Trailer Chains – PSA

This isn’t deep, theological, or anything like that. Just something that I’ve observed a lot lately and thought it might be a good idea to send out a PSA.

When you hook up a trailer to your vehicle, the chains are supposed cross each other, under the tongue. Eg., the chain attached to the drivers’ side of the tongue is supposed to hook to the passenger side of the hitch, and vice-versa. Also, make sure that the chains are the correct length – you don’t want them to be so short that they bind when turning, but they shouldn’t drag the ground or leave a big gap.

The reason for this is twofold.

  1. If the hitch breaks or comes loose, the trailer doesn’t completely break loose and flail all over the road causing mayhem and massive damage (or worse) in its wake – it stays somewhat attached to the vehicle to allow for a somewhat controlled stop.
  2. If #1 happens, crossing the chains under the tongue serve to try to keep the tongue from dropping down and digging into the road, also causing mayhem and massive damage in its wake.

It has been slightly disturbing how many times I’ve seen a trailer with chains incorrectly done (drivers > drivers and passenger > passenger) or not using chains at all.