PREPARATION

MAINTENANCE

Regular maintenance of your vehicle and trailer is essential for safe towing. Have them checked regularly to ensure they are in a safe and roadworthy condition. The trailer’s wheel bearings, suspension and brakes must all be in good working order and tyres must be properly inflated. It is a good idea to take some of the mass off your trailer’s springs and tyres if it is going to be stationary for an extended period of time.

Gas cylinders and LPG regulators should also be checked regularly by a qualified person. For example, if left out in the open, your regulator may have been affected by water. If this is the case, it needs to be drained and cleaned thoroughly to prevent corrosion, which will prevent it from working properly.

Check that all hoses and pipes are securely connected and also check the date stamp on your cylinders, which must be regularly checked for service life expiry at a certified gas cylinder testing station.

It is illegal to fill cylinders which are beyond their service life.

Please Note: Make sure you do not obscure the number plate or any 12 Volt lighting.

If attaching after-market items or options to the trailer; ensure that the trailer does not become overloaded. The balance and tow-ability of the trailer can be adversely affected. In particular, driving stability may deteriorate and the chassis could be over-stressed by excess weight.

Added options may also change the dimensions of the trailer which may mean that:

i) It exceeds the overhang allowed past the rear axle

ii) It exceeds the overall allowable length of the tow vehicle/trailer

iii) It exceeds the allowable overall width of the trailer

 

Modifications to your trailer should be carried out by appropriately qualified people, in accordance with Australian Design Rule regulations.

CHECKS BEFORE TRIP

  • Check oil, water, brake fluid, the battery etc.
  • Inspect all tyres carefully. If your trailer has not been used for a long time, the tyres may be soft. And remember, when towing heavily loaded trailers your vehicle’s tyre pressures should be increased to the level recommended in the owner’s handbook or on the tyre placard. If in doubt, contact your local tyre dealer.
  • Check that your vehicle and trailer’s wheel nuts have been tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications. To tighten the nuts, use a torque wrench to the torque recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure the coupling socket and ball match in size.
  • Check that the coup ling is correctly and securely fastened.
  • Check that the safety chains are correctly connected.
  • Check to ensure that the trailer brake and light connections are secure and that all lights work.
  • Check that the towing lights, number plates and registration labels of your caravan are clearly visible.
  • Disengage any reversing catch fitted to the trailer coupling (as used with over-ride brakes).

Make one or two test stops to check that the brakes are working properly.

  • Ensure that your load is properly secured. Limit the amount of load in the boot of the tow vehicle.
  • Ensure that the rear vision mirrors on the tow vehicle are properly adjusted to ensure a clear view of the road to the rear of the vehicle or vehicle combination.
  • Ensure that the gas cylinders are properly secured.
  • While you are travelling ensure that the gas cylinders are turned off and that the refrigerator door is locked.
  • Check that the roll-out awning is stored away and locked in the travel position.
  • Remove the jockey wheel from its clamp and store it in the boot of the car or Recreational Vehicle, or if it is of the swivel mount variety, lock it in the travelling position.
  • Check that the front and rear corner stabilisers are in the up position.
  • Ensure that the hand brake of the trailer has been correctly released.
  • Check that the roof hatches, windows, doors and stone shields are secure.
  • Check that the electrical cord has been disconnected and stored away.
  • Check that the TV antenna is in the travel position.

CHECKS DURING THE TRIP:

  • Check that the couplings and chains are still securely fastened.
  • Check that the brakes and wheel bearings are not overheating, by comparing to your car brakes.
  • Check that light connections are still secure and that all lights are working.
  • Check that the tyres are still sufficiently inflated.
  • Check that the load is still secure.
  • Check that the roll-out awning is properly locked in the travel position.