To ensure you’re meeting all the necessary legal trailer regulations, consider the following:
Your tow bar is obviously essential, but you need to do your homework to make sure you have the right one. Each tow bar is identified by a class name and the hitch class you need is calculated by weight. They range from a standard class 2, which is suitable for loads from 1,250kg to 1,600kg (depending on the brand), through to a 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch.
Your tow bar should have a compliance plate and be fitted onto the rear chassis by a professional. If you change what you’re towing, you should always check the weight against the tow bar’s rating.
Included in trailer regulations throughout Australia is the need to have safety chains whenever you’re towing. The chains must be attached to the tow bar framework, not the less stable tow ball.
Level riders or load distribution bars
Level riders distribute some of the weight from the tow bar back to the trailer, helping to avoid permanent damage to the towing vehicle caused by sagging. Many also help to reduce the likelihood of sway occurring as you drive, and they make for a smoother ride.
As the weight you’re towing increases, so too does the strain on the towing vehicle, which creates a great amount of extra heat. To help keep your vehicle running well while towing large weights you should consider a transmission cooler, because the last thing you want is a breakdown or expensive engine repair on your hands.
When selecting a transmission cooler, get expert advice to help you ascertain what you need for towing your load’s weight. Or if you’re handy under the bonnet you can research, buy and install your own transmission cooler kit.
If your vehicle’s side mirrors don’t provide a clear view past your trailer, you’ll need to invest in a set of extension mirrors.
Your trailer is legally required to have working lights and indicators, so your wiring must be fitted and working. The most common options are seven-pin small round and seven-and-a-half-pin flat. Adapters are readily available for both of these formats. Check with an auto electrician to ascertain which is best for you. Test this regularly to make sure it’s all still working before you tow your trailer.
Trailer laws and registration
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
As always, we’re all about putting safety – and legalities – first, so make sure your trailer fits the bill.
Do you want to know more about trailer towing? Find out here.