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How to Tow Trailers

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    • 1). Determine the towing capacity of your vehicle by looking in the owner's manual. Calculate the weight of the trailer plus the cargo it will carry. The trailer's weight is located on a data plate under gross trailer weight (GTW).

    • 2). Determine if your vehicle can safely tow the weight of the trailer. The trailer plus the cargo's mass must be less than the towing capacity of the vehicle.

    • 3). Connect the trailer's coupler to the vehicle's hitch by lowering it on and locking the latch. Secure the latch in its locked position by inserting a cotter pin through the hole in its handle.

    • 4). Fasten the trailer's right chain to the left side of the vehicle's hitch and the left chain to the right side. The crossed chains catch the trailer's tongue in the event the trailer's coupler becomes detached from the vehicle's hitch.

    • 5). Connect the trailer's electrical connector to the vehicle's electrical receiver by pushing the two together. If the two plugs do not match an adapter which can bridge the gap between the two different connectors, replacements can be purchased from a local trailer or hardware store. You will need to identify the type of each connection by counting the electrical wires on each. For example, if the trailer has four electrical connections on its plug, it is a 4-way or 4-pole connector. Refer to the resource section for diagrams of common connectors.

    • 6). Double-check all of the connections and walk around the vehicle and trailer to check for anything which may cause an unsafe trip. A flat or loose tire should be corrected before heading out on the road.

    • 7). Test the trailer's lights respond to the driver's controls. Cycle through brake, signal and marker lights while a friend confirms proper operation of the trailer lights.

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