A document with the word caa on it.

Apr 29, 2024

4 min. read

Ready to hitch your trailer to your vehicle before hitting the road? Read on.

Illustrations by Guilherme Henrique. Text by Matt Bubbers.

A Beginner's Guide to Hooking Up a Trailer

  1. If possible, have a spotter outside the vehicle to guide you.

  2. Line up your vehicle’s hitch with the trailer’s coupler.

  3. Raise the trailer’s coupler, using the jack, so the ball can slide underneath when reversing.

A Beginner's Guide to Hooking Up a Trailer
  1. Reverse the vehicle slowly toward the trailer until the ball is directly under the coupler, then engage the parking brake and shift into park.

  2. Using the jack, lower the coupler, securing it with all necessary bolts and locking pins. (You can test the connection by slightly raising the trailer back up on the jack—if the coupler comes off the ball, it’s not secured properly.)

A Beginner's Guide to Hooking Up a Trailer
  1. Attach the wiring harness and safety chains. The chains should be connected in a crisscross pattern, forming an X under the coupler.

  2. Retract the jack.

  3. With your spotter, check that the trailer’s lights and signals are working. Do a walk-around to double-check all connections.

Want to learn more about towing? Read CAA's A Beginner's Guide to Towing a Trailer here.