Towing 101: Staying Connected Matters

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Towing

Imagine cruising down the road at 55 mph, towing your trailer behind you.  Suddenly, you hit a huge bump in the road, and your trailer becomes unhitched from your trailer ball.  Just like that, 6,000 pounds of metal is flying freely down the highway, ready to slam into oncoming traffic.

The coupler of the trailer you are towing has been designed to fit a specific size trailer ball.  As in the scenario above, attaching a trailer to a towing vehicle with an improperly fitting ball or hitch coupler can cause a serious accident – mainly the tongue of the trailer popping off the ball and disconnecting itself from the towing vehicle.

That is why you need a second line of defense when towing a trailer and this is where hitch safety chains come in.  Safety chains are used to keep the towing vehicle and the trailer connected in case they become disconnected while towing.  Not only is it just a good idea to have these on your hitch whenever you’re towing, but federal and local laws also require you to have safety chains equipped while towing.

Including hitch safety chains, there are three crucial components when attaching the trailer to the tow vehicle hitch.  The first is the hitch ball or trailer ball where the trailer coupler attaches to the tow vehicle.  Trailer balls come in a variety of sizes, so if you have a trailer ball, don’t assume it is the correct size.  The shank diameter of a trailer ball can also vary depending on the weight rating of the trailer ball.  Remember, the rating of the hitch ball is just as important as the hitch rating.

Hitch Diagram(Courtesy of – This diagram reflects the different components necessary for hooking up a trailer. They also provide a comprehensive guide to buying hitches on their website at

Second is the hitch coupler, which is used to secure the trailer to the towing vehicle.  Some couplers have a “hand wheel” that can be turned to tighten or loosen the coupler to the hitch ball.  There are also “latch style” couplers that will lock onto the trailer ball to hold the coupler and ball together.  The most important thing to remember is the trailer ball and coupler must be the same size!

The third crucial component is the safety chains.  Safety chains must be secured every time you tow.  Make sure any kind of hitch you use has provisions for the connection of safety chains.  The safety chains should always be crossed to help prevent the trailer tongue from dropping to the road if the trailer were to separate from the tow vehicle.  Chains should be fastened to a solid area of the framework (of the towing vehicle) or to the area of the tow hitch designed for that purpose.  The chains should have some slack to permit sharp turns, but not drag on the road.

When renting a trailer from Bunce Rental, our staff will make sure you have the correct trailer ball, sized to the trailer hitch coupler and assist you with the proper hook-up and connection of your rental trailer.  We want your towing experience to be safe and accident free.  By following these simple guidelines, you can stay “connected” and towing with the utmost ease and safety.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s