Not connecting your new travel trailer to your vehicle’s hitch properly can have disastrous, sometimes fatal, consequences. Knowing how to hitch your trailer to your ride is the first and most important step in removing serious risk to you, your vehicle, your trailer, and your bank account. At Open Roads Complete RV in Acworth, North Cartersville, and Woodstock, Georgia, we know how important this vital area of RVing is and how correctly connecting your travel trailer to your hitch is taken too much for granted.
Before You Hitch Up, Check These Vital Safety Areas
Make sure your hitch receiver and metalwork are properly attached (welded and/or bolted) to your vehicle’s frame. Make sure that the bolts are tight, strong, and not cracked. Also, check all the metal of the receiver to make sure there are no visible cracks.
Make sure that the trailer weight does not exceed the towing capacity of the vehicle you use to tow. Also, make sure the tongue weight of your trailer does not exceed the maximum tongue weight spec of the hitch.
Check your tire pressure on your tow vehicle’s tires, as well as the trailer tires.
Connecting the Trailer to the Hitch
First, maneuver your vehicle so that your hitch’s ball is lined up with the tongue of the trailer.
Lower the trailer onto the ball of the hitch so that there is just a bit of weight on the hitch.
Then, use the lock on the trailer tongue to lock the ball of the hitch into the tongue of the trailer.
Hook the electrical plug from the trailer to the electrical supply socket on your tow vehicle.
Next, connect the safety chains to the hitch. Make sure you cross the chains to prevent the trailer’s tongue from gouging the pavement.
Now, connect to the breakaway cable to your tow vehicle, not anywhere on the hitch receiver metalwork. The reason is, if your receiver breaks free from your tow vehicle, the trailer brakes will not activate because the breakaway cable will not stretch to activate them.
Next, we connect the equalizer bars, sometimes called torsion bars. Connect one side to the head assembly of the hitch, making sure that it catches inside. The other side, the chain side, gets attached to the side of the trailer tongue. The bars should be parallel with the tongue assembly. If they are not, carefully undo the torsion bars from the tongue assembly. Then, add or reduce the number of links used to attach the bar to the tongue to bring the bars parallel with the tongue.
Then, use a locking pin to keep the tongue/torsion bar mechanism in place and locked.
Lastly, you can lower the trailer the rest of the way onto the hitch ball, which places the weight onto the hitch.
Also, make sure none of the chains, electrical wires, or breakaway cable will be pinched when turning, or are so long that they’ll be dragging on the ground.
Camping Fun Begins with Trailering Safety
At Open Roads Complete RV in Acworth, North Cartersville, and Woodstock, Georgia, we know that camping fun begins with trailering safety. We want you to experience years of outdoor fun with your travel trailer. If you have any questions, please call one of our locations close to you. We’ll be happy to answer all your travel trailering questions.