When you’re out on the road with your trailer, it is important that you take the proper steps to keep yourself, and everyone else on the road safe. Maintenance is the most important step for a successful trailer towing trip. Before you head out with your trailer there are a few different safety requirements that you have to make sure are in place. These aspects should be checked every time that you head out with the trailer.
Inspection Before Leaving
Before heading out with your trailer, the first step (after everything has been hooked up) is to properly inspect your trailer and vehicle to make sure that everything is working properly. Walk around the hitch, trailer and vehicle. Make sure that the wiring and tires all look as they should. Check the trailer lights and signals to ensure that you can properly signal while out on the road. Check the tire pressure. Check the tire and brake drums. Once you have performed a full inspection of the vehicle, then you can feel safe hitting the road.
Proper tongue weight is vital for good stability. You have to make sure that it is set at the correct amount. For most trailers, a tongue weight of 10 to 15 percent of the trailer’s total weight is good for stability. For vehicles that do not have a high spring rate in the rear suspension that will allow for proper tongue weight, you must use an equalizing hitch to maintain stability and set the proper tongue rate.
Safety Chains in Place
Safety chains are an absolute must for any trailer. Should the trailer every come unhitched while traveling, you want to have a back up plan in place. When the trailer comes unhitched, the trailer tongue will drop onto the chains instead of diving nose-first into the ground. This keeps the rig from becoming damaged and helps you to keep all other vehicles safe on the road as well.
Proper Tire Pressure
Always check your tire pressure before hitting the road with your trailer. Most recommend setting your tires toward the high end of the maximum pressure, which helps with stability and also helps you to consume less gas. You may want to check tire pressure once or twice on longer road trips as well, as tire pressure can change rapidly as you move through different environments and through wear and tear.
Make sure to regularly check the load on your trailer, no matter how certain you are that you have it tied down well. As you drive, the tiedowns for the load can loosen and endanger other drivers on the road. It is recommended that you stop and check your load at least once every 15 miles, even if that means opening the door and securing an enclosed load.
Make sure that all electric brakes for both the trailer and the vehicle are working properly. Then, check the brakes several times throughout the trip as well. You can slide over the lever on the brake controller a small amount until you feel the trailer brakes actuate.
Making sure that your trailer lights are working correctly is vital for safety on the road. Make sure that your brake lights and signaling lights are in working condition before heading out. Also make sure that your headlights and fog lights are working as well. Replace any bulbs that have burned out and check your lights regularly throughout long road trips.
If you would like to learn more about trailer safety and proper supplies for towing, please contact us today to find out more and receive some guidance. Our team of towing experts will point you in the right direction.