You may have bought yourself your dream caravan, planned your big adventure, understand all about safe caravan towing and are all packed and ready to do. You’ve got your training and plan in case of emergency, your car is roadworthy and you understand your caravan weights and how to load safely.
You may have even invested time and money into a caravan towing course to make sure you are super ready to hit the road.
Ready to go, right?
Wait, do you know how to hitch your caravan to your car safely? You should, because an incorrect technique can put a lot of stress on your components, not to mention the possibility of the caravan coming loose and going on its own holiday at some point during the journey. Not safe for you, your belongings or other road users.
Fear not, here is a step by step guide to make sure you know how to hitch a caravan properly so your caravan towing is safe, and your trip memorable for the right reasons.
Before you start…
Make sure you understand your vehicle’s weight and that it marries up with your caravan weight. If that’s off it doesn’t matter how perfect your hitching technique is, caravan towing is simply not safe if the weights aren’t right.
Secondly, ensure all gas appliances are turned off, and the 240V power lead is disconnected.
Finally, make sure the make sure the caravan’s electrical lead matches the socket on your car.
You’re Ready to Hitch! Here’s your Step by Step Guide.
1. A Jockey Wheel is an effective and easy way to raise and lower your caravan. Where required, attach the jockey wheel to the drawbar. Wind the jockey wheel up so the coupling rests just above the height of the tow ball.
Caravan Coupling (image source)
3. The coupling needs to sit on the tow ball. Lower the jockey wheel so this happens, and the tow bar is supporting the caravan. Engage the coupling latch so the coupling is locked onto the tow ball. Try lifting the draw bar to ensure it is locked securely.
4. Raise the jockey wheel to the travelling position (it will usually rotate to a suitable position).
5. Attach your safety chains to the tow bar with d-shackles, after crossing the safety chains beneath the tow bar/hitch.
d-shackle (image source)
6. The caravan and tow vehicle must be level. If they’re not, you’ll need to either adjust your payload distribution or adjust your weight distribution hitch.
7. Connect your caravan’s electrical lead to the socket on your car, making sure there is no slack in the lead as it may drag on the road or catch on obstacles.
8. Disengage the caravan’s handbrake.
9. Ensure that the caravan’s rear lights are working properly.
10. Ensure your caravan mirrors are fitted
There you have it. It’s a process that will likely require a bit of practice before you feel confident, and it may be worth getting some hand on practice by doing a course. Once you know how to hitch safely, the world is your oyster. Bon voyage!