Category Archives: Helpful Hints and Tips

Get professional insight on all things towing related!

DIY: Repack Wheel Bearings

Repack Wheel BearingsIt’s one of those “adulting is hard” chores that just has to get done whether or not you feel like it.

And hey, if you don’t want to do it, bring it in! Cory can repack wheel bearings like it’s his job. Well, I suppose technically it is his job.

Anyways.

If you’re here, then you’d probably rather DIY and save some money. That’s great! We put together this quick step by step tutorial to help you along the way.

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Why you NEED to Repack Wheel Bearings

The wheel bearings need to stay well lubricated to work properly while bearing the weight of your trailer. Unfortunately, over time the grease breaks down, especially if water works its way inside the bearings. Therefore, it’s important to repack wheel bearings with grease on a regular basis.

It is recommended to do so every year or 10,000 miles. We are more than happy to do this for you at our shop; we take pride in providing the best trailer service in west Michigan. But we’re also happy to help out the DIYers at home!

5 Steps to Repack Wheel Bearings

Before you begin, you will want to have all your materials out and ready to go. Here is a complete list of everything you might want to use.

Materials Neededwheel-bearings
-Hammer
-Needle-nose pliers
-2 Jack stands
-Large flat head screwdriver
-Large adjustable wrench
-Wrench for lug nuts
-Solvent
-New cotter pin
-Bearing grease
-Gloves, clean rags and small pan

Some of these things can be substituted with a different tool, however having all these things on hand will help you do get the job done in a quick and somewhat* clean manner. Once you have these things it’s time to get in and get your hands dirty!12StepsBearing

Step 1: Removal

With the axle raised on a jack, remove the wheel and then the dustcap. The flat head screwdriver will work to take off the dustcap. Next, remove the cotter pin by unbending it and pulling it our with your needle nose pliers.  And finally remove the rear bearing.

Step 2: Cleaning 

Now it is time to take the seal out of the bearing. There are several ways to do this but we recommend simply prying it out with your flat head screw driver. Once that is out, you can remove the inner bearing as well. Use solvent to clean all the old grease off of the bearings, races, seal and hub surfaces. It’s important that you clean all parts thoroughly!

Step 3: Repacking

Once everything is out and clean, you can do the actual repacking. Do this by putting a glob of fresh grease on your palm and begin working it into the bearing. Make sure that it is fully packed and no gaps remain. It’s also ideal to add another layer of grease around the rollers, on the bearing race surfaces on the hub and the bearing’s faces. Basically, anywhere you can put new grease; do it.

Grease= good.

Step 4: Replacing

Once you’re done playing in the grease, tap in a new seal, ensuring that is is even and snug.

Step 5: Assembly

Really, the only thing left is to just put it all back together. Place the drum back on the axle (maybe add yet another glob of grease to it’s face). After the careful placement of the thrust washer and spindle nut, the drum should easily spin on the axle. Insert the new cotter pin and cover with the dustcap. After putting the wheel back in place, you’re done!

Well… with that one wheel, anyways.

Grandville Trailer Mechanic

Here is an additional list of tips to help you get the job done perfectly.
-If your trailer has been in storage for some time, it still needs this service done. Grease will break down on a parked trailer, too.
-Don’t torque the spindle nut when you are re-assembling. It will crush the bearings. Just make sure it is snug.
-Always replace the cotter pin.
-And just in case you happen to be “that guy” stranded on the highway, we think it’s a good idea to carry an extra set of seals and bearings, all which you can find in our store.


Trailer Service at Grandville Trailer

This simple task should take you about an hour to complete and is something that most people can do on their own at home. However, if you can’t find the time or space to do it yourself, need to bring your trailer in for another reason anyways, or are just having a bad Tuesday, we are more than happy to do this for you!

That’s what we’re here for!

Do you have an extra set of seals and bearings stored in your truck or trailer? If you don’t, you might consider swinging by and grabbing some. If you want to tackle this project at home, we are more than happy to answer any questions you have while you are here!

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya! 

-Ally Mollenkamp
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LEAF SPRING vs. TORSION AXLE

“What’s the difference between a leaf spring and torsion axle?”

This is a very common question that our customers have when purchasing a trailer. Leaf spring vs. torsion axle; which one is better? We’d like to take a moment to educate YOU, the buyer on each of the two suspension types.  Consider it a quick crash course in trailer suspension.  We want to save you from getting ‘wrapped around the axle’,  and give you the confidence to make the right decision when buying a trailer.

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Leaf Spring vs. Torsion

Leaf Spring Axle

Leaf Spring Axles are the most commonly used suspension systems in the trailer industry and come standard on almost every type of trailer. They are made up of a series of curved stacked springs (leaves) that are attached under or over the trailer’s axle.  This is commonly called over-slung or under-slung.

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Over-slung

Under-slung

Under-slung

Leaf Spring Pro’s: 

  • Even weight distribution due to the built-in weight equalizer
  • Even tire wear for multi axle trailers
  • More affordable (up front)
  • Durable
  • Cheap and easy to repair

Leaf Spring Con’s: 

  • Repairs are needed more frequently
  • Bouncy ride on uneven or rough roads
  • Metal on metal design typically leads to faster wear

TORSION AXLE:

The stiff competitor of the Leaf Spring Axle, is known as the Torsion Axle. Torsion axles mount directly to the trailer’s frame and are made up of thick rubber cords concealed inside the axle’s tubing.  These cords are created to resist torsion and create suspension. Trailers don’t generally come stock with the torsion axle, but it is an available upgrade in many models.

Torsion Axle Pro’s:

  • Dependable
  • Quiet/Smoother ride
  • No metal on metal contact
  • Offers trailer rigidity as axle is bolted to the trailer
  • Increases handling control in crosswinds/rough roads
  • Maintenance free (except wheel bearing lubrication)

Torsion Axle Con’s

  • Not repairable
  • Costs more to replace
  • Severely bent axle can damage trailer frame
  • No impact distribution (ie: hitting a curb) full impact on one wheel or set of wheels
  • Rubber cords become stiffer in colder weather

Not everyone agrees on which axle type is better and it really depends on your preferences. Where you live, how often you use your trailer and what you’re carrying will play a big role in deciding which axle is right for you. If you have any more questions, please give us a call at 616-538-2290 or stop by. Also, keep in mind that we do have a full service garage and we are happy to assist you with any upgrades or maintenance that you need!

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How do you Know You are Hauling at the right Tongue Height? Here’s the Steps to Make Sure that you Are

So last month on the Grandville Trailer blog we posted about the Weigh Safe Hitch that has tons of adjustable features, including, adjustable height. Now you may be asking yourself, ” How do I know the right tongue height for the trailer I am towing?” You may also be asking yourself, “What’s wrong with towing something with the trailer not level?” Well, I’m here to answer those questions for you.

Let’s start with learning what the right ball mount height is needed for the trailer you are towing. It’s no secret that both trailers and vehicles have different heights. The goal, when determining the height of the ball mount, is trying to keep the trailer as level as possible when driving down the road. First, you need to determine if you need our ball mount to have a rise or a drop. If the trailer coupler (the spot that rests on the ball mount), is taller than the receiving tube (the opening that the ball mount goes into on your vehicle), than you need your ball mount in the rise position. If the opposite is true than you need your ball mount in the drop position.

coupler height                                                             Hitch-Height-300x300

Now you are asking, “How much rise or drop do I need?” Well you can figure this out with a level and a measuring tape. First, make sure that your trailer is level, then measure from the ground to the bottom of the coupler. Next measure from the ground to the top of the receiving tube on your vehicle. The difference is the amount of drop or rise that you need.

Check out this video for a nice visual to walk you through the steps.

 

Now to answer the question about why the height of your trailer is important. The short answer is that it is easier to tow something at the right height. The longer answer is, if the tongue of the trailer is low, it puts stress on the suspension of the vehicle, along with making it more likely that you will feel the trailer sway. If the tongue of the trailer is too high, then it also puts stress on the  suspension. I’ve heard that the trick is to have the tongue of the trailer slightly higher when it is empty so that it sits level when it is loaded.

I hope that this answers all the questions that you have about ball height!

 

Helpful Hints On Weight Distribution

trailer-heavy-on-tongueHave you ever seen this?

The classic dangerous duo rolling down the highway. I notice this all the time (a lot more since joining the trailer industry.) Obviously the trailer in the first picture is loaded heavily in the front, resulting in too much tongue weight. Another risky situation is too much tail weight. When the back of the trailer is loaded too heavily it can be harder to tow and can result in injury when unhooking.

Proper weight distribution is an important aspect of trailer safety. If your truck and trailer have been looking like either of these pictures, don’t worry, just watch this video to learn how to prevent problems on the road. And if you’re a seasoned trailer loader, pass this knowledge on after you see the handy tips in this video. I love the level idea that they show us!

Video: Weight Distribution 
By: Aluma TrailersAluma_Logo_400

-We’d like to add that we are a proud Aluma dealer! Check out our full listing of Aluma Trailers here. Or browse their website and let us know if you want to make an order. We hope to see you soon! 

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya!

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4 Steps To Overcome A Disastrous Tire Blowout

4848731851_e365acc65c_bWe all know that scary, unexpected things can happen on the highway. It can become a place of disaster and tragedy in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, disaster can strike in the form of a failed tire. I came to the realization that I have never given much thought to tire blowouts. Sure, I’ve had a flat tire, but never the tire explosion that sends your car out of control while leaving a rubber trail. I see the leftover rubber just about every time I’m on the highway, but I’ve never actually seen a tire blowout, let alone been in the car when it happened.

So, naturally, I went to YouTube in search of a video. I was shocked at how many cringe-worthy videos there are of this happening! Here’s one:

His reaction is not what you would expect!

There are dozens more videos, many that result in more rolling, spinning and hitting other cars. I have to say, this freaked me out a bit. After all, it is a pretty common occurrence and one that typically comes without warning. After seeing the effects of drivers not responding in the best way, I decided that I needed to learn how to respond in case this ever happens to me!

If like me, you are just now realizing that you don’t know how to handle a tire blowout, please keep reading! This could be the very information that someday saves you from a terrible wreck. But first, let’s touch up on the risk factors that could lead to a blowout.

  • Under Inflation- This is, without a doubt, the most common cause of tire failure. An under inflated tire creates friction between the rubber and pavement. In this case, it’s only a matter of time until you’re on the shoulder of the highway.
  • Potholes- Hear, hear, o people of Michigan! This is bad news for us. Other than doing your best to avoid them, there is one thing you can do. If you’re in the Grand Rapids area, you can report them by calling 311!
  • Worn Tread- Along with checking your tire pressure every month (when the tires are cold) be sure to check the actual treads. If they are 4/32″ or deeper, they are still good. But if the tread is 2/32″ or less, it’s time to replace your tires.

It’s also important to remember not to overload your vehicle or trailer. And while I’m on the subject of trailers, (imagine that) you can read 10 Tactical Tips For Trailer Tires In Grand Rapids to get some new ideas on caring for your tires.

Even if you remember to take perfect care of your tires, the truth is, they can still have a blowout. Especially in Michigan, the weather can change quickly and potholes can be big enough to home a family of raccoons. Some risk factors are out of our control, which is why it is necessary to be prepared for tire failure.

4 Steps To Overcome A Disastrous Tire Blowout

1. Accelerate

If you don’t know anything about recovering from a tire blowout, then this might have surprised you. After all, it goes against the natural urge to hit the brakes and get to the shoulder as soon as possible. When you have a blown out tire creating drag, stepping on the accelerator a little harder will not actually speed up your vehicle. But it will stabilize your vehicle in your lane and help you to regain control. 

Do not: Step on the brake.

2. Counter Steer

This is easy enough. The important thing to remember is not to over react. When you try steering a vehicle with a failed tire at high speeds, you’ll end up like the guys in the video above. What I mean by counter steering is to gently guide the vehicle straight down your lane. If your vehicle is pulling to the left, carefully push towards the right just enough to keep it from veering.

Do not: Jerk the steering wheel.

3. Slow Down

At this point you should have decent control of your vehicle. Without stepping on the brake, slowly pull your foot off the gas to let your vehicle slow down on it’s own. With the dragging tire, slowing down won’t take long at all.

Do not: Abruptly take your foot off the gas.

4. Pull Over

When your vehicle has slowed to around 30 MPH, and you feel that it is safe, very slowly steer your vehicle to the shoulder of the highway. There you can bring your car or truck to a complete stop and let out a sigh of relief.

Do not: Pull over too quickly.


I really hope that none of us find ourselves in the position where we will have to recall this information. But I am glad that I do know what to do now if this happens to me. The most important thing to remember is to keep your forward momentum and avoid hard steering. Please share this post with your friends and family- you never know if it will help someone avoid a wreck!

And stay cool guys, stay cool.

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin for ya.

This post was brought to you by Ally Mollenkamp

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How NOT To Tow A 5th Wheel Trailer

So camping season is here and I would assume that many of you have already been camping or have plans to do so in the near future. Some of you will stay in tents and some of you will pull campers and 5th wheel trailers. No matter what you’re camping in and how you plan on getting there, please make wise decisions!

I know I sound like your mother but let me explain.

Actually, just take a look at this picture and I won’t really need to explain:

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Apparently this guy woke up that day and thought “Who needs a pick up truck and 5th wheel hitch to pull a 5th wheel trailer? I’ve so got this.”

Here’s a closer look.

5thwheel1

Now before you say all kids of bad things about this guy, let me tell you a few possibilities that I thought of that would explain why he chose to do this:

  1. His truck broke and he HAD to go on this camping trip.
  2. The campground was so close to home so he just drove slow and made no sudden movements.
  3. He just bought the camper and needed to get it home.
  4. His wife kicked him out and he needed to take all his dear possessions.
  5. He just didn’t know that this set-up was dangerous and, well, stupid.

I’m sure that there are a hundred explanations as to why this was done. But the truth is that this was dangerous! That truck was not meant to pull that 5th wheel trailer. So many things could go wrong with a set up like that. But hey, at least he thought to give it a little extra support with a block of wood.

5thwheel3

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I do not know how this particular situation ended. But can we please learn from this guy’s mistake? Next time, call a buddy, use a tent, borrow a truck, or just don’t go. I promise you that your camping trip is not worth risking your life and those lives around you on the highway.

Be smart.
Be considerate.
Follow the rules.
Don’t be an idiot.

And seriously, I’ve been on a major roll with the safety topics. Maybe we should dub June “Trailer Safety Month.” I’m sorry if I’m starting to sound like a broken record, I just want people to be smart and stay safe! For more super fun safety posts, you can read 6 Effortless Ways To Ruin Your Utility Trailer, and Is Your Cell Phone Affecting Your Driving?

One more thing:
No, we do not sell 5th wheel trailers or any kind of campers at Grandville Trailer, but we do service them! We don’t work on any interiors but if you need work on the brakes, bearings or exterior lighting, we would love to have you stop by! You can take A Quick Look Into The Best Trailer Service In Grand Rapids and watch an informative video by Greg. We hope to see you soon!

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya!

-This post was brought to you by Ally Mollenkamp

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Is Your Cell Phone Affecting Your Driving?

cell-phone-car_edited-1Hello friends! I hope you are all doing well, enjoying the outdoors and summertime. I guess I’m on a safety kick here. I’m piggybacking this post off of the last one I did: 6 Effortless Ways To Ruin Your Utility Trailer.

I know this topic has already been drilled into you, but I suppose that’s because the problem will unfortunately, probably never resolve. We have a story from a customer to share with you today. But before I get to that, I’d like to break the ice with some alarming statistics that I pulled from EdgarSnyder.com. (I should also mention that these coincided with all the facts I read on other websites as well.)

  • The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
  • Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.
  • Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
    ~Edgar Snyder and Associates 

texting-while-drivingScary stuff, huh? Some of it is hard to believe. It’s crazy to me how something that seems second nature to us can be so deadly. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can manage your phone and your driving simultaneously. You may think: “Oh I’ll just glance at this text real quick and send a reply at the next red light.” Or: “I just have to find this contact and get the call going and I will be good to go.” (By the way, I just thought this photo on the right was funny.)

Here’s the thing.

No one using their phone thinks they’re about to crash.

Everyone thinks they have it under control just like everyone seems to think they are a good driver. We don’t anticipate for these accidents to happen. You don’t know when someone is going to stop in front of you or swerve towards you. And the scariest part is that it only takes one time. Just 3 seconds of having your eyes off the road is enough to seal your fate.

The whole reason I am bringing this up today is because of an accident a customer was in. It was an accident that didn’t have to happen and it could have been a LOT worse.

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Our customer was on the highway, pulling this horse trailer.

Did that make you cringe a little?

I know it made me uneasy. But, THANKFULLY, there were no horses in this trailer. **Big sigh of  relief**

Anyways, as he we was driving, he was side swiped by another vehicle.

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The other driver was an expecting mom. And that’s where I cringed again. THANKFULLY, her and the baby are presumed to be just fine. Unfortunately, this woman was texting as she was driving. Her recoil from hitting the horse trailer sent her crashing hard into the ditch and the damage to the trailer was pretty extensive. Unable to keep moving, our customer had to find other means of transporting his trailer. That’s when he got it onto a flatbed tow truck and brought it to us.

unnamed (1)The impact on the trailer ripped off the heavy duty fender as you can see in the left two pictures. It also broke the axle spindle off and tore up the wheel. Unfortunately, it also destroyed the second axle to the point where it couldn’t be repaired. Once again, I was so relieved to hear that the trailer was empty and that everyone involved were okay. This accident could have been so much worse on so many levels. Lives could have been lost and more vehicles could have ended up in the mix.

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You have to wonder what this expectant mom felt after this accident. I’m not here to pass judgement or condemn texting drivers. I just want everyone to REALIZE what a couple innocent glances at a phone can really do. Being safe on the roads isn’t just about getting from one place to the next in one piece. Most of us encounter hundreds of other vehicles every day. Putting down the phone is about their safety too.

Don’t wait until you get in a wreck to stop using your phone while behind the wheel. Please be smart and give your driving your undivided attention. We have all heard stories of lives lost and we’ve all seen pictures of distorted faces after a car crash that could have been prevented. I guarantee that not a single one of those text messages or phone calls was worth the consequences.

Have you or a friend ever been in a car crash that resulted from a text message? Comment on this link on our Facebook Page and share this post! If this post makes just one person decide to stop using their phone on the roads, I will be happy with that. 🙂NATDA_ProudMember15_transB

This post was brought to you by Ally Mollenkamp. 

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya!

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Six Effortless Ways to Ruin Your Utility Trailer

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Trailers are fun to buy and most of us have money to buy as many as we want, right? So it doesn’t really matter how well we take care of them. In fact, the quicker they need a replacement, the better. That means that you can just go buy another one. So let me help you out and tell you the 6 most common (and accidental) ways to destroy a trailer.

6 Ways to Wreck A Utility Trailer

1. Overload Your Utility Trailer

This is by far the quickest way to ruin a trailer. Every trailer has a weight capacity and it often gets overlooked. More importantly, your tow vehicle has a limit to be considerate of. Exceeding your vehicle’s weight limits can result in dangerous consequences like tire blowouts, busted suspensions and even brake and transmission failure. For those of you who do want to keep your vehicle and trailer in tact, you can learn how to find your vehicle’s weight ratings here.

Overloading your trailer can be a double whammy. You’ll be back at Grandville Trailer to purchase a trailer and we will send you over to D&L Auto Sales for your new tow vehicle! And while we’re on the subject of overloads, check out our rental trailer video which displays several overloaded vehicles. Enjoy!

2. Don’t Repack Your Bearings

It’s not important anyways, right? Rusty trailer wheel bearings aren’t a big deal. And if they do fail while you’re on the highway, it will just be a fun experience for everyone! There’s lots of nice people that will be happy to pull over and help. Let’s be honest, skipping this little step will definitely help you to achieve that “roadside experience.” But if you would rather be one of those people who don’t break down, you can read 5 Steps to Repacking Your Trailer Bearings. Better yet, bring it in and have us do it for you. Our service guys are the best bearing re-packers in West Michigan!

3. Don’t Check Tire PressureTyre Inflation

Here’s another opportunity to break down on the highway! All you have to do to blowout your tires is make sure they are a bit under-inflated. It also helps if they are worn out and if you drive fast. It’s really just that simple. However I have heard that some people do like to take care of their trailer tires. If that’s you, you can read 10 Tactical Tips for Trailer Tires in Grand Rapids.

4. Load Unevenly

They say to load your cargo evenly throughout your trailer with about 60 percent of the weight in front on the axle. Weight in the front keeps pressure on the hitch, helping the tow vehicle and trailer to stay connected and maneuvering smoothly. So theoretically, for rough and dangerous towing, all you have to do is put a bunch of really heavy stuff in the back. Easy enough.

download5. Ignoring Those Rust Spots

It just adds character, right? To step it up a notch, you can avoid washing your trailer all together, especially in the winter. After driving through the slushy roads, the salt will eat your trailer right up. Not rinsing it off will cause it to corrode faster. It’s really pretty easy to take care of rust spots, but it’s even easier to just leave them alone and let them spread!

6. Drive Recklessly

This is the most obvious way to ruin your trailer. And this is where I’ll stop joking around. Everybody knows that driving fast with a big, heavy trailer attached to your truck is just not good common sense. Yet somehow, it still happens all the time. It baffles my mind when I see a truck and trailer flying by, weaving in and out of lanes. I know we all have important places to be, but putting other’s safety in jeopardy will never be worth any extra time you may make up for on the  highway.


I certainly hope that none of our readers fall under these categories. And if so, I hope you will reconsider and take better care of your trailer and tow vehicle. Taking proper care of your truck and trailer will aid in keeping yourself and others safe on the road.

Besides driving off a cliff or using a sledge hammer, can you think of any other ways to ruin your utility trailer? What did I miss? You can comment on this link on our Facebook Page. Thank you and have a great week!

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya!

This post was brought to you by Ally Mollenkamp.

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3 Annoying Things About Your Jack That No One Talks About- And How To Fix Them With The Dropleg Insert

“I just love cranking my trailer jack all the way down to unhitch and all the way back up to tow!”

Said no one, ever. JF1005HZ

Let’s be honest. Turning that Jack a hundred times every time you need to hitch or unhitch is not exactly fun. It’s one of the biggest nuisances of towing a trailer. That’s why Redneck Trailer Supplies came up with the perfect product to take the frustration out of the job. It is called the Dropleg Insert and it’s designed to fit inside the inner tube of an A-frame jack.

Here are 3 annoying problems that your jack may be causing that the Dropleg Insert works to alleviate.

1. Wasted Time

There’s no denying it: Cranking the jack can be downright time consuming. And the more you use your trailer, the more time you will see slip away into the thousands of turns of minuscule movements. The Dropleg Insert allows you to quickly set the Jack at the correct height and move on to the things that matter.

2. Back Pain

Did you know that back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States? Most people experience some form of back pain throughout their adult life. It’s pretty common for me to hear about those dealing with trailers to feel back pain when cranking the jack on a trailer. If cranking the jack isn’t the cause of your pain, it can defiantly be the culprit of that existing pain flaring up again. With the insert, you can avoid an uncomfortable position with uncomfortable movements. It’s much easier on your back and might help you to not feel quite as old they say you are.

3. Blocks of Wood

How many of you have blocks of wood hitching a ride -pun intended- in your truck bed or trailer? You never know what terrain or slope you might have to park your trailer on, especially those of you working in construction or towing a camping RV. Blocks of wood have become a standard towing accessory (there’s a sales idea) until now! The Dropleg insert provides an extra 8 inches of lift so you can ditch those blocks of wood. Use them for something else or burn them in your campfire. There is much less hassle with this new accessory.


The insert is so easy to install and it fits most 2K-5K A-Frame Jacks. We now have these available in our store for just $15.95. Do us a favor- next time you’re cranking that jack, time yourself and see how long it takes! We’re wondering what the average time is. Let us know by commenting on our Facebook.

Don’t forget to share our post so that your friends can see this cool new product too. Thank you!

At Grandville Trailer, we’re pullin’ for ya!

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Wanna Hook Up? 7 Steps to Easily Hooking up Your Trailer to Your Vehicle

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.

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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.

7. Electrical.

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.
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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!

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