When planning to hook a trailer onto your vehicle, plan ahead. Failing to attach the trailer properly can result in costly damages. Damages to your vehicle, the trailer and other vehicles around you can add up quickly.
This blog post will take you step by step through the hook up process.
1. Line up
- Locate a long, straight, easy access area. This will ensure a much easier approach.
- If equipped, use the attached jack to help keep the trailer level while you navigate it into position. If the trailer is already loaded, it may be too difficult to move by hand. If possible, rotate the trailer on the spot as necessary to line it up.
2. Reverse your vehicle
- Now back your vehicle up towards the trailer until it is in a straight line with the trailer.
- If possible, have a friend stand outside the vehicle by the trailer and guide you while you reverse towards the trailer.
- Align the trailer coupler(1) slightly above the hitch ball(2).
- (1) the trailer coupler is the metal socket that sticks out the end of the trailer.
- (2) the hitch ball sticks out from the bumper of your vehicle.
- If equipped, the trailer jack will be slightly behind the coupler. Turn the handle on the trailer jack to raise or lower the coupler so that it is 2-3” above the hitch ball (use a regular car jack if your trailer isn’t equipped with one).
- If the trailer is light enough, you can simply lift it and move it to position the coupler over the hitch ball.
- You can now replace the jack. Do not drive without the jack put away as this may result in damage.
- With the coupler raised, reverse your vehicle until the coupler is directly above and in line with the hitch ball. Your friend will come in handy again to help guide you in this step.
- Remove the latch pin from the coupler and lift the latch up. The coupler socket will now sit easily on top of the hitch ball.
- Push the handle on the coupler down and insert the latch pin.
- Some trailers may have alternative locking mechanisms – always consult the owner’s manual for your specific trailer to ensure locking is completed properly.
6. Attach safety chains
- Take one of the safety chains and run it below the coupler and hitch ball and attach it to the opposite side of the hitch ball. Repeat with the other safety chain. Safety chains should be in a cross pattern below the coupler and hitch ball.
- Safety chains are legally required in many areas as they are a back up safety mechanism in the event that the coupler latch fails.
7. Connect the lights
- The wiring socket should be located either on the back of your vehicle, inside the trunk, or it will be a loose wire close to the hitch ball. Refer to your vehicle’s manual if you are unable to locate it.
- If your wiring socket is damaged, corroded or otherwise not in good condition, have a mechanic look it over before plugging into it.
- The trailer plug should be located near the coupler. Ensure you run the trailer wire and plug above the coupler and hitch ball.
- Once plugged in, use any available latches on the wire to hold them together.
- Always test the lights, blinkers and brake lights on the trailer before driving. If any lights are not in working order, you should have them fixed before use. Your friend would again be helpful for this step.
You are now ready to safely drive with your trailer. If you require further information or assistance with hooking up your trailer, our trailer experts would be happy to assist! All FOT staff are committed to the very best in customer care. Give us a call 1-888-965-6064, we are here for you.