Trailer Safety Checklist

You will encounter or use a variety of different trailers that are being used for a number of different purposes. Regardless of the trailer type or purpose, it is very important to check the trailer to ensure that it is ready for the road. The trailer safety checklist below will help you to keep yourself and others safe while sharing the road.

  1. The trailer should look square/straight.
  2. The coupler securely engages your hitch.  The coupler and hitch ball must be rated for the same size.  The size should be imprinted on both the ball and the hitch.
  3. Make sure that safety chains are safely secured to the trailer and tow vehicle in a criss-cross fashion under the tongue.
  4. Confirm that the jack is fully cranked up (and parallel to the tongue if it is a swivel jack).
  5. Make sure that the boat is securely tied down with tie-down straps.  Your winch strap is not a tie-down strap.  A winch controls your boat in a horizontal direction.  Tie-downs control your boat in the vertical direction.  You must have bow-ey and transom tie-down straps securely attached whenever the trailer is in use.
  6. Ensure that all fasteners and bolts are properly tightened.  Pay particular attention to the lug nuts.
  7. Properly inflate all tires (read the tire sidewall to determine the correct tire pressure required).  This rating will be different than your tow vehicle.  Also, check for tire wear, cracks, bubbles or foreign objects embedded in the tire.
  8. Confirm that the brake lights and other trailer lights are working.
  9. If the trailer is equipped with brakes, make sure they are functioning by lightly testing them before getting on a major road.
  10. If the trailer is equipped with brakes, connect the breakaway cable (located on top of actuator) to the tow vehicle.