Should a Trailer Be Level When Towing: Understand the Logic
Updated: May 28
Towing a trailer can present a unique set of challenges for drivers, especially when it comes to ensuring adequate weight distribution and stability. Now you might ask should a trailer be level when towing to fix the issues.
Keeping your trailer level when towing ensures your vehicle and trailer is stable and performing well. Level trailers feature improved ground clearance, improving both braking and smoother trails. Also, by leveling, you can also avoid uneven tire wear, further supporting tire longevity.
To properly level a trailer requires taking specific steps such as measuring the height of the trailer hitch receiver and tongue, adjusting the trailer hitch height if needed, examining weight distribution between the tow vehicle and trailer, checking tire pressure for both vehicles and finally testing for stability.
These measures will help you properly secure your trailer for optimal performance during transport. Here, we will discuss how you can achieve it.
How Level Should Trailer Be While Towing?
If you tow a trailer, it's vital to ensure it is properly leveled before you hit the road. Having an unleveled trailer can make for an uncomfortable and unstable ride, not to mention increasing your risk of an accident. To ensure that your trailer is correctly leveled, here are some easy steps to follow:
Step 01: Determine the level of your trailer
When towing a trailer, it is essential to determine your trailer's level before proceeding. A bubble level or an app on your smartphone can be used. To use a bubble level, simply place it on top of the trailer and observe whether the bubble is in between the two lines.
You must adjust your trailer until the bubble is centered if it is outside the two lines. An app can also be used for this purpose by placing your phone above the trailer and checking if its reading is level.
Step 02: Measure the height of your trailer hitch receiver
It is an essential step in determining the overall level of your trailer. Begin by measuring from the ground to the top edge of the receiver. Depending on what kind of hitch setup you have, this measurement may change slightly.
If possible, measure from several points along the receiver to accurately represent its height.
Step 03: Measure the height of the trailer tongue
When measuring the height of your trailer tongue, place a measuring tape on or near where it connects with the trailer frame at its highest point. Measure from here to the ground beneath it and ensure that you consider any other parts or accessories attached at this point (e.g., couplers).
This measurement will better understand how much adjustment needs to be made when leveling your trailer.
Step 04: Determine the height difference
Comparing both measurements (trailer hitch receiver and trailer tongue) can help determine the amount of adjustment to be done for your trailer to become level while being towed.
Generally speaking, if there is a difference between these two measurements that exceed 1 inch, then additional adjustments must be made before properly leveling your trailer.
Doing so will ensure that everything functions correctly while on the road and reduce any potential risks associated with improperly leveled trailers while towing.
Step 05: Adjust the height of the trailer hitch
First, measure the trailer tongue height to adjust the trailer hitch height. If it is too high, lower the trailer hitch by loosening the ball mount or shank and adjusting to lower the trailer tongue. Depending on the hitch used, this can be done using a wrench or an adjustable wrench.
Make sure to retighten all components securely once the adjustment has been made. If the trailer tongue is too low, raise the trailer hitch by adjusting the ball mount or shank, making adjustments to raise the trailer tongue.
Again, ensure all components are securely tightened after completing this step.
Step 06: Re-measure the level of the trailer
After adjusting the trailer hitch height, re-measure and check that the trailer is level. This must be checked both side-to-side and front-to-back so that no part of the trailer is higher than any other part.
To do this correctly, use a bubble level tool, or jack stands with a level affixed to ensure accuracy when checking for levelness.
Step 07: Check that your weight distribution
It is even across all four axles of your trailer, with particular attention paid to ensuring that no one axle is overloaded compared to any other axle.
This can be done by weighing each axle individually on a set of scales or measuring how much force each wheel exerts when jacked up off the ground using a set of jack stands.
Also, ensure you have enough weight over your vehicle's tow bar to not become unstable while driving down uneven road surfaces at speed.
Step 08: Check the tire pressure
To ensure the trailer and towing vehicle are appropriately leveled, it is vital to check the tire pressure of both. Ensure all tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended level, as this can help prevent uneven wear and improve handling.
Also, take a test drive with a fully loaded trailer and adjust as necessary. Factors such as weight distribution of cargo, road and wind conditions may require additional adjustments throughout the journey.
Step 09: Test the stability of the trailer
To test for stability when towing, ensure the trailer is level. This can be done by checking that all four trailer corners sit at the same height from ground level. Adjust the stabilizer jacks or other supports until each corner is even.
Pay attention to any swaying or excessive bouncing when driving with a fully loaded trailer. If either occurs, make further adjustments to ensure the trailer remains stable during transit. Use safety chains for added stability and only operate within posted speed limits while towing.
Ensure a Smooth and Safe Towing Experience with Proper Trailer Leveling
A level trailer is essential for improved stability, braking performance, and ground clearance when towing. Knowing how to correctly measure the height difference between your trailer's receiver and tongue is key to ensuring it stays balanced on the road.
The importance of checking the weight distribution of your trailer should also not be overlooked, as it impacts handling as well. Finally, ensure you check your tire pressure before leaving so that all your tires are wearing evenly and safely.
Leveling a trailer can be daunting, but following these steps can help ensure you get it right every time.