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How to Hitch a Trailer

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Whether you are hooking up a trailer for the first time, or it’s just been a while, the process can seem intimidating. Making sure to hook up your hitch correctly is imperative in order to avoid damage to your car and trailer. Don’t worry – hooking up a trailer is actually a simple and straightforward process. Follow these simple steps and learn the basics of how to hitch a trailer in just a few minutes.

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  1. Raise your trailer tongue ball socket or coupler to a height that will clear the ball.
  2. Line up the center of your trailer and the center of your vehicle.
  3. Back the vehicle up until the tongue coupler is over the ball. Turn off the engine and put on the emergency brake.
  4. Lower the tongue coupler socket onto the trailer hitch ball until the full weight of the trailer is on the ball. Close the coupler clamp securing the ball in the coupler and lock the coupler on the ball using a hitch pin or hitch coupler lock.
  5. Run the safety chains under the tongue so they cross one anotherso that the trailer tongue won’t hit the ground if it comes loose from the hitch while driving.
  6. Plug in the electrical connections for the trailer lights and the electrical brake on the trailer (if applicable) to the tow vehicle.
  7. Make sure the hitch ball and coupler are firmly attached by using the tongue jack to rise on the tongue to make sure the tongue coupler does not come off the ball.
  8. Retract the tongue jack extension and swing it up and out of the way. Be sure to secure or remove it so it will not fall down while driving.
  9. Make sure it’s all working. Pull the tow vehicle forward a few feet, put it in park, set the emergency brake, and turn on the vehicle lights. Check to make sure the lights are all working and nothing is loose around the hitch.

It’s that easy! If you still have questions on how to hitch a trailer, check out the video below, with great visual instructions, or see which options are the top weight distribution hitches. Happy towing!

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