Trailer Towing Safety Checklist

A comprehensive list of pre-trip safety “must do’s”


  • It is important that both the tow vehicle and trailer are up to date on any recommended maintenance. Towing puts additional stress on the tow vehicle, making it very important that it is current on maintenance.
  • Check and adjust the tire pressure if necessary on both the tow vehicle and trailer. Also check the condition of the tires, being sure to look for cracking and dry rot. Don’t forget the tow vehicle and trailer’s spare tire!
  • Make sure the lug nuts/bolts on the wheels of the tow vehicle and trailer are torqued properly.
  • Look to see that the grease caps and plugs are in place and not leaking.
  • Check that the hitch and coupler that connect the trailer to the tow vehicle are properly secured with safety pins in place. Don’t forget to make sure that the hitch and coupler are made to go together. For example, that the coupler and tow ball are of like sizing – 2″ coupler for a 2″ tow ball.
  • Verify that the safety chains are attached properly. They should be criss-crossed and have enough length to allow for turning, but should not be dragging the ground.
  • Make sure that the wiring is connected properly with enough length to allow for turning, but not be dragging the ground.
  • Ensure that the brakes are operating correctly on the tow vehicle and trailer (if equipped with brakes).
  • Verify that the breakaway system is connected properly and working correctly. The breakaway lanyard should be secured to the body of the tow vehicle should the hitch fail.
  • Ensure that the trailer jack is raised and locked into place.
  • Make sure that the trailer ramps are properly secured (if applicable).
  • Verify that the weight of the load does not exceed the manufacturer’s listed towing capacity of the trailer.
  • Make sure that all lights are working and meet DOT lighting requirements.
  • Check that the license plate is properly secured and illuminated.
  • Be sure to bring wheel chocks along with you for the trailer.
  • Check that all cargo is properly secured to the trailer.
  • Ensure that the weight load is properly distributed. The tow vehicle and trailer should be balanced from front to back as well as side to side.
  • Set the mirrors on the tow vehicle so that you have good visibility of the trailer and it’s cargo.
  • Check for any restrictions on bridges and tunnels on the routes that you will be traveling.

  Be safe and have fun out there!

Based in Centreville, Maryland, Centreville Trailer Parts LLC wants to be a leader for all things needed to keep trailers in good working order. We have parts for all kinds of trailers, such as boat trailers, car trailers, enclosed trailers, horse trailers and large tractor trailers. Centreville Trailer Parts LLC has local trailer parts stores serving customers in Maryland & Virginia and online trailer parts store serving customers worldwide.