stiff, put a little oil or grease on it to make closing and releasing easier;
- raise the trailer jack up and secure;
- lock the coupler lock/pin;
- secure safety chains, crossing them over underneath the ball to help prevent the trailer hitting the road if it comes off the ball;
- connect lights, keeping the wires up off the road surface;
- check that the brake lights and indicators work properly; and
- Ensure that registration plates/labels are clearly visible once your trailer is packed.