Archives for July 2019

Safely Coupling and Uncoupling Utility Trailers

 You probably already know that to tow your trailer safely you need to have a suitable utility trailer attached to your towing vehicle. You need to change your driving style, brake earlier than normal and load that trailer sensibly. However, even if you’ve followed these steps, the coupling of your trailer could be your undoing. A secure fastening between the two components is essential – get it wrong and you could cause serious injury. We’ll talk you through safely coupling your utility trailer to your vehicle.


Although it may seem like a complicated procedure, coupling your trailer to your vehicle is straightforward; especially if you follow these simple, safe steps.Check the connecting parts before you do anything! Conduct a thorough check of the 5th wheel (the ‘U’ shaped coupling part on the back of the towing vehicle) and the coupler (the connecting part on the trailer head). Is the 5th wheel suitably greased? Are the air and electrical connections sound?If both parts look ready for coupling, set them up in the correct position. Double-check the height and alignment on both sides to make sure they’ll meet safely.Reverse your towing vehicle, slowly. When the 5th wheel and the coupler are almost touching, stop the vehicle and check the alignment. The coupler should be slightly lower than the 5th wheel.Continue to reverse the vehicle and couple the trailer and the towing vehicle. If you’re happy with the connection, attach the airlines, electrical lines, and safety chains.Supply air to the trailer and wait until air pressure returns to normal.Drive forward, slowly, and check brake operation. If everything operates as planned, you’ve managed to safely couple your trailer and towing vehicle.


Uncoupling your trailer isn’t an exact reversal of the coupling process. Follow these steps to make sure you do it safely:Before you do anything, make sure that the brakes are applied to both the trailer and the towing vehicle. To be absolutely sure, block the wheels of your trailer so they can’t roll anywhere.You’ll need to use a landing jack for the trailer. Properly attach it to the trailer head and make sure it’s sitting just above flat ground. This will ensure that after being disconnected, the trailer won’t drop dangerously.Disconnect the safety chains, electrical lines, and airlines.Unlock the coupling attachment and extend the jack until it touches the ground. This transfers the weight of the trailer to the ground.If your trailer seems stable, remove the brakes on your towing vehicle and slowly move it forward, away from the trailer.


There are a lot of steps to follow when coupling and uncoupling your vehicle. That means there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes to creep into the process. One of the most common mistakes is fitting the wrong size couple to the fifth wheel. This mistake is easy to avoid – double and triple check the fitting sizes, and make sure you’ve got a good match.Another easy mistake which sneaks into the process is forgetting about the tire pressure. Check the pressure before you begin the coupling process as under inflation will lead to overheating and eventually, a blowout. Finally, don’t forget about the safety chains, airlines, and electrical lines. This is particularly important when you’re uncoupling: forget to disconnect them when you drive forward and you’ll know all about it.Whether or not you’re confident coupling and uncoupling your utility trailer, getting the advice of professionals like McFarlane will help with any of your trailer needs. McFarlane has years of experience and can help you avoid many of the common coupling and uncoupling mistakes.

How to Safely Tow a Trailer with a Motorcycle

How to Safely Tow a Trailer with a MotorcycleWhether you’re riding for fun, running some errands or travelling a long distance, you’ve probably had to think about storage space at some point. After all, you can only pack so much in those saddlebags. Instead of surrendering and hiring a car or even worse, a pickup van, why not attach a trailer to your motorcycle? Towing a trailer with a motorcycle is becoming more and more popular and for good reason. Buying a trailer works for some people but for many others, renting a trailer is the ideal solution to your storage problems.


Now, before you ready your luggage and rent just any trailer, you need to be aware of the different options you have. This is crucial – rent the wrong type of trailer and you’ll do a lot more harm than good: you could put yourself and other drivers in danger.Typically, the most budget-friendly motorcycle trailer is the Open Trailer. These are incredibly versatile and can accommodate a range of items since they’re not as spatially constrained as other trailers. The major drawback is that you’ll need to think carefully about securing your luggage and leaving valuables exposed.Your other option is an enclosed trailer. As you’ve probably guessed, these come at a higher cost but provide you with peace of mind, since your valuables are locked away. Some models are designed to accommodate a generous amount of storage, and that storage is less exposed when you’re riding too. You’ll also find Adventure Trailers, Coffin and Hearse Trailers, Single Wheel Trailers and more. There’s an astonishing variety when it comes to choosing your trailer type.


Now that you have a rough idea of the type of trailer you want, let’s look at the practicalities of renting it. There are a few golden rules you need to stick with.First of all, choose a trailer that your motorcycle can handle. Not every motorcycle is compatible with every trailer: make sure your motorcycle has enough power to safely tow a fully loaded trailer. Equally important is making sure that your trailer is not significantly wider than your motorcycle. If it is, you’re going to have trouble turning and parking.Even with these two important considerations, riding a motorcycle while towing a trailer is a very different riding experience. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of towing a trailer.Do’s:Do your research! If you choose your trailer without checking its suitability, you could be heading for disaster.Make sure that the dimensions of your bike suit the trailer. This applies to both power and width – make sure the trailer is lightweight, even when fully loaded, and not too wide for your bike.Check your tire pressure, regularly. The load on your bike will be significant and this puts extra pressure on both wheels.Even if you’ve selected a suitable trailer for your motorcycle, you need to get the connection right. It could be a pivoting hitch, a switch hitch or a u-joint – make sure it’s the right one.Don’ts:Do not expect to ride the way you would normally. Quite a few things need to change. Namely, give yourself plenty of extra braking time. All that extra weight means more momentum and a longer stopping time.Don’t head straight to the highway! Especially if you’re an inexperienced rider, you’re going to need to practice towing a trailer on quiet, wide roads.When riding, don’t stray too wide. You’ll want to stick closer to the lane center than normal and give yourself plenty of space to maneuver.McFarlane carries trailers from the best brands and ensures you’re getting the best-fitting trailer for your bike. With McFarlane, renting a trailer has never been easier.

A Helpful Guide to Securing Your Load on a Cargo Trailer

Your trailer is incredibly versatile, and you’ll probably use it for any number of tasks. Many find it particularly useful when moving to a new home. It can help you transport heavy equipment and can even help with bulky new furniture you’re bringing back from the store. Normally, you’ll be carrying items of significant value, so it pays to make sure they’re secured properly. If they aren’t, there’s a good chance you’re going to damage your possessions, and worse case, harm others on the road. Check out our helpful guide for securing a load in a Cargo Trailer and make sure you’re protected.


Before we get to tying any knots or weight distribution know-how, you need to know that securing a load on your cargo trailer properly is a requirement by law. It makes sense, right? You wouldn’t want to be driving behind a loaded trailer with any unfastened cargo. You may think there’s already enough highway code to remember, but if you fail to comply with this one you could easily become a danger to other drivers on the road.Before you start loading your trailer you need to how much you can safely transport. You should know your trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This information will be somewhere on the trailer and is the maximum weight that your combined cargo and trailer can be. If you see the perfect cargo trailer for sale but its GVWR isn’t sufficient for your cargo, then you’re going to have to keep looking. It’s also important to know the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) – the maximum distributed weight your vehicle axle can handle.


Sure it’s a legal requirement, but you probably care about the items on your trailer too. This being the case, you’ll want to tie your load down properly. There are plenty of options when it comes to tie down equipment and technique, so we’re only going to focus on the most popular cargo options.One of the best tie-down methods for cargo is to use nets and tarps specifically designed for cargo. They’re shaped to cover multiple items of different shapes and sizes. Think of them as a ‘coverall’. You’ll still need to consider the dimensions of your trailer and make sure that your net or tarp hooks connect with all of the trailer attachment points. Both of these methods are more susceptible to poor weather and intended for light use only. Bungee cords can be used to further secure tarps but again, are more suited to light use.If you’re looking for something a little more robust, tiedown straps are likely to work. These can be made with super strong material and usually have a ratchet system to give you real peace of mind when securing your load. There’s a chance that sharp edges could fray the material, but generally, this method is considered among the safest. Chains provide a similar tie down method but make sure they won’t damage any cargo surfaces.


Tie down method won’t matter if you don’t spread the weight properly. It’s crucial that you distribute the weight in sections. Generally, 60% of the cargo weight should be stored at the front of the trailer. Obviously, the remaining 40% should be loaded at the back. If you distribute the weight poorly and your trailer becomes back-heavy, it’s likely to sway and whip, causing danger to your precious goods, and others on the road.Make sure you’ve got the best cargo trailer for the job – you’ll find the perfect one for sale with the trailer experts McFarlane.