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How to Load a Car Transporter Trailer – A Guide

INTRODUCTION

In our previous website blog we went over the different types of ratchet straps, and the correct use of them when loading and un-loading trailer goods.

It seems good that we should then progress from that blog to one with more specific trailer loading information for different trailer types.

Car transporter trailers are one of the most popular trailers on our hire fleet and we are often asked for tips on loading and securing vehicles onto our trailers.

With this, please find below some hints and tips about using a car transporter trailer including preparation, the loading process, securing the car to the trailer and the journey itself.

We hope this information will help you in your next time using a car trailer.

 

CAR TRANSPORTER TRAILER USE – PREPARATION

Before doing anything else you would need to check the size and weight of the vehicle you are going to transport, and compare this with the trailer you are going to use.

  • It is vital that the trailer being used is large enough to accommodate the towed vehicle, and that the trailer has a payload rating exceeding the cars’ weight.
  • If checking the vehicle handbook for weight information, ensure that the measurement given is also with fuel / oil / other fluids as this can affect the overall weight significantly.
  • If you are planning to transport a very low sports car with minimal ground clearance you would need to consider a tilt-bed car transporter trailer which allows much shallower loading angle than with a fixed bed trailer.

  • You would also need to check your towing vehicle to ensure it can tow the trailer and the loaded vehicle. If using a heavy-duty twin or triple-axle trailer and a large car on the trailer we would recommend a 4×4 such as the Land Rover Discovery or Mitsubishi Shogun, or pickup such as the Mitsubishi L200 or Nissan Navara.
  • If you are using your own ratchet straps, check for any tearing or fraying in the fabric and any wear and tear on the ratchet and hooks. If there are any faults with the strap these would need to be replaced – if they are used while torn/frayed, any additional forces from transportation could cause them to break suddenly.

If you need replacement ratchet straps just click here to see the car transporter systems we offer.

Our website also has information on our hire fleet if you need to hire a trailer from us – we also have tilt-bed car trailers if you are transporting a car with low ground clearance.

 

CAR TRANSPORTER TRAILER USE – LOADING

  • Before starting, the trailer being used needs to be coupled up to the tow vehicle. This will negate any possibility of the it moving around as the towed vehicle is loaded on.
  • The most critical element of loading a vehicle is the weight distribution. The bulk of the towed vehicles’ weight needs to be as far forward as possible, whilst the trailer and tow vehicle are still level and whilst the nose-load capacity of the tow bar being used isn’t exceeded.
  • Most cars are front-engined and this is where the majority of the vehicle weight is. In this case the car would need to be driven on forwards so the bulk of the weight is beyond the trailer axles.

  • If transporting a mid-engined or rear-engined car, such as a Toyota MR2 or Porsche Boxster, these would need to be reversed on so the engine is forward on the trailer.
  • An aim for the weight distribution on the trailer would be 60% at the front of the trailer and 40% at the rear. With the weight slightly towards the front, there is a minimised risk of the trailer swaying and jack-knifing in cross-winds.
  • If the weight is too far forward the front of the towing vehicle would be up in the air and wouldn’t be able to steer. If the towed vehicle is too far back the rear of the towing vehicle would be up in the air and there would be many handling problems.
  • It would require some trial and error so get the car in the right place on the trailer so the weight is forward, the trailer is still level and the noseload capacity of the towing vehicle is met.

If this can fit to your trailer we offer a jockey wheel assembly which gives a nose-load reading – click here to see this on our website.

 

CAR TRANSPORTER TRAILER USE – STRAPPING / SECURING VEHICLE TO TRAILER

Just click here to see our previous blog on ratchet straps, which covered the correct way to use them whilst strapping items down to a trailer.

Below are some additional tips on securing the car to the trailer:

  • All four wheels need to be secured to the trailer to ensure the car has minimal chance of moving around on the trailer if there is sudden movement during transport.

  • In addition, wheel chocks are highly recommended as a further precaution. Many car transporter trailers have these as a full-width chock. If required, these wheel chocks can be used and may need an additional small strap to keep them in place.

  • If the vehicle needs to be winched onto the trailer, keep the winch cable attached to the car as another precaution.
  • Make sure any excess straps are tied-up and out of the way so they don’t flap about in transport and cause potential damage to the vehicle or other vehicles around.
  • Always have the parking brake or hand-brake on once the car is in position on the trailer.

 

CAR TRANSPORTER TRAILER USE – DURING TRANSPORT

  • Periodically through your journey, or when stopping for petrol, make sure to check the ratchet straps on the towed car in case any have changed position or have worked loose.

  • Whilst towing a trailer the speed limit is 50mph for national limit single carriageway, and 60mph for national limit dual carriageway or motorway. If on a motorway, you cannot go in the outside lane whilst towing a trailer.
  • With a heavy load on the trailer, the front of the towing vehicle would still rise a little even when correctly loaded. The headlight level may therefore need adjusting to avoid dazzling other road users whilst towing the trailer and vehicle.

  • It needs to be kept in mind whilst towing that the trailer will have a very high centre of gravity with the vehicle loaded on, and will be thus more prone to moving side to side. Take corners and roundabouts carefully, especially if they are on a road camber.
  • If you get into a trailer snaking situation the best course of action is to GENTLY back off the accelerator and keep hold of the steering wheel to stay in control as much as possible. As the speed gradually drops the snaking and swaying should become more controllable.

 

We hope that the advice above will be of help in your next trailer journey and we will be looking to do more blogs covering trailer towing with other trailer types in the future.

If you have any questions about this blog, if you have a trailer hire query or if you have any other tow bar or trailer question just contact us and we will be of help to you.

Thank you for choosing us at Trident Towing Kent.

 

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