Properly coupling and uncoupling your trailer is critical for safely hauling anything around Michigan. However, there are many people who do not realize how to make sure it is done properly. So, to protect everyone on the road and all who use a trailer, consider the following tips.

Tips for Coupling

First, ensure you how to couple your trailer to your tow vehicle correctly.

You Need The Right Match

Ever tried to put a square peg in a round hole? It generally does not work out very well. The same is true with putting your trailer tongue on a hitch ball that is not the right size. Be sure you know the rating of the hitch and ball, and that the ball matches the coupler. If the ball is too big, the coupler will not seat properly. On the other hand, if it is too small, then it will not lock properly. In either case, it risks the trailer coming off during transport.

Inspect and Clean

You should inspect and clean your ball, your coupler, and your tongue every time you use your trailer. If there are any cracks or signs of weakness in these areas you risk losing your trailer. Likewise, be sure to clean both to ensure they seat together properly. If there is any mud or gunk in the coupling mechanism it will not latch properly.

Once you have inspected and cleaned everything, you may want to lubricate the moving parts as well. This helps prevent keep them from freezing up. If your tongue does jam, it will prevent it from latching properly or unlatching when you are done.

High is Good

When you are satisfied your trailer is in good working order, be sure to raise the tongue up well above the height of the ball. This ensures that when you back your tow vehicle up to the trailer you will not run into the tongue with the ball. It also ensures that you have plenty of room to maneuver for the right alignment.

Double Check Your Connections

Finally, once your trailer is coupled properly, be sure to double-check all of your connections. The obvious is your electrical, but also the chains connecting the trailer and the tow vehicle. Finally, be sure the breakaway brake lanyard is properly attached. Police around Michigan do cite people for improperly connecting the safety features for their trailer. This is because of the serious risk associated with a trailer coming uncoupled while in transit. Take the time to check everything twice.

Tips for Uncoupling

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you want to be sure you can uncouple your trailer properly too. Here are a few tips to help you make it just a little easier and safer.

Secure the Trailer

First, make sure you have secured your trailer. Before attempting to lower your jack or lift the tongue off the hitch, chuck the tires of the trailer. This prevents the trailer from moving while you are working to uncouple it. Once you are done, be sure to add both a tongue lock as well as wheel locks.

Double Check Your Connections

Just like when you connecting your trailer, you want to double-check your connections when you are taking it off as well. Start with the electrical, the breakaway brake switch lanyard, and then remove the safety chains.

Check Your Jack Footing

Finally, check your jack footing. If the ground under the jack is too soft, then your trailer may move. You also want to be sure it is level to ensure it does not slide at all.

Most people will either carry a jack stand with them or a piece of wood to put under the jack post. This helps to distribute the weight of the tongue, minimizing the risk of sinking in soft ground. It also helps prevent damage to pavement or concrete.

An actual jack stand is almost always preferable to something makeshift. These are designed with a steel sleeve for the jack post to set it, minimizing the risk of it slipping off while sitting. Further, they have a properly proportioned footprint for the job you need to do.