What are Safety Chains and Why Do I Need Them for My Trailer?

Now that we’ve defined what safer towing is and explained some of the details about towing your trailer safely, it’s time to dig in a little deeper and talk about safety chains. While they may seem like a small detail, they’re actually extremely important parts of your trailer that you absolutely need in order to operate it safely.

Safety chains are the chains that are connected from the trailer tongue to the tow vehicle. In other words, safety chains are an essential piece for making sure your trailer is properly connected to your tow vehicle. They are also necessary so that you can still safely guide your trailer and maintain control as make your way to a safe stopping point in the event that the event of a ball or coupler failure. Two safety chains are required and must be attached to their own chain retainers.

safety chains

Remember, improper rigging of safety chains can not only result in loss of control of both your trailer and tow vehicle, but can also cause serious injury or worse if the trailer uncouples from the tow vehicle.

To make sure you are using your safety chains properly, follow these instructions:

  • Cross the safety chains underneath the hitch and coupler with enough slack to permit turning and to hold the tongue up if the trailer comes loose.
  • Fasten the safety chains to the tow vehicle.
  • Always make sure the safety chains are secured to the tow vehicle before you move your trailer and stop to recheck them regularly (about once each hour) while you are towing.
  • Regularly check the chains and hooks for wear or damage, and replace any worn or damaged chains and hooks before towing again.

Just as there are specific things you must do with safety chains, there are also some things you shouldn’t do.

  • Do not fasten the chains to any part of the hitch unless the hitch has holes or loops specifically for that purpose.
  • Never fasten the breakaway lanyard to the safety chains.
  • Never let your safety chains drag the ground.

Safety chains are one small detail that can lead to a major problem if you aren’t using them correctly. As always, consult the owner’s manual for your trailer or contact us if you have questions about the safety chains for your trailer.