Do you remember your first time? Maybe it was ages ago and didn’t go well. Surely you’ve gotten better over the years. Or maybe you haven’t done it yet and you’re waiting for the right time. After all, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself, right? Weather it comes natural to you or not, everyone has needed help with it at some point. Yes, hooking up your vehicle to your trailer might prove to be a small challenge and may require a bit of practice.
If you have never hitched a trailer to your vehicle or if you still feel slightly uneasy about it, then grab a snack and a pen and paper. Hopefully this article will make you feel like a seasoned pro.
7 Steps To A Perfect Hook-Up
1. Make Sure You Size Up.
Your ball size will be stamped on the top of the hitch ball. Before doing anything, make sure it matches the size of your coupler. Wrong size? Come see us! That’s what we’re here for.
2. Get Some Help.
Phone a friend. Recruit a co-worker. Ask your wife for help. Find someone who knows their lefts and rights and you’re good to go. Have them stand behind you and direct you as you back up until your coupler is directly above the ball mount.
3. No One Around? Take It Slow.
Hey if no one is there to help you, that means no one is there to see you mess up, right? Silver Linings. If you’re doing it alone, just know that it may be a stop and go process. Depending on your vehicle and your height, you may be able to lean out your driver’s window far enough to actually see your coupler. If not, take it a few feet at a time. Get out and check to see how you’re lining up. If needed, make an adjustment and go a few more feet before checking again. Once your hitch ball is directly under it, you can lower the coupler.
4. Use A Backup Camera.
You can bypass all the in and out of your vehicle to check the status of your hitch ball. You can completely forgo the need for assistance in the first place. There are some great cameras out there and we stock the best one: Swift Hitch Portable Camera System. Small enough to stash in the glove compartment and so easy to use. This is great for anyone who tows frequently. It has an insanely long battery life, handheld monitor, and a magnetic base for quick mounting. Check it out!
5. Get Hitched.
If you have a ball clamp coupler, lower it onto the ball to get it into place. After tightening it, you can shake the trailer and then tighten it down some more. A latch style coupler will require the same ball size and and for the latch to be open. After placing the coupler over the hitch ball, close the latch and secure it with a lock or pin. Raise the tongue jack to it’s highest position to get the most ground clearance.
6. Better Safe Than Sorry.
It’s very important that you hook up the safety chains correctly. Crisscross them and hook them into the proper holes in the receiver. Your chains should not be taut as they need enough slack to compensate for turns. However they should not be long enough to drag on the ground.
Lastly you need to ensure that your trailer’s electrical is hooked up to your tow vehicle. This is not optional, as it is a Michigan law that your trailer have at lease one working taillight. Before you hit the road, test your running lights, brake lights and turn signals to be sure they are working. The same rule of the safety chains applies to your trailer harness. Make sure there is enough slack to make the turns but do not let it drag on the ground. For a quick fix, you can use a zip tie to connect it to the hitch to hold it off the ground.
We hope these simple steps and reminders were helpful to you. Hitching up your trailer really shouldn’t be too hard. Just take your time and do it right the first time. Do you have any tricks you use to hook up your trailer? Please share them with us! We’d love to hear from you via Facebook, Linkedin or Google Plus. We would be happy to share your ideas!
At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya!