Safety Checks to Make Before Towing a Car Trailer

Posted by Ben Davidson about 23 days ago

Thousands of accidents happen every year because of faulty trailers and poor trailer safety. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that 11 caravan and trailer accidents happen every day in the UK. The worst is that many of those could have been easily avoided if the driver had taken the proper safety measures. This is why you need to take additional steps to keep yourself and those around you safe by making certain the car trailer and the towing vehicle are ready for the trip. Here are the most important safety checks to make before towing a car trailer.

The Pulling Weight of the Car

Never try to tow more weight than the vehicle can handle. The towing limits for your car are typically listed in the vehicle handbook or on its specification sheet. The vehicle’s gross train weight might be visible on the manufacturer’s plate. 

The first weight on the manufacturer’s plate is typically the maximum weight of the car, while weight two is the maximum weight of a car and trailer combined. Weight three is the maximum weight for the car’s front axle, while weight four is the maximum weight for the rear axle of the car.

The Tyres

You need to inspect both the tyres of your vehicle and the tyres on the trailer. Check all tyres for cuts and bulges. Make certain that all tyres have a tread depth of at least 1.6 millimetres across at least three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire circumference of the tyre. Verify that the tyres are inflated to the manufacturer's specifications for the load it is carrying. Check the wheel nuts and bolts, and ensure that they are torqued properly. The trailer should have mudguards. Make sure they're secure.

The Tow Ball and Connections

You need to perform a safety inspection of the tow ball. If the vehicle is in a dangerous condition, you could be penalized with three penalty points and fined up to £2500. This is why you should always ensure that the trailer is properly coupled to the tow ball or the pin. Make sure the coupling height is correct. Verify that the 7 or 13 core cable and plug are not damaged.

You should use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling. That will stop the trailer if it becomes detached from your vehicle. This cable needs to be inspected for wear or damage like the primary tow cable. Make sure there is enough slack in the cable and that it doesn’t accidentally activate the trailer’s brakes. Verify that the cable isn’t so slack that it will drag on the ground.

Replace any questionable braking system components. You can also make big savings on parts if you buy them online. For example, you could get a 480102014R Wabco EBS Trailer Modulator from a supplier like Air Brake Market for a fraction of the price you’d regularly have to pay. You can get a Wabco modulator from airbrakemarket.com which will be covered by a twelve-month warranty. Furthermore, they have all sorts of new and remanufactured parts. They also offer repair kits that let you make many repairs yourself. 

The Trailer Itself

Verify that the lights and indicators on the trailer are working correctly. Make sure the trailer load is evenly distributed and that the trailer is not overloaded. If the trailer doesn’t have a braking system, do not pull more than 50% of your car’s weight or 750 kilograms, whichever is less. If the trailer has a braking system, then use the second weight on the vehicle’s manufacturer plates. Then you can verify that the load is secure.

Once everything seems to be in working order, take the trailer for a slow test drive. If the trailer swerves or snakes, you’re either going too fast or the trailer is loaded wrong. Go slower than the speed limit, so that you have more time to navigate hazards.

Conclusion

If you’re going to take to the road with a trailer, it is your responsibility to make sure your car and trailer are safe. It is the least you can do to make sure you enjoy your trip and ensure the security of the people you’ll be sharing the road with.

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