AOSA Tip 4 - Trailer Towing Tips. 

(Paraphrased from a presentation given by The Hitch Shop in 2000)

  1. The strongest trailer ball is one machined from a single stock of metal as this design has the lowest failure rating. Balls that have a screw stud cannot achieve the same strength.
  2. Lubricate the ball to prevent metal fatigue. Cover it with a vinyl bra when not used.
  3. Lubricate the front pivot point of each equalizing bar with light grease. Cover them with a rag to keep it clean.
  4. Tow a tandem axle trailer level with the ground so both axles support equal weight to stop the trailer with maximum resistance. Leveling should be accomplished by positioning the ball height, NOT adjusting the tension of the equalizing bars.
  5. Pull up only enough force on the equalizing bars to restore the height of the tow vehicle. Any more lift will result in a dangerous condition.
  6. Tow your trailer with approximately 10% of the gross trailer weight on the ball. This is a good starting point. At NO TIME must the trailer tongue lift off the ball. This is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS as the coupler could come off and the trailer will likely not survive the impact. The symptoms of this are hobby horsing as you travel down the road, especially over frost heaves or long bumps, etc.
  7. A trailer towed behind a short wheelbase vehicle will have a greater tendency to sway than behind a long wheel base vehicle. Most of the sway can be controlled with an anti-sway bar. It's attached between the frame of the trailer and the hitch of the tow vehicle, adjacent to the hitch.