How to Hitch a Trailer

When you’re using a trailer, hitching it safely to your tow vehicle is essential. Without proper hitching, your car and trailer will feel out of control, and in a worst-case scenario, you could tip over or lose your trailer. When you are towing a trailer, follow these steps to make sure you hitch it to your vehicle safely.

Use the Right Hitch

One of the most important parts of towing safety is using the right hitch for the job. Start by checking the owner’s manual of the tow vehicle to find the gross trailer weight and maximum tongue weight. You can use these numbers to find the right class of hitch. It’s a good idea to use a hitch that meets your vehicle’s maximum capacity, even if you think the load you will be towing will weigh less.

Attach the Drawbar and Ball

There are two kinds of drawbars: one that is used for lightweight towing that is one-and-one-quarter inch and one for heavier loads that is two inches. You will also need the appropriate hitch ball for the drawbar. Once you have these, put the ball onto the drawbar using the right torque for the size of the drawbar, and apply threadlocker, so that moisture can’t enter. You can then attach the trailer to the vehicle at the tongue and crisscross the chains under the tongue for added stability.

Check the Tongue Weight

The tongue weight is usually to blame when a trailer sways. The tongue weight should be between 10% and 12% of the total weight of your trailer load. You can weigh your trailer using your bathroom scale. Set the scale to one side of the tongue and put a dowel on top. Put a piece of wood with a dowel on the other side. Put another piece of wood under the tongue, so that it is touching, and balance it on both dowels. The weight on the scale is one-third of the total tongue weight.


APC Trailers offers a range of trailers and parts as well as repair services and trailer accessories. For help choosing a trailer in Tucson, call (520) 574-1968.

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