That’s all it takes, right? Stick a ball through the back bumper, drop a trailer on to that ball and drive away. No worries…
Well, not quite.
A competent hitch system is made up of several components. Let’s explore what goes into having a tow system that will do the job and do it safely.
To safely hitch a trailer to a vehicle, you need the following components:
On your vehicle you need:
The hitch is the component that enables and creates the connection between the trailer and your vehicle. It is bolted to the frame of the vehicle so that it forms a stable and strong connection. All the forces of towing, accelerating, braking, tilting, and more that act on the vehicle as a result of towing are carried and absorbed by the hitch. It is important to get the correct kind of hitch for the type (weight) of towing that you are going to do. Hitches are made grouped into five classes with 1 being the lightest and 5 being the heaviest. Most trucks are set up with a class 3 hitch.
The ball mount
A ball mount–as the word strongly implies–is the piece to which you attache the trailer ball on which the trailer coupler is attached. Two important things are drop and weight capacity.
Drop refers to how many inches below the receiver the ball mount sits. Common distances are 2 -10 inches, and usually available in 2-inch increments.
The ball is the connection between the trailer and the tow vehicle. Trailer balls come in three principal sizes or diameters: 1 7/8 2 2 5/16 Two and 2 5/16 are the most common sizes and pretty much all trailers 12 ft in length and over have couplers that require a 2 5/16 ball. The ball is secured to the ball mount with with a large nut and a lock washer. A 2 5/16 ball with a 1 1/4-inch shank will have a nut that takes a 1 7/8-inch wrench and if it’s a 1-inch shank, the nut will require a 1 1/2-inch wrench.
At Load Runner Trailers in Orlando we can install hitches, swap out ball mounts and trailer balls, install brake controllers, hitch systems, and much more. Give us a call at (407) 258-3266 to find out what we can do to make your trailer experience easier and more profitable.
Trailer wheels come in three common configurations:
Five lug nuts: 3,500 lbs axles
Six lug nuts: 5,200 lbs axles
Eight lug nuts: 7,000 lbs axles and 10,000 lbs axles
The basic objective when attaching a wheel to a trailer axle is to ensure that it stays on. Watching one of your trailer wheels separate from the trailer and roll off into a ditch–or heaven forbid–into an oncoming car is both fascinating and terrifying at the same time (emphasis on terrifying for the gal/guy in the oncoming car).
So how difficult can that be?
Not very, but you should still do it the right way. Lug nuts should actually be tightened in a specific order to ensure that they stay snug to the wheel equally and securely.
So what is the right way?
Funny, you should ask… Here follow three easy-peasy diagrams that show you how to properly tighten lug nuts.
Safety is important to us because we love repeat customers. Chances are, if you disregard all safety precautions and get yourself hurt–or worse–not only will your family and friends be upset once there less or nothing left of you, we will have lost a potential repeat customer. And that hurts.
So, don’t be a dummy; use common sense and these tips to make sure that all your trips that include trailer towing, are as safe as you can make them. Here follow nine tips on how to make your trailer towing as safe as possible. This post will be followed by many more on all aspects of the fine art of getting you and your cargo there safely.
Don’t do stupid stuff. Sure, we all push the envelope every once in a while, but if it’s going to cost you a day’s revenue, or more, because you damaged your trailer, please think again. We have some really cool new trailers coming this summer, and we want you to be able to come back and buy one (or more).
Hook it up properly. Are your hitch, ball mount, ball, and coupler all rated for the weight you are carrying? Chances are you are spending all your good luck on a trailer connection that is not properly rated.
Make sure your tow vehicle is up to the task. You simply can’t tow a 14,000 lb trailer with a Smart car. It won’t work. I promise.
Know how much your trailer can carry. Sure those axles look sturdy. I know your crazy Uncle Butch loads his trailers with twice as much weight as those weenies at Load Runner Trailers say they can carry, but we promise you, he’s making it up or he doesn’t know pounds and tons.
It really does matter whether your brakes work or not. This is no joking matter: your trailer brakes are hugely, bigly important. Remember: a body in motion tends to stay in motion. If you hit the brakes on your truck and the trailer behind it isn’t also activated to slow down, you are going to experience panic and you will endanger yourself and everyone with you/around you.
Your trailer lights are not just there to give law enforcement something to do if yours aren’t working. Trailers need marker lights and all the signal lights to properly communicate your navigational intentions when driving. Once you’re towing a trailer, the vehicles behind you can’t see the signals on your vehicle. If those signals aren’t replicated on the trailer, we have, what in the movie “Cool Hand Luke” was called a “failure to communicate.”
Take care of your trailer tires and carry a spare. Trailer tires are made of rubber and are filled with air. In essence they are ruggedized balloons. They can wear down, deflate,puncture, explode, and are especially likely to do these things if you don’t own a spare.
Trailers are not engineered for high speeds. Just because your chipped, 699 horse-power Super Duty can do 160 mph with your 32 ft gooseneck in tow, doesn’t mean that the synapse that fired off that notion should be heeded. The reason is simple: your trailer and its tires are not designed for speeds in excess of 75 mph.
Axles are sturdy, but they are not perpetual motionmachines. Load Runner Trailers carries trailers equipped with the best axles in the industry, Dexter and Lippert. Still, if you don’t take care of them, they will lie in wait for the most strategically awful opportunity to fail in order to wreak painful revenge on you for not taking better care of them. That said, unlike a metrosexual who requires facials, massages, spa days, counseling, and yoga to get through his day, axles only require a shot of high-quality bearing grease every two to three months to serve you unflinchingly and flawlessly.