Trailers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we all need them at one point or another in life. Whether you hitch a trailer to your car for a camping trip, moving houses, or for business purposes, it’s important to know the dynamics involved in hitching, loading, and towing a trailer.
The heart of every trailer towing endeavor is always the hitching equipment. And for the savvy trailer tower, nothing beats a CURT Hitch lock. After all, safety first – always.
A CURT hitch lock will keep your trailer, boat, ATV, camper, or whatever other toys you like towing behind safe. Safe toys always mean peace of mind – no need to keep on waking up so as to keep an eye on your stuff. Before you head off with your trailer, let’s make sure the bases are covered.
Trailer Towing Basics – Before Getting Hitched
Before you rush off and hitch a trailer to your car, there are some towing basics that you need to sort out, both for your safety and that of your equipment.
1. Understand Weight Ratings
This is probably the most important aspect to understand before you hitch a trailer. 3 weight ratings you need to note are:
- The tow vehicle. Understand how much weight your car can tow. I know your car is made of “tuff stuff”, but that doesn’t mean it can tow anything you load on a trailer. Every model is different and as such, can only pull as much as the manufacturers have rated it to tow.
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW). The gross trailer weight is the combined weight of the trailer and the load you are loading on it.
- Tongue Weight. Tongue weight is the downward weight or pressure placed on the ball. If this weight is greater than rated, you will end up damaging your car.
2. Know Your Hitch Rating
A trailer hitch is the part you bolt onto the chassis of your car – the one with the ball. Trailer hitches come in 4 classes for normal vehicles and their loads. A fifth class is marketed by hitch manufacturers but this is mainly for abnormal loads like construction equipment. Trailer hitch classes are dependent on the weight ratings mentioned above with:
- Class I carrying up to 2,000 lb (910 kg) – light loads
- Class II carrying up to 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) – light loads
- Class III carrying up to 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) – larger loads (campers, boats, etc.)
- Class IV carrying up to 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) – larger loads (campers, boats, etc.)
Your hitch rating usually determines the size of your receiver and, ultimately, the size of your hitch pin.
3. Safety First – Get a Trailer Hitch Lock
Trailer hitch locks secure your trailer from being stolen. A great example is a CURT hitch lock. You’ll be surprised at how many people think hitching a trailer is enough to deter thieves. Think about it. How long does it take, let’s say, 2 men, to hitch and unhitch a trailer? And how long does it take you to use the restroom? I’m sure I’ve made my point.
Not only do trailer locks protect your precious cargo from being stolen, but they also prevent your trailer from unhitching by accident. Imagine that happening on a busy road – while you are in motion.
Before buying a hitch lock though, you need to make sure you are getting a good hitch lock. There are many hitch locks on the market and some of them are made from cheap quality materials that can easily be cut with a cutter, or break apart due to the weight of your load. Hitch pin strength is a critical factor to consider when securing your trailer.
A great hitch lock I would strongly recommend is the CURT 23518 hitch lock. Why? It’s probably the toughest, easiest, and best looking hitch locks made for class 3 and 4 receivers. Plus, it’s a locking hitch pin, giving you added security.
4. Learn the Skill of Trailer Loading
There is a science to trailer loading. An improperly loaded trailer will make your vehicle difficult to handle on the road. A properly balanced trailer, on the other hand, will handle like a dream. So how do you balance your trailer? Follow this general rule and you will be safe: Load the front of the trailer first, with approximately 60% of the weight. Make sure to evenly distribute it.
Ready to Go Towing?
If you don’t have a CURT 23518 hitch lock, you’re not. Simple as that.