With warm weather here, there are more and more people outside enjoying the fresh air, the scenery and having fun. Hauling your vehicle safely and using the right ATV trailer parts is a consideration that many, if not all owners think about when deciding to load up your ATV onto your trailer and go. Here are some safe towing tips for your safety and others around you.
1. Inspect Trailer Parts
Trailer safety awareness is a necessary step to take before your trip. And certainly beats receiving a ticket from law enforcement or dealing with a trailer breakdown on the road. Several ATV trailer parts should be inspected before hitting the road, including your:
- Trailer bearings: It is important to ensure there are no locked wheel bearings, making it difficult to control your trailer’s speed (similar to a blown-out wheel).
- Lights: You will want to ensure that your trailer is connected to the vehicle used for towing, so brake lights, turn signals and other trailer parts can do their job.
- Trailer hitch: Rusty parts may require oil, or loose bolts might need to be tightened.
- Tires: A check must be done to ensure all tires are inflated properly.
These are only some of the ATV trailer parts that you should be checking on a regular basis. In general, routine inspections should include any damaged items that need to be repaired or replaced.
2. Ensuring Your Trailer is Level
After a quick once over, it will be time to load your ATV onto the trailer. Drive your trailer, so it is on flat ground. Usually, you will notice if it is even by taking a step back and looking at the trailer from a distance. Leveling your trailer will ensure you load your weight evenly and don’t wear out your tires unnecessarily.
3. Weight Distribution
Weight distribution is key anytime you want to tow any trailer, there are 2 things you should consider. First, when loading your ATV, the weight should be symmetrically distributed from left to right when looking at it from behind. Each trailer wheel should have the same amount of weight on it, this will help the tires wear evenly. It is essential to keep your tires in good condition, always check the pressure levels and the tread before a trip. You will need to ensure that they are the proper size, the load capacity you will need, and that the spare tire is checked for air pressure. The majority of the weight should be centered on the front axle, this will place about 10-20% of the weight on the hitch. Keeping the weight farther forward will reduce the instability of the towing vehicle, preventing fishtailing.
4. Drive Your ATV Up:
Once you have the trailer hooked up to the tow vehicle, and the chains are in an X formation, you are ready to load your ATV. An ATV trailer accessory like a loading ramp is required, and may include additional features like sidewalls for added safety. Each ramp will be rated for your ATV’s weight (including the driver). You will then want to tie-down the ramp to the truck to prevent slipping while driving up them, using a separate strap for each ramp. Switch your ATV to four-wheel drive and gently drive your ATV onto the trailer.
If you are loading more than one ATV, you should maneuver each one so they balance over the axles, this is important for load distribution, as too much weight in the front or back can affect the trailer’s driveability.
5. Securing Your ATV:
Once you start and complete the loading process for your ATV, it is best to hitch your trailer to the tow vehicle before you load the ATVs. Once you have it on the trailer, the ATV should be secured using winch straps hooked properly to the trailer. If you don’t already have, winch straps can be found on the ATV Trailer Accessories section of our website.
The ATV(s) need to be firmly strapped to the trailer. Park the ATV on the trailer with it in park, never neutral, and strap it securely at four points so the suspension compresses and the straps are taught. Use adjustable ratchet straps with a 2,000 lb capacity connected to the ATV’s frame. For the greatest security, you will want to eliminate as much slack in the straps as possible.
You can test this by shaking the ATV after tightening, if it feels like the trailer moves when you shake the ATV, then you are properly secured.
6. Hit the Road:
Now, it is time to hit the road! It is when you are on route that some of the most crucial tips for safely towing an ATV will come into play.
First, it is important to remember that the brakes on a trailer work differently. Therefore, you will need to allow plenty of following distance. This allows you time to stop if the car in front comes to a sudden stop, since your center of gravity is now much farther behind you.
Secondly, exercise extra caution when changing lanes since pulling a trailer will also increase your blind spots and limit your ability to accelerate. More than the usual space will be needed when changing lanes. To help, tow mirrors, one of many options for additional ATV trailer parts, can help increase your view.
Overall, taking your time and keeping an eye on your trailer in the mirror can ensure you arrive at your destination safely and get your ATV to all the best riding spots you can think of.
The most important steps are in the preparation for driving with a trailer. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you make sure to take care and attention with your trailer before you get on the road and have all the necessary ATV trailer accessories on hand. If you have any other questions, concerns, or you need some parts, call us at National Trailer Parts Warehouse.