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TRAILER HIRE by SELF MOVE – Towing Tips

Self Move Hire offers a wide variety of sizes and styles of trailers to suit all of your towing needs. Whether you want to move a few things across town or need to relocate with an interstate hire, we can help you get your things to their destination safely.

However, even the best trailer on the planet is no match for knowing how to safely tow your possessions. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your things get where they need to be in one piece.

  • Be sure that the coupling and safety chains are connected securely. The safety latch on the side of the coupling handle must be hooked down over its catch for security. This stops the trailer, most notably empty trailers, from releasing under shock loads such as those from speed bumps, potholes and broken edges.
  • Be sure that the tow ball is 50mm in diameter and in good shape.
  • Always use D Shackles of the same diameter as the chain to maintain full strength.
  • Add shackles or chain if necessary to ensure the safety chain is long enough to swing freely below the hitch.
  • If necessary, shorten the safety chain to avoid dragging. This can be done by securing a shackle through the second or third link.
  • Be sure that the safety chain is the appropriate length. A chain that is too short can snag on the underside of the tow ball during turns, shearing either the chain or the coupling bolts. A chain that is too long may drag on the roadway, wearing through and breaking in two.
  • Cross over the safety chains left-to-right or right-to-left to ensure the chains hang directly below the tow ball axis. This stops the chains from stretching during turns, and minimizes the movement, when two chains are fitted together, should the trailer come off the ball.
  • Before proceeding, release the park brake on all four wheeled trailers and lift the reversing tab on the main shaft at the front of the coupling to ensure that braking can occur when required.
  • Before reversing, insert the reversing tab on the coupling to stop the brakes from applying when backing up.
  • Do Not Reverse trailer over curbs or other obstacles as forcing the trailer back may seriously damage any slipper springs fitted. If the springs buckle up under the trailer as a result of reversing carelessly, they must be realigned/replaced before proceeding.
  • Raise the Jockey Wheel (by pulling the release handle) and stow it horizontally.
  • Check the operation of lights and indicators and visually inspect the rig for anything out of alignment before proceeding.
  • If the handbrake does not hold the trailer when set on, and then adjust the road brakes by way of the lock mechanism inside the front wheels of the trailer.
  • Secure the load with ropes, straps and/or chains as appropriate.
  • Be sure that approximately 60% of the load mass is in the front half of the trailer with 10% of the mass weighing down on the coupling.
  • Do not overload the trailer or the tow vehicle, and Do Not concentrate mass unevenly or at the back of the trailer.
  • If using the winch on a car trailer, follow the instructions with the Hire Contract. Especially ensure that the winch cable and ratchet lock are all still in good working order. Cover the cable with a blanket or similar to prevent whipping should the cable break. Ensure the car being winched is free rolling, has a driver in it to apply the brakes, and that it does not snag underneath.
  • Travel 25% below the speed limit and allow extra stopping distances.
  • Check tire pressures as a small cross axle difference may result in the trailer swaying.
  • If the trailer sways and tire pressures are firm and even, repack heavy items to the front and center of the trailer.
  • Check that your tow car is registered and insured comprehensively.
  • Check that the tow bar is firmly bolted to your vehicle and in good order with no parts or bolts missing.
  • Check water and oil levels in your tow vehicle as it will be working harder than normal.
  • Consider increasing the tire pressure to maximum levels especially at the rear of your vehicle.

Following these procedures will help you tow safely. If you have any questions, please phone Steve at 1300 826 883.