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Beginners guide to towing your new trailer!

October 9, 2020   |   By Liam Arthur Beginners guide to towing your new trailer! - image 200813-MT1-Camper-Trailer-Snow-Trip-197-of-527 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

 

This guide is perfect for people who are just starting out towing, or even if you have been around trailers for years!

Hitching up your new trailer!

You are probably itching to hit the road after a long week of work but taking your time and doing things right is important when you are setting up your trailer for hitching up to your vehicle.

Start out by making sure the wheels are chocked, to prevent your trailer rolling away on you, and if you have a handbrake fitted to your trailer, that it is applied.

Double check your safety chains and leads are all clear of the trailer couplings path, and you are ready to start lining your vehicle up.  At this point, if you have an adjustable reverse camera, you should pitch it all the way down, to give you the best vision of your coupling and the trailer hitch.


If you have a spotter, its always handy to use the extra set of eyes, even if you have a reversing camera, it is important that you pay close attention to their directions and make sure you are fully utilizing their instructions, and to avoid confusion with ambiguous “right” “left” instructions it’s a good idea to use the universal “right hand down” “left hand down” to ensure that the driver knows exactly which direction the vehicle needs to turn.


IF your trailer is fitted with two chains, make sure they are crossed over to opposite sides of the tow bar, these chains are a safety feature and ensure your trailer doesn’t fly down the road or pole vault in the case of a tow hitch failure, make sure you are using U-shackles with appropriate Safe working load stamped on the side.

Once your trailer is hitched, and your light plug is connected to your vehicle,  get your spotter to double check all of your lights are functioning correctly, checking brake lights, tail lights (including number plate lights) and indicators are all working as they should.
 


On road towing

When towing your trailer will swing a tighter radius than the vehicle towing, this is why it is important to swing the tow vehicle wider through corners, to avoid gutters and other obstacles inside of the turn.

Smooth is fast, whilst you aren’t towing a full B- double, its important to drive more steady, using smooth accelerator, brakes, and smooth steering, avoiding sudden movements which might upset the balance of your trailer and cause issues.


One thing to keep in mind is that, the additional load of the trailer, will be a little bit taxing on your vehicle, so if possible, select your gear using your automatic gear box, this will prevent your gearbox from hunting for the right gear, and if you are driving a manual gearbox vehicle, ensure you avoid overdrive gears like your 5th or 6th gear, as these will tend to cause damage in the long run.

Reversing

This has to be one of the root causes for high blood pressure, headaches, arguments and frustration, either at camp or when getting home from a trip away. And whilst a seasoned veteran will make this look easy, with a bit of practice you can do this with your eyes closed (although we wouldn’t recommend that).


the best thing you can do for this is find an open and empty carpark, like at the local footy field, and practice maneuvering your trailer both forwards and backwards. The goal is not to be a stunt driver, but to get your head around how the trailer will react when you turn the steering wheel in any given direction.

Because your trailer will want to maneuver in the opposite direction that you turn the wheel, there is a trick to getting past this mind block, and that is to put both hands at the bottom of the wheel with your palms facing downwards. This means that if you want the trailer to go left, you move both hands to the left, and vice versa.



Unhitching

 

When you get to your destination, its time to unhitch your trailer!

The first step is to jump out, and apply the handbrake, and any chocks you might be using. Then disconnect all of your 12v plugs and the lighting signal connection, leaving the safety chains connected as a failsafe.

Now that you are ready, its time to attach your jockey wheel to the clamp plate, winding it up, until the hitch disconnects, then disconnect the chains and move your vehicle out of the way.

With everything disconnected. You can wind the jockey wheel down to around half way to remove excess stress from the internal components, however keeping campers and caravans level is important.

As with all vehicle components it is important to do periodic maintenance on your trailer and components, this includes spraying the lighting terminal connections with a water dispersal spray to keep the corrosion away, as well as the jockey wheel and its handle.


With all of these tips and more, you will be confidently towing all over this awesome country, to find out more about the latest release Adventure Kings MT-1 Camper trailer or any other camping accessory you can think of, head to www.4WDSupacentre.com.au to see the full range and all the specifications.