Couplers are the lifeline between your tow vehicle and trailer. A common fear is that your trailer will unhitch. It is your responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t. Here is what you need to know:
- Bumper pull couplers are either 2” or 2&5/16th inch. Know which it is. It is stamped on the coupler. There might be a warning sticker adhered to the coupler stating the size.
- A 2” coupler will not drop onto a 2&5/16th-inch ball. If they don’t match, you can see it.
- A 2&5/16th-inch coupler will drop onto a 2” ball, and you can’t see it. The coupler will cover the ball. It is not secure; it will pop off. If in doubt, jack up trailer nose when hitched. If it doesn’t lift off the ball, it is secure.
- The size of the ball is imprinted on the top of it.
- The ball mount has a rating. It is etched into it.
- The trailer coupler has a weight limit (rating). It is stamped on the coupler.
- Cross the safety chains and attach to the hitch. They support the trailer if the trailer breaks loose.
- Attach the break-away brake cord to the hitch, no to the ball mount or ball. It will activate the trailer breaks if the trailer unhitches and the chains fail.
- There are different styles of couplers. Some have replacement parts if damaged. Some need to be replaced which involves welding. An adjustable coupler makes replacement easy. An adjustable coupler can adjust to the height of tow vehicle’s ball mount instead of vice versa.
- If coupler has a place for a pin to lock it down, use it.
- All gooseneck couplers are 2 5/16th.
- Most all gooseneck couplers are adjustable to maintain a level trailer.
- Safety chains have to be attached. They prevent the trailer from plunging forward into the cab if trailer breaks loose.
- There are different styles of coupler – choose one that’s easy to latch and feels safe.
- Test the coupler connection by jacking up the trailer while hitched. If it doesn’t lift off the ball, it is secured.
- Gooseneck couplers are easy to replace. Bolts will loosen the coupler. Slide it off and slide the new one on. Fasten the bolts.
- Quick release couplers have a cord. One end attaches to the coupler handle. The other attaches near the jack handle for release. If adjusting the coupler downward, adjust cord for more slack. This prevents coupler handle from being held up (not locked) from the cord tension.
- Various couplers such as AirRide reduce trailer bouncing. They can easily replace standard couplers.
For related information about how couplers work with hitches, visit this link.
Tom's trailer Talk "Quick Tips" are provided by EquiSpirit Trailer Co.
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