Park and uncouple the trailer: Pay attention to these points

12. Juli 2021 um 16:02

Parking the trailerAfter your trailer ride, your trailer must be safely “stowed away” again. We have put together a few tips for you on parking, uncoupling and securing the trailer, which you should pay attention to when parking the trailer.

This is how you park your trailer

Reversing with a trailer can be a bit difficult at times. As always, it is easiest when you have someone to instruct you. And: practice makes perfect. Reversing works best when you know your team really well and can assess how the trailer will react to your steering movements.
Before parking, you should make sure that the space or gap where the trailer is to be parked is large enough and that there are no obstacles in the way. You should also have enough space in front of you for maneuvering. Clear possible obstacles – if  necessary – out of the way and look for landmarks in advance that you can have a good view of when reversing and help you to position the trailer.

If, for example, you have to hit a gap in a number of other trailers, it can be helpful if you are already trying to move the trailer as close as possible to the gap when you are driving forward so that you don’t have to go as far in reverse. In principle, think in advance what you can already consider when driving forwards in order to make it easier for you to drive backwards. Always avoid hectic steering movements. It is better to stop once too much than too little to make sure that everything fits and that you can get the trailer to stop exactly where you want it to be.

Safety first

When you have parked the trailer, you should first make sure that the trailer is secured and prevent it from rolling away as soon as you have released it from the towing vehicle. Use wheel chocks for this and be sure to tighten the trailer’s brake as a first step. Then dissolve the electronic connection between the trailer and the towing vehicle and clear the trailer’s power cable in the receptacle that is often provided for it. Then crank the trailer’s support wheel down and lift the trailer off the trailer hitch. Only as the last step do you loosen the breakaway cable. This is an important point in your hanging out routine and a final safeguard to prevent the trailer from rolling away. Only loosen the breakaway cable if you are sure that you have completed all the other steps beforehand and that the trailer is safe and secure and, above all, cannot roll away.

Attaching the trailer: The most important steps

2. Juni 2021 um 18:14

Attaching the trailerYou are about to start your first trip with the trailer, but you have not yet attached it yourself? We have a few tips for you and explain the most important steps for securely and easily attaching your trailer.

Driving to the trailer backwards

When approaching the trailer, you should focus on precision and take your time. First, pay attention to where your trailer is. For example, is there a enough space left and right and behind the trailer? Are there possible obstacles that you should not only have in the back of your head, but should also be cleared out of the way beforehand? It is of course easiest if you have a helper whom you can place beside the trailer and who will then instruct you. But even without a helper, you can attach the trailer by yourself with a little practice.

Make sure that you drive as straight as possible in front of the trailer and that your trailer hitch is positioned as centrally as possible towards the trailer. With a little practice, you can also identify landmarks on the trailer that will help you to center the towing vehicle backwards towards the trailer.

You should be careful not to drive too fast. Especially when you are alone, it is better to slowly make your way towards the trailer than to risk a dent in the back of your car. A mark on the ground may help you to better estimate the distance so that you don’t have to get out of the car to check the remaining distance to the trailer. A mirror that you mount on the trailer or a rear-view camera for your vehicle (if this is not part of the equipment already, the camera can also be retrofitted) will help you approach the trailer.

Attaching the trailer

The time has come, your towing vehicle is centered in front of the drawbar of the trailer. Now you slowly crank the support wheel down, making sure that you hit the trailer hitch on the towing vehicle as precisely as possible. On some trailers, cranking down is hindered by the trailer’s parking brake. You should only solve the parking brake once you have made sure that the trailer cannot roll forwards or backwards. It is best to use wheel chocks if you have to release the parking brake early.

If you have cranked the trailer down so far that it is in contact with the towbar, the trailer may jump onto the towbar by itself and lock into place. If this is not the case, you lift the lever on the ball coupling slightly and use it to open the trailer coupling so that you can place the trailer on the trailer coupling and attach it. When you let go of the lever, the ball hitch lock should automatically click into place. To be sure that the lock has worked, you can crank the support wheel up a little. If the trailer does not detach from the towbar, everything is locked correctly.

Security check: Is everything correct?

With the locking of the ball coupling on the trailer coupling, you have already passed the first security check. Then you attach the breakaway cable and plug in the plug for the power connection between the towing vehicle and the trailer. Now all you have to do is check the support wheel and, if necessary, bring it into its parking position, release the trailer’s brake, remove any wedges and you can drive out of the trailer’s parking space. Also, briefly make sure that all lamps and indicators on the trailer are working correctly. Then you are ready for your journey.

You can read about how to correctly secure your load when driving a trailer in our blog post.

Safely transporting bikes

12. März 2021 um 16:33

Rear bicycle rack for transporting bicyclesIt’s slowly getting nicer outside and you can take a ride on the bikes. Even a more distant round can be easily taken into account with a short transport of the bicycles. Rear bike racks are best for transporting the bikes. What do you have to pay attention to with your rear bike carrier?

The number of bikes in transport

With each rear bike carrier model, it is precisely specified how many bikes can be transported with it. On the one hand, every bicycle must have its own rail on the carrier, as this is the only way to ensure secure attachment. On the other hand, the number of bicycles is also relevant in terms of weight. After all, the rear bicycle racks are not only designed and tested for a certain number of bicycles, but also for their weight. If, for example, baskets or bags are still attached to your bicycles, it may be advisable to remove them in terms of weight.

The compatibility of the trailer hitch

Rear bike racks, which have a quick-release fastener for mounting on the towbar, are very easy to use. You can also see this in our German video.

As a rule, such closures are compatible with the common towbars, so that there are no problems for you.
If you don’t have a trailer hitch, you can of course also attach a bike rack to your tailgate or, for example, transport the bikes on the roof.

Loading and securing the load on the rear bike rack

Safe loading is also very important for a safe journey. As already mentioned above, you should always keep an eye on the permitted values ​​for load and weight. Also make sure that you always secure the bikes well. On the rear bicycle racks from our shop, fastening devices are provided in the wheel shells as well as a device for fastening to the frame of the bicycle. In this way, your bike will be fixed in three places. You should attach the fastenings tightly and – if possible – lock them so that everything is lashed as well as possible. At the same time, everything that is attached to the bike (such as bags or baskets) should be removed. These items are often bulky and prevent the bikes from being securely attached to the rear bicycle rack.

When is a warning sign necessary during your drive with a trailer?

10. Februar 2021 um 15:44

 Warning signs for driving with a trailerIf you load your trailer, you may have to attach a warning sign to the trailer, of course this must be done before the journey. But in which cases is a sign required and what should it look like?

Red flag as a warning sign in the event of a towering load

The maximum length for your team is specified in the road traffic regulations and must not exceed 20.75 meters. At the same time, the width and height are also defined and important values ​​that you should consider when driving. With the exception of agricultural and forestry vehicles, normal vehicles and their cargo must not be wider than 2.5 meters and not higher than 4 meters. The load must not protrude to the front, this is only allowed for vehicles that are higher than 2.5 meters. But even then, the load may only protrude forward by half a meter.

If you are transporting cargo that protrudes to the rear, an overhang of 1.5 meters is still permitted. However, loads that protrude more than 1 meter beyond the reflector must be labeled. For this you need a red flag. This must be 30×30 cm. A red, cylindrical body with a diameter of 35 cm is also permitted. You have to attach both below a height of 1.5 meters so that it is visible to the following drivers in traffic.

Warning signs for trailers and rear bike carriers

If your trailer is too long, red and white warning signs are required. When you buy a new trailer, these are in most cases pre-assembled. Otherwise you can reorder them online.

Such warning signs are also compulsory in some countries when using the rear bicycle rack. In Spain and Italy for example, you have to mount a warning sign on the rear bike rack. This is also red and white, square and usually made of aluminum. If you do not mount the warning sign and are checked at a traffic control, you will be charged a penalty. Since the regulations for these warning signs are not uniformly regulated across the EU, you should definitely inform yourself before going on holiday abroad in order to avoid these sometimes sensitive penalties.

Check up for the towbar: Keep these points in mind every year

28. Januar 2021 um 15:03

Check up towbar

What should you pay attention to as part of an annual check-up – regardless of whether you travel a lot with the trailer or whether you drive less with it? We have put together the most important points for the annual check-up of your towbar, after all, your towbar accompanies you all year round and in the true sense of the word.

For detachable towbars: cleaning the mount

If you have a detachable trailer hitch, then rinse the coupling for the towing hitch, i.e. the sleeve into which you insert the ball rod during assembly, once a year with some water. There used to be a so-called protective plug that prevented the sleeve from being contaminated. This plug is no longer required due to a product optimization of the intake. A simple rinse is sufficient, as the holder is now designed in such a way that, in principle, significantly less dirt can adhere to it.

If you’ve been off-road, of course, after such a trip you should take a look at the towbar anyway, rinse it off briefly and, if necessary, check whether there are any small branches or mud crusts in the mount.

Functional test of the removable and swiveling towbar at the check-up

If you travel a lot with the trailer or the rear bike carrier, then you already use your trailer hitch a lot and use all functions regularly. However, if you have not used the trailer hitch for a longer period of time, it is advisable to assemble and disassemble both a detachable and a swiveling towbar from time to time. In this way you can rule out that processes may no longer go well or that something gets stuck in the automatic system of the towbar. This is also good for the lock of the trailer hitch, at the same time you know your way around the product better and are prepared for every journey.

Where is the spare key?

If you order a trailer coupling, we will supply you with two keys with every detachable and swiveling trailer coupling. These are for the theft protection of the towbar. One of the two keys is intended as a spare key. You should keep it in a fixed place and best of all with a key fob, as the keys have a red handle, but are still quite small.

Remove the trailer coupling when not in use and stow it safely

If you do not use your towbar, it is advisable to always remove it or to fold it in with the swiveling towbar. A rigid towbar naturally remains on the vehicle. By removing it, you reduce the risk of damage to the trailer coupling in the event of a possible rear-end collision. Otherwise the towbar would have to be completely replaced, and many insurance companies also require the trailer hitch to be folded in or removed when not in use.

To safely stow the detachable ball rod, we provide you with a practical bag in which you can store the ball bar in the trunk, for example. Make sure that the towball cannot fly around in the trunk, for example when driving or braking.


  		 		
  		 		

Slippery road: Trailer driving in foliage and wet weather

29. Oktober 2020 um 8:09

 Slippery road: Trailer driving in foliage and wet weather

A slippery road surface often makes driving with a trailer difficult, with autumn there is now more moisture and leaves on the road surface, so it can quickly become slippery. It is not only important to let your trailer hitch “hibernate” accordingly in autumn, but also to prepare yourself for the trip with the trailer in foliage and cold weather. We have put together the most important points for such trips on slippery roads for you.

Appropriate coupling

Before each trip with the trailer, you should take a careful look. Is the trailer hitch correctly installed? Is the detachable ball rod correctly engaged and locked? Is the trailer also correctly positioned on the ball bar and also engaged? Has the tear rope been attached correctly? Once all these points have been worked through, you are at least a little bit closer to the trip with the trailer. In principle, the points mentioned should of course not only be checked when driving on slippery roads and in cold weather and leaves on the roads, but before each trip. Your safety and that of other road users is particularly important and can quickly be adversely affected by a detached trailer.

Check lighting – before driving

Before driving with the trailer, make sure that the lighting of the trailer and the electronics are checked. Do all turn signals work? Especially when driving in the dark, it is very important that you are seen and safely participate in road traffic.

Slippery road surface: the right tires are essential

Winter tires are mandatory for motor vehicles and enable safe driving in wet, frost and snow and also on a slipper road. For the trailer, you should also make sure that it is correctly and above all frosted. Otherwise, a slippery road quickly becomes an unwanted adventure. Depending on where your journey takes you or where you are traveling, snow chains are also a sensible investment for the trailer. Make absolutely sure that it is ensured as far as possible that the trailer and the towing vehicle cannot slip.

Pay attention to the speed on a slipper road

As with all trips with a trailer, you should always make sure that you keep to the permissible maximum speed. This is not only important to avoid possible fines, but also to ensure the safest possible ride in the rain and wet or frost.

Secure cargo

It is clear that the load must be secured against slipping on every trip in order to prevent the trailer from swaying as far as possible. Should you get stuck in the snow, for example, then you can use a sensibly planned and loaded load to your advantage and rearrange it so that you can easily free yourself from the situation. For everything, safety always comes first. For the transported goods as well as for the whole team!

Safe loading for the drive with trailer

11. Oktober 2018 um 10:02

LoadingBefore driving with the trailer, it is important to also deal with the cargo. Finally, this can affect the driving behavior of the trailer. If you’ve gone through the checklist, you’ll also be dealing with the cargo and loading it within the trailer. Maybe you have already loaded the trailer, but maybe you also have to accommodate some parts. It is important to be clear about a few points. The center of gravity of the trailer is usually centered, slightly ahead of the axle. It is important when loading not only to know where the center of gravity is, but also to plan it when distributing the load. Above all, you should pay attention to distribute the load evenly at the center of gravity and around the center of gravity. Better you load the goods a little further forward than too far behind. If you overload the rear part, there will be a negative vertical load, which can cause the team to skid during the ride.

In addition, you should make sure that large, heavy cargo pieces are stored as far down the ground as possible. A lying cabinet is easier to transport than a standing, finally, this cabinet springs from movements and can move its own focus unintentionally, for example, when driving around a curve. On the other hand, if the cabinet is transported horizontally, the center of gravity of the cabinet is also significantly lower, significantly reducing the handling of the trailer and the entire yoke. It is also important that you always secure your cargo well. Lashing straps and nets are a good way to secure loads, and in the worst case, even the smallest of loads can become dangerous missiles. Even cartons with books in a move are heavy and can adversely affect the trailer, so you should load them in the trailer safely so that the range of motion is limited, in case of doubt, it is best to use safety straps.

The breakaway cable in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland

17. September 2017 um 16:24

breakaway cableIt makes sure that even in the event of the trailer coming loose from the coupling towbar it will still decelerate. This is what we call the safety or breakaway cable. Anyone who drives a lot with a trailer is sure to be familiar with installing it – and probably also had many discussions about it. When travelling to our neighbouring countries, the Netherlands and Switzerland, if the breakaway cable is not correctly installed or you have no safety cable, this could lead to heavy fines. For this reason, we’ve put together the provisions given by the ADAC (German Automobile Association) regarding the correct installation and use of the cable.

Breakaway cable safety mechanisms when driving in Germany

In Germany trailers in the medium-weight class, i.e. with a permissible maximum weight of more than 750 kg and up to 3,500 kg, are generally equipped with inertia (overrun) brakes. This means that in the braking procedure the trailer overruns the towing vehicle and the resulting power is transmitted by lever transmission to the trailer brakes. In the event that the trailer becomes detached from the towbar, a safety cable should trigger the brakes and bring the trailer to a halt.

The use of a breakaway or safety cable is mandatory in Germany. Where exactly the cable should be installed is not specified. However, one thing is certain, the cable may not be looped over the towbar. As far as technically possible, the safety cable has to be fixed through an opening, drill hole or eyelet on the towbar, not on the ball head.

 

How to use a safety cable correctly in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands safety devices are foreseen for both braked and unbraked trailers. Trailers up to 1500 kg therefore require a safety feature and/or breakaway facility. With trailers without their own brakes a secondary coupling in the form of a cable or chain is compulsory. This also applies for unbraked trailers up to 750 kg. With larger trailers an ultimate (at break) braking provision must be in place, i.e. a steel cable between the vehicle and the braking system of the trailer. This is only available for vehicles (trailers) with brakes.

In any case, it is very important that in the Netherlands the specified safety cables must, in addition, be attached to the towbar for both unbraked and braked trailers.

This is done with special eyelets or clamps. Simply winding the cable round the knee-joint bar is not sufficient in the Netherlands.

 

How to use a safety cable correctly in Switzerland

In Switzerland with trailers up to a permissible total weight of 1,500 kg without a service brake system, an additional safety cable, e.g. a breakaway cable is required. The Federal Office for Roads has approved additional eyelets or special fixing holes on the towbar as suitable for mounting.

 

What requires special attention with a foreign/German trailer combination in the Netherlands and Switzerland?

In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, the brake systems of trailers must be equipped in such a way that the trailer, even in the case of a break in the coupling device when in motion, can come to a halt. This does not apply for single-axle trailers or double-axle trailers with a wheelbase of less than one metre and the trailer does not exceed the permissible total weight of 1,500 kg. Unbraked trailers up to a permissible total weight of 1,500 kg must be connected and secured to the towing vehicle via a safety cable, i.e. a breakaway cable. General information: Since the minimum requirements specified by the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic may not be exceeded, either in the Netherlands or in Switzerland, the national provisions shall in any case also apply for trailer combinations registered in Germany, insofar as these are active road users in the Netherlands or Switzerland.

 

Please note: Our towbars have either eyelets or a drill hole for fixing the breakaway cable. Read more about how to use the cable correctly in our report on this topic.