How to: Hitch a Trailer

Categories: Tips

Makes Transporting Easier & More Convenient

Owning a cargo trailer or utility trailer makes transporting easier and more convenient. But before you load it up and go, it’s important to know how to hitch a trailer to your tow vehicle. Whether you have a cargo trailer or an open utility trailer, follow these basic tips:

  1. Enlist help
    You can hitch a trailer to your vehicle by yourself, but it’s easier with assistance, especially if you’re inexperienced.
  2. Raise the level of the trailer’s hitch
    Make sure it is several inches higher than the ball hitch on your back bumper.
  3. Have your buddy help guide 
    They can guide you as you back your tow vehicle up to the trailer, getting as close as possible. This is safer and easier than pulling the trailer toward your vehicle. Try to position the vehicle’s ball hitch directly under the trailer hitch to avoid having to move the trailer manually.
  4. Unlock the coupler locking device
    Then, place the coupler directly over the hitch ball. Lower the coupler until it has completely covered the hitch ball. Make sure the ball clamp is below the ball and not riding on top of it.
  5. Latch the coupler to the hitch ball
    The ball should lock in place. Test it by lifting up the trailer tongue. If the coupler comes loose from the ball, unlatch it and go back to Step 4.
  6. Fully raise the jack
    This next step depends on the type of hitch you have:
    For a weight distributing hitch with spring bars, follow the procedures above. Then, attach the spring bar chain to the trailer and tighten it until your trailer and vehicle are in the normal, level position. If you have a trailer with a surge brake breakaway cable or chain, connect the cable or chain to your truck or car, making sure to allow enough slack for you to make tight turns.
  7. Attach the safety chains
    This will help you if anything should happen while in transit.
  8. Connect the trailer wiring harness 
    Connect it to the lighting system of your tow vehicle and check its operation.

Now you’re good to go! If you have any questions, consult your owner’s manual or contact your local Formula Trailers dealer.