Connecting & Disconnecting a Plant Trailer

At Sweeney Hire, we supply a range of plant hire, excavation services and attachment hire to help assist your next tight access excavation or hardscaping project across South Perth. We never waiver from providing quality equipment and services that you can rely on, which is why our equipment is serviced every 250 working hours. Get in touch or fill out our online form to discuss your next project. 

Looking for attachments or plant hire? Sweeney Hire have you covered!

Trailers are perfect when it comes to transporting any type of material, furniture, garden waste etc.


Knowing how to hitch and unhitch a trailer with ease can give you greater peace of mind as well as ensuring your trailer is safely connected.



The main parts of a trailer that are involved in hitching and unhitching are:

  • The Coupler: The coupler is usually a ball type, and it attaches to the ball on the vehicle for a more secure connection.

  • The Handle: This locks the tow ball in place and releases it.

  • The Safety Latch: The safety latch keeps the coupler from jumping off during transport. Always make sure you have the safety latch in place before heading off on your journey.

  • The Safety Chain: This is added protection in case the coupling fails. The chain has a D shackle that connects straight to your vehicle. Some trailers only have one chain but larger trailers often have two. If you have two chains, always remember they have to be crossed before you drive off.

  • The Light Lead Connector: This connects the lights of your vehicle to the trailer. 


Many people don’t realise but you cannot just simply connect any trailer to any vehicle.  You first must have the right vehicle for the job!  Ensure your car/vehicles towing capacity is suitable for the machine/equipment you will be towing. This can be found in your vehicle's user manual, or by doing a quick google search. Tow balls also come in various sizes, so this is something else to check.


Once you are sure you have the right tow ball and your vehicle’s towing capacity is up to the job, you’re ready to hitch the trailer to your vehicle. Follow the steps below to learn how to hitch and unhitch your trailer.

Did you know -  It’s an offence to have any items in your trailer that are not secured tightly. Make sure you have everything tied down and any loose items are covered before you set off.


Here is a simple step by step guide to hitching and unhitching your plant trailer.


Carefully line up the hitching coupler over the tow ball.  If you have a jockey wheel on your trailer, use this to slowly lower the coupler over the ball, otherwise you can do this step by hand. 


Once the coupler is in position, release the handle to lock it in place.


Now, lock the handle and pop in the safety pin to keep the coupler secured.


Connect the safety chain to the vehicle using the D shackle.  Make sure this is properly tightened into the shackle thread and not loosely inserted,


Now it’s time to connect your light lead, this will activate your trailer lights.  Before you set off, check that these are properly functioning.  You’ll need to test the tail lights, brake lights and indicators.


Unhitching the trailer is just as easy - make sure you’re on level, even ground and place some wedges on the wheels to prevent them from rolling.


If you have a jockey wheel, wind it up to lift the trailer off the tow ball, again if you don’t have one, simply lift the trailer up. 


Disconnect the light lead from the vehicle.


Unhitch the safety chain, taking care not to lose the D shackle.

…and that’s it! 

If you’re taking one of our trailers with your hire, we can show you how to do this if you’re unsure - alternatively you can view our youtube tutorial over on our channel. 

29th August 2022

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