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Project Overview

Trailers are ideal for transporting all sorts of things, from furniture to garden waste. 

Knowing how to hitch and unhitch a trailer with confidence can give you greater peace of mind as well as ensuring your trailer is safely and securely connected.

Knowing the trailer parts

The main parts of a trailer that are involved in hitching and unhitching are:

  • The Coupler: The coupler is usually a ball type, and it attaches to the ball on the vehicle for a more secure connection.
  • The Handle: This locks the tow ball and releases it.
  • The Safety Latch: The safety latch keeps the coupler from jumping off during transport. Always make sure you have the safety latch in place before driving off.
  • The Safety Chain: This is added protection in case the coupling fails. The chain has a D shackle that connects straight to your vehicle. Some trailers only have one chain but larger trailers may have two. If you have two chains always remember they have to be crossed before you set off.
  • The Light Lead Connector: This connects the lights of your vehicle to the trailer. Light lead connectors come in a range of different types to suit different vehicles.

Before you get started, be aware that you can’t just connect any trailer to any vehicle; you need to have the right vehicle for your job. This means it needs to have the right sized tow ball and the appropriate towing capacity.

If you are in Australia, the tow ball needs to be 50mm. If you’re in New Zealand it’s 50mm or 1 7/8 for all our trailers. You’ll also need to ensure that your vehicle has a suitable towing capacity for your application. You can find the towing capacity information on your vehicle’s tow hitch or by checking your vehicle’s user manual.

Once you are sure you have the right tow ball and your vehicle’s towing capacity is up to the job, you’re ready to hitch the trailer to your vehicle. Follow the steps below to learn how to hitch and unhitch your trailer.

Remember: It’s an offence to have any items in your trailer that are not secured tightly. Make sure you have everything tied down and any loose items are covered before you set off.

Always be aware when you’re hitching or unhitching a trailer. Notice if something looks out of place, double check to make sure it’s hitched properly and discuss any concerns with your travel buddy or a Kennards Hire team member.

If you have any questions about our equipment or need advice on the best equipment to use, the team at your local Kennards Hire branch should be able to help you.

For more information get in touch with your local branch today.

Step By Step

Position the trailer
Release the Handle
Safety Pin
Connect the Safety Chain
Connect the Light Lead
Jockey Wheel
Unhitching The Trailer
Lift the Jockey Wheel
Light Lead
Safety Chain
Position the trailer
Carefully position the hitching coupler over the tow ball. If you have a jockey wheel on the trailer, use this to lower the coupler over the ball, otherwise you can just lower it carefully by hand.
Release the Handle
Once the coupler is in position, release the handle and it will lock into place.
Safety Pin
Lock the handle and insert the safety pin to keep the coupler secured.
Connect the Safety Chain
Connect the safety chain to the vehicle using the D shackle. You’ll need to make sure the screw is tightened into the shackle thread and not loosely inserted.
Connect the Light Lead
Connect the light lead, which activates the trailer’s lights. Check these are properly functioning. Test the tail lights, brake lights and blinkers to make sure everything is connected up correctly.
Jockey Wheel
Stow away the jockey wheel and you’ll be all ready to go.
Unhitching The Trailer
Make sure the trailer is on level ground and place wedges on the wheels to keep them from rolling.
Lift the Jockey Wheel
If you have a jockey wheel, wind it up to lift the trailer off the tow ball. If you don’t have a jockey wheel, simply lift the trailer up off the tow ball.
Light Lead
Disconnect the light lead from the vehicle.
Safety Chain
Unhitch the safety chain, taking care not to lose the D shackle.
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