Learning About Vehicle Maintenance

Learning About Vehicle Maintenance

The Outdoorsman's Guide To Utility Trailer Safety

Nicolas Denys

An outdoorsman's toy box is often his or her utility trailer. Whether you're pulling a fifth-wheel to the lake, horses to your local trails, or ATVs to the desert, you will want to make sure that both you and your favorite toys arrive safely.

Here's a quick guide to help you tow your utility trailer safely:

Getting Hitched

Trailer safety starts by finding the perfect union of hitch for your trailer, gear, and vehicle. The gross trailer weight (GTW) is the maximum weight your vehicle can safely tow. Before you hitch anything to your vehicle, it is critical to double-check that your vehicle can handle the load you intend to hitch to your vehicle.

Once you've verified that your vehicle can tow what you're hitching to it, you will need to select a hitch. Trailer hitches come in 5 classes:

  • Class 1-   2000 pounds GTW  /  200 pounds of tongue weight
  • Class 2-   3500 pounds GTW  /  350 pounds of tongue weight
  • Class 3-   5000 pounds GTW  /  500 pounds of tongue weight
  • Class 4-   7500 pounds GTW  /  750 pounds of tongue weight
  • Class 5-10,000 pounds GTW/1,000 pounds of tongue weight

Tongue Weight (TW): downward force the trailer exerts on the trailer hitch. TW is 10 % the total weight of what you're towing.

Because the weight of your tow package will depend on the amount of gear you're taking on each individual expedition, it's advisable to choose one class up for the minimum weight you're towing. Thus, if your utility trailer weighs 2,000 pounds, you should opt for a Class 2 hitch.

Cross Your Chains

Every utility trailer should be equipped with safety chains. One of the easiest ways to improve the efficacy of your safety chains is to cross them, bottom over top chain. In the event that one chain comes loose, instead of dragging on the ground, it will be supported by the other chain. Also, when maneuvering around tight turns the X pattern ensures that the chains will be equally long.

Double Walk

Before setting out on your big adventure you will want to preform a safety inspection of your utility trailer twice. If possible, having two sets of eyes will help catch any potential safety issues.

Here are some things to look for during your safety inspections:

  • Is your trailer hitch ball flush with the trailer hitch and is the safety pin in place?
  • Are your safety chains secured and crossed?
  • Are your brake lights, running, lights, and turning signals functioning properly?
  • Are your utility trailer's wheels properly inflated?
  • Are your utility trailer's doors and compartments latched and locked?
  • Is the equipment you're towing in your utility trailer secured in place?

Completing this safety inspection requires some teamwork, but completing this inspection can help you avoid a dangerous situation on your journey.

Handle with Care

Although you or other drivers on your trip may have driven your vehicle countless times before, when you're towing a trailer, your vehicle will handle and maneuver differently.

For instance, when it comes to braking, your vehicle will take considerably more time to brake safely. When towing a trailer, there are two keys to braking safely: 1) drive slower and 2) brake earlier. Although this might seem like obvious advice, many accidents involving vehicles towing trailers and other equipment are the result of excessive speeds and precipitous stops.

Another major handling difference you'll notice is when you turn. If you've ever watched a big rig turn you know that they can't fly nimbly around corners. You will need to approach turns from a wider angle. This requires you to turn your steering wheel gradually and wait to straighten out of turns until you're sure that your trailer has successfully negotiated the curve with you.

A utility trailer from a company like Colorado Trailers Inc, just like a three-day weekend, can be an outdoorsman's best friend. These tips can help you tow your favorite outdoor toys safely.


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Learning About Vehicle Maintenance

Hello, my name is Valerie. Welcome to my site. I am here to help you better understand the importance of vehicle maintenance. Cars, trucks and vans all require an adequate amount of maintenance to remain in good operating condition. The maintenance tasks revolve around renewing moving parts and lubricants used throughout the vehicle. Although the bulk of the maintenance starts in the engine, the transmission, brakes and suspension components require care too. In fact, even the interior and exterior pieces in your vehicle require ongoing care. I will use this site to help you learn how to maintain your vehicle for years to come. Thanks.