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.

Registration for your trailer: the most important information

14. Mai 2021 um 17:51

Registration of your trailerIf you get a new trailer, then you should definitely plan the trip to the registration office. A trailer for a car is not registration-free and you have to get official license plates in addition to the registration. In order to get this and to be able to use your new trailer for the first trip, you have to register your trailer. You can only use it in road traffic with a valid license.

These documents are needed for the registration of your trailer

So that your trailer is approved and your new license plates can be issued, you can’t avoid driving to the responsible registration office. When you are on site, you need the following documents so that your approval can be issued: You need the manufacturer’s certificate or confirmation of a valid general inspection by a testing organization such as the German DEKRA or TÜV, which confirms that your trailer is roadworthy. If the “TÜV” has expired, there will be a fine depending on the duration of the overdraft, so make sure that the general inspection is still valid. You should also be able to identify yourself, for example with an identity card. Also have the registration certificate part I and II with you in any case. Finally, you need an insurance code from your insurance company, alternatively you can also bring a double insurance card with you.

No papers?

Even if you don’t have any papers, you can register the trailer, but this is much more difficult. Such an exception is only made if the vehicle registration or registration document has been lost, not if you have forgotten it at home. In the case of lost documents, the responsible authorities first check who the actual owner of your trailer is. Of course, a sales contract between you and the seller is helpful here and can accelerate the process. In addition, of course, it must also be checked whether the trailer has been reported as stolen. A replacement for the lost documents can usually be requested promptly, the old license plate should be known and the vehicle registration document should ideally still be available.

Safety first: the brakes on the trailer

29. April 2021 um 16:38

Brakes for the trailerBefore every trip with the trailer, you will certainly check your lighting equipment and the locking of the trailer on the towbar, but the wheels and brakes should also be checked regularly. Your trailer will have its own brakes itself if it weighs more than 750 kg. It is set that trailers can only be pulled without brakes up to a maximum permissible total weight of 750 kg. Why is this important? Because, above all, with increasing weight, the braking distance of your combination changes and the trailer infects the vehicle from behind when braking. It practically pushes the towing vehicle when braking, so that the vehicle’s brakes have to be more efficient. At the same time, there is an increased risk of pulling out of the trailer with heavy trailers without their own brake.

The overrun brake

So if your trailer is heavier than 750 kg, a so-called overrun brake is required. This prevents the vehicle from being pushed by the trailer during braking and follows a simple mechanical principle. The overrun brake works like this: When the vehicle brakes, the trailer runs on the vehicle or the trailer coupling. A lever is thrown by the forces that are generated, which in turn releases the trailer’s brakes. The more your car brakes as a towing vehicle, the more the trailer is braked by the overrun brake and the load is distributed over both brakes.

Emergency braking with the breakaway rope

If the trailer should come loose from the ball bar, the overrun brake will of course no longer work. In that case, the breakaway cable is your protection for braking the trailer. You have to attach the breakaway cable to a part of the car that is permanently installed with the vehicle; our MVG trailer hitches have a special eyelet on the cross member to which you can attach the breakaway cable. Otherwise you should use a special holder. When the trailer detaches from the towing vehicle, the pull on the breakaway cable initiates emergency braking and the trailer comes to a standstill. So you should always pay attention to the correct use of the breakaway rope, as it is very important in an emergency.

 

The axle load: 8 facts you need to consider

13. Januar 2021 um 11:11

Axle loadWhat is the axle load and what do you need to know? We have summarized the most important information for you and give you a brief overview. Of course, this most important information also include a few tips on driving with a trailer and to what extent the axle load can influence the behaviour of your car/trailer combinationwhen driving.

  1. The axle load is defined as the load that presses on the axle of the vehicle. It is transmitted from the wheels of an axle to the road.
  2. It can basically be calculated simply as follows: The curb weight plus payload, i.e. the actual mass, is divided by the number of axles and then gives the value of the axle load. This is given in tons, all axles should always be evenly loaded.
  3. If your trailer only has one axle, this also means, conversely, that the load is then partly on the trailer coupling and must be carried there as a vertical load.
  4. For your journey with the trailer, you have to comply with the permissible axle load as well as the permissible total weight of the vehicle and the trailer.
  5. A distinction is made between technical and legally permissible axle loads. The former is always related to a specified vehicle and defined in the vehicle documents. You can find it under point 7 in your registration certificate. The legally permissible load for the axle is then specified under point 8. In old vehicle registration documents, only the legally permissible value is usually specified; if both values ​​are specified, the lower value is decisive.
  6. The axle load is binding and must not be exceeded. It is the decisive value if, for example, a possible overload should be checked during a traffic control.
  7. In order to avoid a broken axle, you should always keep a close eye on the load and avoid an overload. On the other hand, you should always load the cargo evenly, this prevents breakage. You can read how the correct loading works in our article.
  8. In addition to the values ​​recorded in the vehicle registration document, there are also statutory provisions for the maximum axle load. This is §34 of the German StVZO. The values ​​given there apply to all trailers with rubber or pneumatic tires. For motor vehicles and trailers with pneumatic tires, the load is set to the following values ​​(for further information see §34 StVZO):
    • load for single axles: 10 t
    • Load with driven single axles: 11.5 t
    • Load with a double axle and a center distance less than 1.0 meter: 11.5 t
    • Load with double axle and a distance of 1.0 to 1.3 meters: 16 t
    • Load with double axle and a distance of 1.3 to 1.8 meters: 18 t

Different trailer types for the trailer drive

12. November 2020 um 13:25

trailer typesDepending on the purpose for which you need a trailer, a different trailer type is used. A rigid drawbar trailer is generally used for transport by car, for example to transport a boat or horses. This is certainly the most common trailer in everyday life. But there are two other types of trailers that are used quite often.

Each trailer type has a specific purpose and has special specifications. At the same time, not all trailer types are compatible with a trailer coupling, such as a semi-trailer. So that you can still keep track of the different types, we have put together the three most common trailer types for you. As a rule, a distinction based on the design is used for the various trailer types.

What actually defines a trailer?

A trailer is defined as a vehicle that has a loading area but no drive of its own and is connected to a towing vehicle using a drawbar. A distinction is made between the following three basic designs: rigid drawbar trailer, articulated drawbar trailer and semitrailer.

The rigid drawbar trailer

A rigid drawbar trailer is always used when the connection between the towing vehicle and the trailer, i.e. the drawbar, is rigid. This type of construction is the most common, most of the trailers in daily use follow this type of construction. Trailers of this type usually have one or two axles. The axles are also rigid and not steerable.
Rigid drawbar trailers up to 750 kg are so-called “light” trailers and can be used without their own brake. If the trailer is heavier then overrun brakes are required on the trailer. If the total permissible total weight is over 3.5 tons, a continuous breaking system must be installed. For most of the above mentioned scenarios trailers which are rigid drawbar trailers are used.

The articulated drawbar trailer

The articulated drawbar trailer differs from the rigid drawbar trailer due to its two or more steerable axles. This steering is mostly based on a turntable steering, a so-called king pin is installed as a central joint and enables the trailer to pivot. As a rule, such trailers are not used on most cars. Instead, they are increasingly being used with trucks or tractors, since as a two-axle vehicle they can weigh up to 20 tons in total. With a three-axle vehicle the total weight is already 24 tons.

The semitrailer

Most people will know this trailer as an artculated lorry. The semi-trailer has no drawbar and is not one of the classic trailers for cars. It is usually used on trucks, and the special connection construction between the semi-trailer and ist traction engine enables it to be moved in all directions.

 

 

Read more about driving a trailer in our blog post.

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!

Schedule of penalties | Parking with a trailer

24. September 2020 um 10:58

Schedule of penalties | Parking with a trailer

You have to pay attention to this when parking the trailer

How, where, when and for how long is it allowed to park your trailer and under what conditions? What to look out for? All of this is regulated in the schedule of penalties. For example, when driving the trailer and then parking it, you must have your wheel chocks with you and protect the trailer against rolling away when parking. It is also not allowed to park the trailer in the same public place for longer than two weeks without the towing vehicle. In principle, you should of course always park your trailer so that ongoing traffic is not disturbed by the trailer.

The interaction of towing vehicle and trailer

Of course, the connection between the vehicle and the trailer is also relevant for driving with a trailer. The towbar must be in good condition and approved. We take over the approval of our products, so our towbars are approved according to regulation ECE 55 (previously 94/20 / EG) and manufactured according to all valid rules and the latest technology. You no longer need to have our trailer couplings checked and registered at a test center, you just have to carry our assembly and operating instructions with you. This is the so-called ABE. It is not permitted to make changes to the towbar yourself as this will invalidate the approval. However, if you have installed a towbar that has been changed, for example, and traffic safety can be influenced, you must expect a fine. A differentiation is made once again as to whether “only” there was a hazard or even an accident. Even if you drive a trailer with a trailer coupling that does not comply with the regulations or if you allow this as a vehicle owner, fines will be imposed.

Below you will find the graduation for the offenses when parking:

  • Trailer guided, without carrying chocks: € 5
  • Trailers without a car parked in the same place for more than two weeks: € 20
  • Team led with improper AHK: € 25
  • Driving a team with an incorrect towbar approved as a vehicle owner: € 35
  • Team led despite poor connection of vehicle and trailer, which would impair traffic safety: € 135, 1 point
  • In spite of a faulty connection between motor vehicle and trailer that would impair traffic safety, the team was at risk: € 165, 1 point
  • In spite of a faulty connection between motor vehicle and trailer, which would impair traffic safety, the team led with an accident: € 200, 1 point

 

You can find more information on the website of the German schedule of penalties.

 

Schedule of penalties | Load securing for the journey with the trailer

27. August 2020 um 9:35

 Load securing for the journey with the trailer

When driving with the trailer, for example when moving or driving away the green waste, it is important to properly secure the load. This is not only necessary because it prevents the load from moving and thus influences the trailer’s travel negatively and starts the trailer to roll, for example. To avoid unnecessary noise, cargo must be secured. Load securing is also specified by the authorities in the catalog of fines. Which violations are relevant for your trip with the trailer?

Load securing violations

If your cargo protrudes beyond the trailer, for example, a fine is due. This is staggered depending on how far the load protrudes and where. If it protrudes three meters to the rear, you have to expect a fine of 20 €. If it protrudes only one meter, but without being marked by a lamp, € 25 is due. It is in any case important that you always clearly mark the protruding loads for other road users. To do this, you have to attach a red flag or a red cloth of a specified size and in a maximum height of 1.50 meters to your load in order to warn other road users.

The height of the load is also relevant. So your vehicle with a load may not be higher than 4.20 meters, otherwise you will have to pay a penalty of € 60. In addition, you will even get a point in Flensburg, Germany. If your load is not secured against falling, the fine is € 35. If the lack of security could even result in a hazard or damage to property, you can expect a penalty of up to € 75 and a point.

When driving, always make sure to stow the load safely and load the trailer well thought out. A non-slippery floor can be helpful, heavy loads should also be stored as deep as possible. Cushion sharp edges and corners, avoid gaps in your cargo and at best fix the cargo in place. For some loads, such as green waste, it makes sense to use a net that prevents the load from flying away. Below you can find the staggering for load securing:

  • Avoidable noise from charging not prevented: € 10 
  • Cargo protrudes backwards min. 3 meters beyond the vehicle: € 20
  • Cargo protrudes backwards min. 1.5 meters above the vehicle at min. 100 km / h: € 20
  • Load protrudes to the rear by one meter without being identified by the light: € 25
  • Load protrudes forward beyond motor vehicle: € 20
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling: € 35
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling with danger: 60 €, 1 point
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling with property damage: € 75, 1 point
  • Cargo not adequately secured against falling with danger: 60 €, 1 point
  • Vehicle with a load higher than 4.20 meters: 60 €, 1 point

 

You can find more information on the website of the German schedule of penalties.

Schedule of penalties | Overloads when driving the trailer

19. Juli 2020 um 10:00

Loading the trailer properly is not that easy. There are a number of things to pay attention to, for example the correct distribution of the load and securing play a major role. Above all, the weight of the load is important, it not only has to be distributed correctly to enable the trailer to travel as smoothly as possible. The permissible total weight of the car/trailer combination must not be exceeded, which of course is also influenced by the payload. The permissible total weight of the train results from the permissible trailer load, the permissible total weight of the vehicle and the unladen weight of the towing vehicle and must not exceed the values ​​in the vehicle registration document.

Overloading the trailer

While overloading cars (PGM up to 7.5 tons) or trailers (CGM up to 2 tons) of over 5% only results in a fine of € 10, with 30% overloading it is already € 235 and one point on one’s driver’s licence. If you are traveling with a truck and trailer, the penalties are higher. In any case, fines and, if necessary, points are also due for the vehicle owner. So if you borrow a car/trailer combination and are caught with an overload, the owner of the combination will also be asked to checkout. The penalties for the keeper are higher, so if the overload is more than 5%, the keeper must already pay € 140 and expect a point.

You must also always pay attention to the vertical load when loading. The vertical load is defined as the load that the trailer coupling is subjected to from above. The vertical load is specified for both your vehicle and the towbar. It is often the case that the two values ​​are different. In this case, the lower value applies and must be observed. If the permissible drawbar load is exceeded, a fine of € 25 must be payed if it is exceeded by up to 50%. If more than 50 % are exceeded, € 60 are due, in addition you have to count on a point on your licence. This offense also has an impact on the vehicle owner.

Below you will find the differentiation for fines and penalties that may arise when overloading your car/trailer combination.

Overloading cars / trucks (PGI up to 7.5 tons) or trailers (PGI up to 2 tons)

  • by over 5%: € 10
  • by over 10%: € 30
  • by over 15%: € 35
  • by over 20%: € 95, 1 point
  • by over 25%: 140 €, 1 point
  • by over 30%: € 235, 1 point

Overloading trucks or trailers (ZGG over 2 tons)

  • by 2-5%: € 30
  • by over 5%: € 80, 1 point
  • by over 10%: 110 €, 1 point
  • by over 15%: 140 €, 1 point
  • by over 20%: € 190, 1 point
  • by over 25%: € 285, 1 point
  • by over 30%: € 380, 1 point

Vehicle owner: Overloading trucks or trailers (zGG over 2 tons)

  • by 2-5%: € 35
  • by over 5%: 140 €, 1 point
  • by over 10%: € 235, 1 point
  • by over 15%: € 285, 1 point
  • by over 20%: € 389, 1 point
  • by over 25%: € 425, 1 point
  • by over 30%: € 425, 1 point

Drawbar load exceeded

  • by up to 50%: € 25
  • by more than 50%: € 60, 1 point
  • Permissible drawbar load not indicated by sign: € 5

You can find more information on the website of the German schedule of penalties.