Business

All you need to know about using a trailer

There will be times in your construction work where you will need to move your equipment yourself. This is where hiring a trailer will come in handy. Trailers come in a range of sizes and they can be useful for transporting just about anything you’d need on a construction site.

Hitching your trailer

Before you look at hiring a trailer, you need to make sure that the vehicle you want to tow it with is legally able to tow a trailer safely. You can do this by checking the tow weight limits in the vehicle’s manual; if you’re missing your manual, you can also check this information online.

You need to find two numbers: the gross trailer weight (GTW), and the maximum tongue weight for your vehicle – which will determine the class of hitch you’ll need to tow the load.

Next, make sure you get the appropriate class of hitch for your load installed. Generally, you’ll get a hitch receiver installed that you can use for different size trailer hitches. These receivers include a removable draw-bar that you can use to install different sized hitches for different loads you might use.

Then, get the right-sized ball for the trailer; the larger the ball, the more weight it can carry.

Finally, attach the trailer to your vehicle. Use a tongue jack to raise the trailer and align it with the ball on your vehicle. Make sure that the hitch lock is unlocked before lowering the trailer onto the ball and securing the tongue. Cross the safety chains to the hooks near the vehicle hitch or the vehicle frame, making sure there is enough slack in the chains.

License requirements

A full car licence lets you tow trailers weighing no more than 750kg. You can also tow heavier trailers with a car as long as the total weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg.

How to safely drive with your trailer

Before you start driving with your trailer, make sure that the trailer is safely connected to the hitch on your vehicle, and the brake lights and signals are working properly. When hiring a trailer, your equipment hire company will have tested that the trailer is fully functional, but it is extremely important that the brake lights on the trailer are working properly when connected to your car, otherwise, other motorists on the road won’t be able to tell when you are slowing down or about to stop.

Taking precautions

Always double-check that your brake lights and signals are working properly before each journey, and that the load you’re towing in your trailer is fully secured down to minimise any risk while you’re driving.

Loading your trailer

As for actually loading your trailer, always make sure that you are using proper lifting techniques to ensure that you aren’t going to accidentally injure yourself while you’re putting everything that you need in your trailer.

In addition, don’t overload your trailer past its maximum tow weight. A heavy trailer has a huge potential to slow down your vehicle or even damage it. It’s vital that you stick to any weight limits, no matter what you’ve loaded into it.

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