Trailer Towing Tips




Before towing, double-check all of these items:


  • Tires, wheels and lug nuts
  • Tire Pressure. Inflate tires on trailer and tow vehicle to the pressure stated on the Certification / VIN label.
  • Coupler secured and locked.
  • Safety chains properly rigged to tow vehicle, not to hitch or ball.
  • Test Tail, Stop, and Turn Lights
  • Test trailer brakes.
  • Safety breakaway lanyard fastened to tow vehicle, not to safety chains
  • Cargo properly loaded, balanced and tied down.
  • Tongue weight and weight distribution set-up.
  • Ramps secured for travel.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flares and reflectors
  • After each 50 miles, or one hour of towing, stop and check the following items:
  • Coupler secured.
  • Safety chains are fastened and not dragging.
  • Cargo secured.
  • Doors latched and secured.
  • Safe Trailer Towing Guidelines
  • Recheck the load tie downs to make sure the load will not shift during towing.
  • Before towing, check coupling, safety chain, brakes, tires, wheels and lights.
  • Check the lug nuts or bolts for tightness
  • Check coupler tightness after towing 50 miles.
  • Adjust the brake controller to engage the trailer brakes before the tow vehicle brakes.
  • Follow the brake controller manufacturer’s literature.
  • Use your mirrors to verify that you have room to change lanes or pull into traffic.
  • Use your turn signals well in advance.
  • Allow plenty of stopping space for your trailer and tow vehicle.
  • Do not drive so fast that the trailer begins to sway due to speed.
  • Generally never drive faster than 60 m.p.h.
  • Allow plenty of room for passing. A rule of thumb is that the passing distance with a trailer is 4 times the passing distance without a trailer.
  • Use lower gears for climbing and descending grades.
  • Do not ride the brakes while descending grades; they may get so hot that they stop working. Then you will potentially have a runaway tow vehicle and trailer.
  • Slow down for bumps in the road.
  • Do not brake while in a curve unless absolutely necessary. Instead, slow down before you enter the curve.
  • Do not apply the tow vehicle brakes to correct extreme trailer swaying. Instead, lightly apply the trailer brakes with the hand controller.
  • Make regular stops, about once each hour. Confirm that
  • The coupler is secure to the hitch and is locked,
  • Electrical connectors are made,
  • There is appropriate slack in the safety chains,
  • There is appropriate slack in the breakaway switch pull pin cable,
  • The tires are not visibly low on pressure, and
  • The cargo is secure and in good condition.
  • It is critical that the trailer be securely coupled to the hitch, and that the safety chains and emergency breakaway brake lanyard are correctly attached. Uncoupling may result in death or serious injury to you and to others.

Proper selection and condition of the coupler and hitch are essential to safely towing your trailer. A loss of coupling may result in death or serious injury.

  • Be sure the hitch load rating is equal to or greater than the load rating of the coupler.
  • Be sure the hitch size matches the coupler size.
  • Observe the hitch for wear, corrosion and cracks before coupling.
  • Replace worn, corroded or cracked hitch components before coupling the trailer to the tow vehicle.
  • Be sure the hitch components are tight before coupling the trailer to the tow vehicle.
  • Check emergency breakaway brake system BEFORE each tow.