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Ask The ATV Safety Institute: Using A Trailer

January 31, 2014

YOU ASK: I plan to buy a trailer for my ATV to haul stuff around my property. Is there anything special I need to know?

THE ASI RESPONDS: Before buying a trailer, read the ATV’s owner’s manual to make sure your ATV can be used for towing. Select a trailer that will work with your specific ATV and can carry the load you want to haul. You should have a good amount of experience riding your ATV before towing a trailer, since a trailer will affect your vehicle’s handling and braking ability.

To ensure that you do not exceed your ATV’s vehicle load capacity (total weight of rider, accessories, cargo, and trailer tongue weight), you need to consider the trailer tongue weight (the portion of the trailer’s load that bears downward on the ATV’s hitch). Refer to your ATV’s and trailer’s owner’s manuals for information on how to properly load your trailer and determine tongue weight. 

When towing a trailer, follow these general guidelines:
  • Only tow a trailer if your ATV is designed and equipped to do so. 
  • Ensure your trailer is securely attached to the ATV. The trailer must have a rigid tongue.
  • Always attach a trailer to the hitch and not a rack or other part of the ATV not designed for towing.
  • Do not overload the trailer or ATV.
  • Ensure the load is balanced in the trailer, and properly secured.
  • Ride at low speeds when towing a trailer and avoid quick maneuvers.
  • Allow for wider turns and longer stopping distances.
  • Do not tow a trailer on hills or uneven surfaces.
  • Do not allow any passengers in the trailer.
  • A trailer can enhance the versatility of your ATV. Just shift your brain into “utility mode” instead of “recreational mode” when you use one.

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