You’ve chosen the right boat trailer, but know that preparation is everything. Hitching the trailer to the car isn’t difficult, but just one mistake can be expensive. Here is a step-by-step guide to attaching a boat trailer to your car so you can reach your destination without stress.
1. Chock the wheels
Place a brick, block of wood or wheel chock behind each of the back tyres on the boat trailer to keep it from rolling backwards, or in front to stop it rolling forward.
2. Raise the trailer coupling
Use a jockey wheel to raise the boat trailer coupling so that it is positioned higher than the car’s towball.
3. Get some assistance
Get a friend to stand facing the back of the tow vehicle, where they have a clear view of the boat trailer’s coupling and the car’s ball mount. They can help guide the tow vehicle into the right position for attachment.
4. Reverse your car
Slowly back up the car until the towball is closely aligned with the boat trailer coupling. This may require more than one attempt, so patience is a virtue!
5. Lower the coupling on to the towball
Open the latch on the trailer coupling, pull back the coupling handle and lower it on to the towball. Use the jockey wheel to control the rate of descent and don’t remove the jack until it is seated securely. When done, push the handle back in (or release it if it’s spring loaded) and close the latch.
6. Attach safety chains
Attach the safety chains to the connectors on either side of the boat trailer’s tow coupling and close the shackles. The chains should have enough slack so that they won’t restrict turning. If two safety chains are fitted, they should be crossed over under the main coupling to prevent the trailer drawbar from hitting the ground if the boat trailer detaches from the car.
7. Connect the electrics
Attach the trailer’s electrical plug to the socket on the towing car. Have your friend verify that all the trailer lights are working and that the brake lights are in sync with the car.
8. Make sure your boat is secure
Check that the boat is securely attached and will not come loose if you have to hit the brakes abruptly. To prevent any up, down and sideways movement of the boat during road travel, tie-downs should be used at the bow and transom to keep the boat anchored to the trailer. Always allow more time to brake, accelerate, overtake and stop when you are towing your boat.
9. Check your side mirrors
Make sure that your side mirrors are properly adjusted and provide a clear view to the rear of the trailer.
All done? Now you’re ready to go!
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