Hitching an RV travel trailer to a vehicle is such a huge task that a checklist is actually needed for it. It’s the biggest and possibly the most maddening part of the trip if not done correctly. It’s incredibly time-consuming especially if no one is available to assist the driver.
It cannot be emphasized enough how crucial it is to ensure the trailer is properly hitched before heading for the road. Failing to secure it properly can lead to damage to properties or even fatalities. Luckily, a list is compiled to give tips to make the life of hitching a travel trailer less daunting.
With that said, the first thing to do is read the manual. Every trailer is different and it’ll be good to know the right specs for the particular gear. Make sure an right extender is also available as it can help a great deal. According to HitchFreak, in choosing the best hitch extender, the key considerations are length, height, and weight capacity.
Once the manual reading is out of the way and the driver is familiar with the gear, it’s time to round-up the supplies needed for hitching. Must-haves are lubricants, an apron or towel, rubber blocks, and colorful duct tapes for color coding the chains.
Before the start of hitching, the driver needs to make sure the vehicle is fueled up, all the appliances are turned off and disconnected, all the contents of the trailer are secured, all the openings are closed, and the steps and stabilizers are raised.
There are a lot of details that go into the process so it’s best to make a customized checklist so as to not miss a step.
Hitching the Trailer
Secure the wheels. Secure the chocks to the wheel to keep the trailer from moving while hitching. Unlock the hitch lock, reverse the latch vertically open, and remove the hitch’s removable sway control arms.
Raise the trailer tongue. Line up the center of the trailer and vehicle and raise the front trailer using a jack. Raise the trailer tongue until the hitch ball has room to go under the coupler. Back tow the vehicle and turn off the engine once the tongue coupler is over the ball.
Lower the coupler. Open the latch mechanism and lower the coupler into the ball until the full weight of the trailer is on the ball; just enough for the mechanism to close correctly. Use a lock or a pin to secure the lever.
Close the hitch ball receiver. Lower the trailer and close the hitch ball receiver. Lower the snap-up bracket or saddle and place the proper chain link into the hook. Next, insert one end of the spring bars into the hitch head. If it’s a dual-cam hitch, rest the spring bars on the ends of the cam.
Secure the pin. Raise the coupler back up to its normal position with the short pipe that came with the bracket and safety clip the snap-up brackets. Close the clamp to secure the ball in the coupler. Insert and secure the hitch locking pin. Lock the coupler on the ball using a hitch pin or hitch coupler lock.
String the safety chains. To keep the trailer tongue from hitting the ground if it accidentally comes loose, string the safety chains under the tongue in a cross pattern. All but the smallest trailers should have a hitch with sway control bars and/or weight distribution bars.
Fasten the safety chains. Securely swing up the tongue jack extension to get it out of the way. Then, fasten the safety chains to a permanent part of the tow vehicle. The cable should be attached to the other part not used as a support for the trailer tongue since the trailer brakes will not activate the breakaway cable if the receiver fails.
Create a cradle for the coupler by crossing the chains under the hitch. Should the hitch fail, the trailer will be prevented from hitting the ground. The chains should not be too long that they can drag along the ground.
Test the attachments. Hook up the lights and brakes cable and plug the trailer electrical connections and electrical brake into the holder on the tow vehicle.
The last step is to test the attachment of the ball and coupler by rising the tongue with the jack to ensure it doesn’t come off. Then, check all the lights on the trailer and the vehicle are working. Try all the breaks to make sure it’s connected and calibrated. And finally, connect the safety chains.
Once all the steps are completed, it is now safe to drive off hitched travel trailer!