Checking Your Hitch After Months of Not Towing
As the old saying goes: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Leaving anything to sit for an extended period of time is fraught with danger. This is the reason why pilots perform a pre-flight safety check of their planes before every take-off. And the reason why divers always check that their dive equipment is in good repair and functioning correctly prior to taking the plunge. In both of these instances, carrying out a safety check can mean the difference between life and death. So it makes sense to carry out a hitch safety check before you begin towing, especially if your hitch has been left unused for many months.
The importance of hitch safety
As we well know, the hitch is the most important piece of equipment in your overall towing setup. That’s because it is the only thing connecting your tow vehicle and the load it is hauling. If not functioning properly, the tow hitch can cause the trailer to become unhitched during towing. This then becomes a deadly, out-of-control hazard to other motorists. In fact, hundreds of people are killed each year in trailer-related crashes. And the vast majority of these could have been avoided if a simple pre-towing hitch safety check was carried out.
The hitch safety checklist
Performing a hitch safety check should be a top priority within your overall towing checklist. Follow the steps we’ve outlined below to carry out a hitch safety check in order to ensure your tow hitch is ready to tow when you are:
- On the coupling housing, check that your adjustment screw is set correctly. The adjustment screw ensures a tight fit between coupling and tow ball. If it’s not correctly set, the trailer can become detached during operation.
- Look for obvious signs of metal fatigue, or cracks in the housing.
- Look for any signs of corrosion and rust
- With a ball mount hitch ensure that all the moving parts are lubricated and moving freely
- Check that the receiver and draw bar are functional
- Finally, check and double check that your safety chains are in good working order and are attached correctly. We recommend that safety chains be criss-crossed over for maximum surety.
If you do happen to spot signs of rust during your hitch safety check, you can use a product like Evapo-Rust to help kill before it gets any worse. Some hitches on the market necessitate a lot of maintenance and will eventually fail. However, BulletProof Hitches™ are designed to be the last hitch you will ever need to buy. Put simply, our hitches are the highest quality on the planet.
As can be seen, after months of inactivity, performing a pre-towing hitch safety check is paramount. Use the hitch safety checklist above and don’t forget to also check that your trailer registration and insurance is up to date. Now you’re all set to tow!