How To: Hitch Your Trailer Correctly

July 26th, 2018 by

Photo credit: Ram

A large reason why customers come to Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram is to find a strong pickup. Customers want to tow their cargo easily as well as properly, and we’re always happy to share the best ways to do so. Safe and secure towing begins with loading all cargo correctly. Hitching all cargo is simple with a new 2019 Ram truck and even easier with the heavy duty Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks. We’ll share all the tips to make everything seamless from the beginning to the end, including how to drive with heavy cargo. Let’s get into it!

Steps to Properly Set Up The Hitch

One of the most important things to keep in mind is a balanced load. An uneven trailer weight can lead to issues with steering, braking and sway control. Generally, 60% of the cargo weight should be loaded in the front half of the trailer and 40% in the rear half (unless otherwise directed by the trailer manufacturer). When loading cargo, try to maintain a balance of everything. Ensure to keep the center of gravity low to the ground and over the trailer axle. Unsecured cargo can shift while the vehicle is in motion, which can make the trailer unstable. When towing a loaded trailer, keep in mind it takes more distance to accelerate and brake. Remember to remain moving forward slowly and give room between the truck and other vehicles.

If the trailer should start to sway or whip, ease up on the gas pedal. Do not brake or speed up. As a rule, only pass when necessary and obey all laws. Remember to account for the trailer length when passing a slower vehicle. The extra trailer weight will make acceleration slower during the entire ride. Be sure to use turn signals and allow for plenty of clearance.

How to Connect a Fifth Wheel

Ram has an exclusive cargo view camera to help drivers ease into locking into the trailer using the fifth wheel. For towing very heavy loads, Ram has made it easier for owners to enjoy using their horseshoe-shaped hitch on their own without the help of anyone else. This is the guide for using a 2018 Ram 3500.

1. Place chock blocks in between the trailer tires, so they don’t move when connecting to the Ram truck.

2. It’s good to know that an RV will most likely not weigh more than the Ram 3500’s 30,000 pound towing capabilities. Embrace the power of a Ram!

3. Grease the locking plate on the hitch, the black plate on top of the hitch. Lubing this area is important for when the kingpin and patch connect.

4. Unlock the latching mechanism, and make sure the trailer is high enough for the hitch plate to slide underneath and catch the kingpin. (Raise or lower the landing legs on the landing legs control pad if needed)

5. Back up the truck so the Ram can connect with the kingpin. Once the cage connects with the slot, the device will automatically connect and lock them together. This is where the Ram exclusive cargo view comes into play.

6. Ensure that the kingpin is locked by setting into the drive gear and moving forward slightly. Once it’s connected, place the Ram in park.

7. Connect the safety chains to the trailer wiring and brake way switch.

8. Raise the trailer bank legs so the Ram truck can support the trailer weight. Then close the tailgate.

9. Make sure the brakes work properly and check the trailer brake is secure from the touchscreen monitor inside the cabin. Move the truck slowly and make sure all lights and brakes work properly.

Safety First and Always

Here are a few important tip to keep in mind. Never use a compact spare tire when towing a trailer! Be sure to park on a flat, level surface. Look for a place to park that allows an easy exit to avoid backing out of a parking space. Apply the parking brake and use chock blocks to hold the trailer wheels to be extra safe. For a manual transmission vehicle, downshift when going both uphill and downhill. Start by steering from the bottom of the steering wheel. Slight turns of the steering wheel translate to greater movement of the trailer. Accelerating, braking and changing lanes all take longer when towing a trailer. Look down the road to be sure to avoid any potential issues.

Don’t Overload The Trailer

Make sure to not overload the trailer. To do this, view the recommended weight rating located on the VIN plate found on the trailer’s frame, usually on the tongue. Confirm the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) before towing. This is the total weight that the trailer can handle, including the total weight of the trailer itself. The tongue weight should be 10-15% of the GTWR. Tongue weight is the downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler. Incorrectly balanced tongue weight can lead to jackknifing and loss of control. By loading the trailer with 60% of the weight toward the front of the trailer, that’s placing roughly 10-15% of the Gross Trailer Weight Rating on the vehicle’s hitch ball.

Never exceed the truck’s maximum tongue weight. If the wheel well is crowding the tires, that might mean there’s too much tongue weight. Solve it by moving heavier items toward the center of the trailer. If there is too much weight in the rear of the trailer, it can actually lift the rear of the truck a bit, resulting in negative tongue weight. A properly balanced tongue gives full control of both the truck and trailer.

Find the Latest Ram Trucks With Us

Now that you know how to properly get your hitch on, visit us at Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram to experience with the latest 2019 Ram 1500 pickups vehicles. For those that want to have heavy duty Ram pickups, we have plenty of 2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks. We are ready to help you with any purchase for this and any of our muscle vehicles. Come on in to have a different customer experience. Our professional sales staff can assist with buying, leasing, trade-ins or selling with any of our new vehicles. Our friendly team is ready to help!

For those looking for help with their current vehicle, stop by and see our professional service team located in the heart of Kendall soon. We want to make sure you’re back on the road fast with our experienced servicing staff. Allow our knowledge repair team to assist you with any servicing needs with a simple appointment. Look no further than Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram for a complete car buying and servicing experience!