Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Properly Attach Your Trailer's Safety Chains

Right way: Cross the chains before you attach them to your tow vehicle. They should hang a few inches below the tongue, not drop near to the ground. In the event that your trailer comes of the hitch ball as you're moving, the crossed chains are meant to help cradle the trailer tongue until you can get stopped.

Wrong way: Chains hooked without the criss-cross, and hanging low to the ground. With this configuration, the trailer tongue is guaranteed to hit the pavement, dig a furrow, and do worse things than that after coming off the ball of a tow rig going at speed. You won't get the chance to slow down before your trailer becomes a dead-weight anchor that could jerk you right off the road.

Further reminder: Always double-check your coupler lock before you depart on a trip, and at every stop.

Stay safe!


  1. Great post. I will start crossing now.

  2. A friend had her trailer come off the ball--the trailer hit the ground so hard, at 30 mph, that the entire front end of the trailer basically blew apart before her tow rig got jerked backward and collided with what was left.

  3. Wow thanks for the advise! I'm new at pulling and won't forget this great tip!

  4. Hi Juli,
    Such great trailer tips! I've just become your newest follower. Come check out my little blog where I talk about Betty, my little camper. Just like a campfire, all visitors welcome!
    Happy trails,

  5. I have gone over bumps twice and had my trailer pop off. Scares the bejeezus out of me. I now triple check to make sure the coupler is actually clamped around the ball (I jump up and down on the bumper a few times), AND make sure that the hitch pin is actually going THROUGH the hitch shank, not just passing behind it (yep, trailer fell off then, too! I'm done with that nonsense now).

  6. Thanks for sharing this quick safety tip. A worry-free and fun travel/camping adventure is assured if travelers are all safe.

    Hints on Buying Camper Trailers

  7. Our boat has come off the hitch twice...both times crashing into the vehicle towing it and ruining the tailgate and back doors. :( Very scary.

    1. Are you sure you have the right-sized ball on your hitch? I would for sure go get that checked out--U-Haul is a good place to get general hitch inspection.

  8. Your posts are always so helpful! Thank you and keep up the good work!

  9. Wow, good tip! I only have one chain! Will show it to hubby, and have him weld another chain, so I can hook it up like this!

  10. Great idea, Pamela, to get a second chain welded on. A single one serves no useful purpose!

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