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Welcome to Leyland Leisure Sales

How to Attach a Trailer

Attaching a new or used trailer to a car or other vehicle is not merely a matter of placing a ring or other fitting over a hook; it is more complicated than that.

Attaching a new or used trailer to a car or other vehicle is not merely a matter of placing a ring or other fitting over a hook; it is more complicated than that.

Matching Vehicle and Trailer

All cars have their limits and each one has a maximum towing weight that should not be exceeded. This figure can be found in the vehicle’s handbook and should also be displayed on the VIN plate on the vehicle’s chassis. The combined weight of towing vehicle and trailer is often referred to as ‘train’ weight.

The vehicle intended for towing should be able to handle the gross towing weight of the trailer. The engine must be able to cope with the weight to be pulled and the brakes be adequate to stop the combined weight of trailer and towing vehicle.

Types of Towing Equipment

Any tow bar purchased and fitted after 1st August 1998 must be ‘type approved’ according to EU regulations. 

  • If the trailer to be towed is wider than the rear of the towing vehicle, then additional towing mirrors will need to be fitted.
  • Any trailer weighing more than 750kg will need to be fitted with brakes.

It is important to ensure that the towing coupling head is a suitable match with the towing bar ball or they will not fit.

Attaching the Trailer

  1. It is advisable to ensure that the tow ball (on the tow bar) is lightly oiled, to reduce friction.
  2. Make sure that the trailer is secured by applying the brake. Remove any covers for electrical connections such as lights.
  3. Wind the jockey wheel on the trailer to raise the towing gear to a height above that of the towing ball on the towing vehicle. If small enough the trailer can be brought close to the towing vehicle or bring the towing vehicle close enough to the trailer by slowly reversing. It is helpful to have someone to help by observing and giving signals to help position the towing vehicle but if help is not to hand an object such as a broom or wooden pole can be attached to the trailer to mark the position of the towing equipment.
  4. The trailer should never be lifted onto the towing ball. The jockey wheel should be used to raise the coupling head so that it can be positioned above the towing ball.
  5. If there is a locking handle on the coupling head ensure that it is in the correct position to indicate lock.
  6. Test that the coupling head is securely attached to the towing ball by lowering the jockey wheel. The rear of the vehicle should rise a little. Then secure the jockey wheel ensuring that it does not interfere in any way with the functioning of the towing head.
  7. Once the trailer is securely locked onto the towing vehicle through the towing equipment any electrical connections for lights should be plugged in and tested. Again it is useful to have someone who can assist by observing the brake light functions on the trailer. If help is not to hand a stick of other object can be used to put pressure on the towing vehicle’s brake pedal. Ensure that the electrical connections are secure and cannot become disengaged.
  8. The break-away cable that ensures the trailer’s handbrake is activated if it breaks away from the towing vehicle must be checked. This cable must be attached to the towing bracket on the tow car.
  9. Ensure that the hand brake on the trailer is in the off position and that there are no cables touching the ground or loose enough to interfere with safe towing.

You can buy replacements parts here at Leyland Leisure Sales.

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