Hauling a Trailer in the Winter

Posted by Zane Winberg on

Trailers generally get the most use during the spring and summer months. You might be hauling your boat, wave runners, camping gear, camper, bikes, mounds of pruned trees & bushes, furniture for a big move, or any other number of activities for which decent weather is necessary. That doesn’t mean that your trailer is getting absolutely no use during the winter, or that you shouldn’t set out on a new adventure just because i’t snowing!




You actually might need your trailer more than ever during the winter months, especially if you like to go snowmobiling, winter camping or a weekend at a cabin, or even hauling off trash and junk to the dump after the holidays. Especially when hauling a trailer in the winter, make sure you have taken the necessary precautions to keep your truck and trailer running safe on those winter roads.




Hauling and Trailer in the Winter: Careful Preparations




Not only do you need to keep yourself and your property safe on icy roads, but trailers are also subject to a bunch of laws for safety and liability purposes. Set aside a solid hour or so before each trip to carefully check and prepare your trailer so you aren’t caught by surprise or stuck somewhere cold and isolated. Steer clear of winter service vehicles as they are there to make your job easier. Make sure you check the following:


•   Wiring and lightbulbs - are they turning on? Does the turn signal work?


•   Lubricate the electrical connections with silicon spray to fight cold and other damage


•   Check & tighten lug nuts and wheels


•   Use a tire pressure gauge to get tires to the perfect PSI, patch where needed


•   Double check your chains, locks, bolts, and all connections between your truck and your trailer


•   Be sure you have registration and insurance documents for both your truck and your trailer, and have them accessible in case of accident or traffic stop.


•   Use a fuel additive to prevent diesel fuel from gelling in very low temperatures






Icy, snowy roads are a recipe for disaster if you have substandard brakes. The biggest factor is the lost traction on slippery roads, meaning even with brakes your car may not stop. Try to look at the traffic, your speed, and the road condition and ask yourself “How long would it take my car to stop if I simply pulled my foot off the gas?” When hauling a trailer in the winter, try to leave as much space as that would take between you and the next vehicle, just in case your brakes are ineffective. Avoid slamming on the brakes, as this can cause you to skid and your trailer to jackknife. If you have a manual transmission truck you can employ downshifting gears while braking to make it easier to stop.




Keep an eye on side streets and your blindspot, and always watch your trailer in the rearview mirror to be aware of any problems that may pop up during a drive.








Place the heaviest items on the floor near the hitch to improve balance and handling capability. Especially when hauling a trailer in the winter make sure that all loads are fastened within the trailer so that items will not be flying around, falling, or getting damaged during the drive.




Drive carefully and be safe out there!

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