Going on a road trip is considered by many to be one of the most fun activities that you can do during the summer and other seasons. To make the road trip much longer, most vacationers and travelers usually carry a trailer with them, which they tow using their car. While most of us cannot wait to start the road trip and bring a trailer, there are some important things that you must know first about towing trailers before you rent one.
Towing trailers is not as easy as it seems, as there are different aspects of it that you need to maintain and properly take care of while you are using it for vacations and trips. Because the trailer is usually much bigger than the truck or car you will be using to tow it, there are also some safety measures that should be known about by the driver. Here are safety tips you should know about for towing trailers.
Always Check the Tires of the Trailer
One of the most important tasks that you should do when you bring a trailer with you is to always check the tires of the trailer, as a broken or damaged tire could abruptly end your road trip. Inspect the tires every now and then whenever you have a stopover and check for any inconsistencies.
If there are small problems with at least one tire, it would be best to visit an auto repair shop immediately before that minuscule problem can become big. In addition to the trailer, you should also regularly inspect the tires of your vehicle, as it usually takes the most pressure from the road trip. Make sure that the tires of the vehicle have higher pressure than the trailer wheels so that they can carry the weight of the trailer better.
Have Spare Tires
Of course, if there would be bigger problems with one of the trailer’s tires, then you should have a spare tire ready so that the road can continue. Besides the spare tire, you should also have some tools that will greatly benefit you in changing tires faster. These tools include the jack (raised the bottom of the vehicle so that there won’t be any pressure on the tire you are changing), the lug wrench (for removing and installing tires), a tire pressure gauge (to check the adequate pressure inside the tire), and wheel chocks (prevents the tire from rotating). Even if you have already learned how to change tires, it would still be good to bring an owner’s manual so that you won’t forget anything.
Make Sure the Hitch Ball Matches to the Trailer’s Coupler
Trailers usually have different sizes of couplers, which are the part that connects a trailer to a vehicle. So, it is important that your vehicle’s hitch ball (the connection part installed to the vehicle) should match the size of the trailer’s coupler. Before renting or buying a trailer, see if it has a coupler already installed, and if it does, you should take accurate measurements of it so that you can purchase a suitable hitch ball for it.
If the trailer doesn’t have a coupler installed, it would be easier for you to buy a hitch ball and coupler set since you don’t have to take measurements anymore. Keep in mind that there are sizes of hitch balls you can buy, and these are 2 5/16 inches, 2 inches, and 1 7/8 inches. Buy the most durable hitch that you can purchase so that it can withstand harsh conditions.
Install Sturdy and Durable Safety Chains
In order for the hitch and the coupler to have an emergency alternative in case they get disconnected from each other, the trailer and the vehicle should also be connected through safety chains, which are a pair of chains that are right beneath the hitch ball and the coupler.
With the help of safety chains, the trailer’s coupler wouldn’t touch the pavement if it gets disconnected to the hitch ball, as the chains serve as a cradle for the detached coupler. In addition, safety chains are also great to have to maintain the connection between the vehicle and the trailer. If you are going to install safety chains, ensure that their length is not too long that it would touch the pavement and not too short that the trailer wouldn’t move properly during sharp turns.
So, these are just four of the simplest tips that you can follow to make the trailers safer to use and tow. Before you go on a road trip, it is essential that you practice driving your vehicle with a trailer attached first, as it would be a different experience from what you are used to. Get the hang of driving with a trailer so that you will have a better time driving during the trip.