Adding a trailer behind your ATV or UTV can be a great way to increase the capacity of your unit. From utility trailers that let you haul supplies to specific log haulers or seed spreaders designed to make your work easier, there are many trailers available that extend your vehicle’s capabilities. However, as you consider your options before hooking up for the first time, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are ATV Trader’s five tips for hauling a trailer behind your off-road vehicle.
1. Know Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity
The biggest thing when towing is making sure that you are within your unit’s towing capacity. If you overload the trailer, you’re putting more pressure on the wheels and axles than they’re designed to handle, which can cause serious damage to your ATV or UTV. When adding up your hauling weight, remember to include both the cargo, as well as the trailer itself. You can find information about your off-road vehicle’s towing capacity in your owner’s manual, so make sure to check that out before you load up.
2. Get the Right Equipment
You need the right equipment to go with your off-road trailer. There are different ATV and UTV hitches depending on the type and size of your trailer. We recommend a multi-purpose hitch, because it gives you the flexibility to change your hitch based on the type of trailer you’re using. Next, we recommend adding some safety chains. These cross over your hitch in an X-shape and help make sure your trailer stays attached, even if the hitch were to fail for any reason. Finally, having a really solid set of tie-downs is a must. You want to know that whatever cargo you have in your trailer is secure, and will stay that way until you get where you’re going.
3. Inspect Before You Go
Since towing puts extra strain on your off-road vehicle, you want to make sure it’s in good working order before heading out. Start by checking your tire pressure, since correctly inflated tires will give your unit as much stability as possible. Because increasing the payload puts additional strain on your brakes, do a quick spot-check to make sure they are good to go before hitching up. Frequent towing can also put strain on your transmission’s CVT belt in particular, so it’s smart to regularly inspect that it’s in good working order. Last, but not least, check your electrical system by hooking up your trailer and testing the turn signals and brake lights.
4. Distribute Weight
Especially if you’re planning to carry a heavy load, make sure you are evenly distributing the weight across your ATV or UTV and the trailer itself. You want everything to be aligned evenly front-to-back and side-to-side so that you aren’t putting too much pressure on one particular area. For example, if there’s too much weight on the back of your off-road vehicle, the front could lift up slightly, taking away traction from your front tires and putting unnecessary strain on the back axle. Both ATVs and UTVs have built-in spaces where you can store cargo, so make sure to take advantage of those. If you have an ATV, consider moving some cargo to the front of your unit. If you’re using a UTV, capitalize on the roof rack.
5. Adjust Your Driving
Adding a trailer behind your off-road vehicle brings a whole new element to driving, so you need to adapt accordingly. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the extra weight of the unit will increase your braking times. Try to stop gradually, rather than slamming the brakes, and increase the lead time between your unit and any others in front of you. Take your turns slowly and, if you’re driving at high-speeds or going down a steep-grade hill, know that your trailer could sway behind you. All of these things put strain on your hitch. Finally, don’t forget that a trailer adds length to your unit and could create unexpected blind spots. Be careful when you’re taking turns or riding through tighter spaces; your unit is literally longer than what you’re used to driving.
Conclusion: No matter why you need to haul a trailer behind your off-road vehicle, there are a lot of good options out there. Just be sure to keep our tips in mind before you hook up. You can also check out ATVTrader.com for the largest selection of new and used ATVs, UTVs, and trailers across the country.