How to Use the Safety Chains Properly with a Trailer Hitch?

If you’re looking for guidelines about the safety chain then you are in the right place. If we talk about the basics of safety chains then the chains that connect the trailer tongue to the tow vehicle are known as safety chains. To put it another way, safety chains are critical for ensuring that your trailer is correctly secured to your tow vehicle.

They’re also essential so that if your ball or coupler fails, you can still safely maneuver your trailer and maintain control while you make your way to a safe stopping spot.

If you’re going to use a safety chain as a beginner then you must go through all of this informations. So read the article carefully for 5 mins till the end.

Where should you put the safety chain on a trailer?

So, if you’re worried about finding the right point where to put the safety chains then here it is. Chains are utilized as a trailer’s safety precaution. They must be crossed and attached to the vehicle around where the bumper attaches to its chassis.

Note: The length of this chain must be no more than necessary to allow the vehicle to turn freely.

At the point of crossing, or as close to it as possible, the chains should be linked to the tow bar. Connect your trailer’s safety chains to your tow vehicle. The chains should be crisscrossed beneath the trailer tongue to form an X that will grab the tongue if the trailer detaches from the tow vehicle.

How to use the safety chains properly with a trailer hitch?

Trailer safety chains are necessary for securing your trailer to your tow vehicle and serve as the first line of defense in the event of an unexpected disengagement. Your safety chains will allow you to direct your trailer and ease your way into a halting spot if your ball or coupler fails.

So, it’s always better to keep chains as a backup for safety. Towing your trailer necessitates the use of two safety chains, each of which must be connected to its chain retainer.

Here are some necessary pieces of information regarding the use of a safety chain that will help you.

Why does safety chain is so important?

Even though there are regulations and relevant provisions for the proper installation and usage of safety chains, they are frequently misused and applied incorrectly. Safety chains are improperly employed for a variety of reasons, including ignorance, inexperience, lack of training, negligence, and inappropriate chains or attachments.

In the majority of significant incidents, there are various issues with the trailer’s connection to the tow vehicle, which result in injury and property damage. While it should be simple to attach safety chains, it is rarely done correctly.

To be honest, knowing that we are on the road at the same moment that these trailers are being towed is unnerving. If the primary coupling fails in any of the instances above, the trailer tongue will surely tumble to the road surface. Allowing the tongue to touch the ground is prohibited in many areas since it is extremely aggressive and dangerous.

Things to avoid:

Trailer safety chains are a straightforward concept that has a significant impact on the safety of your trailer, tow vehicle, and towing excursion. Always refer to your trailer’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to secure chains according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Here are the certain things that you need to avoid while installing and using chains:

  1. Choose chains that are more powerful than the trailer’s overall weight capacity. Safety chains should be attached in ways that are stronger than the chain itself. In addition, all hooks and connectors should be stronger than the chain.
  2. If you need to use safety chains, make sure they don’t grind against the ground. That is, place the chains somewhere other than where chains will not grind against the road.
  3. While putting the chain on, be careful not to weaken it. Welding and chaining chains are not recommended.
  4. Make the chains as short as feasible, and attach safety chains in a fashion that allows for length adjustment if possible. If it isn’t an option, find alternative ‘acceptable’ ways to shorten the chain.
  5. Consider the force’s direction. If chains are thrown around forcefully, be sure the things holding them in place are pointing in the right direction.

Coupler failure:

One of the most common issues you may encounter while traveling with your trailer is coupler failure. The problem of primary coupler failure has been known for decades. That is why safety chains are employed.

If any part of the primary coupling fails, safety chains act as an extra layer of protection, preventing your trailer from disconnecting from your tow vehicle. These are some of the causes of coupler failure that you should be aware of.

  • On the ball, the coupler was never entirely seated.
  • The wrong size ball was used, and the coupler lock was not correctly fastened down, allowing the ball to fall off the hitch.
  • The hitch may be removed from the vehicle’s receiver.
  • The trailer draw bar’s coupler can get detached.

How tight should trailer chains be?

Trailer chains should not be too much tight or too loose. The too-loose chain may hit badly on the road if the coupler fails. As a result, it’s best to maintain it in the middle range and keep the chains 4-5 inches above the ground. It’s preferable to know that all sorts of trailers and towed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 4540 kg require couplings, hitches, and safety chains (10,000 lb). Trailers that are typically pulled by passenger cars, light-duty commercial vehicles, light trucks, and multipurpose passenger vehicles include utility, boat, camping, travel, and special purpose trailers.

N.B. If you’re using a heavy load trailer then Grade 43 chain is good which is also known as High-Test Chain or G-4 chain and is made of carbon steel, which has high tensile strength and wear resistance. As a result, Grade 43 is the best choice for applications like towing. Trucking for heavy loads.

What should be the strength of the chain?

According to the specification, each safety chain and all attachment means must meet the minimum breaking force tensile load. When available for sale, chains should be labeled with the trailer class and GVWR.

According to the standard, any procedure performed on safety chains after they have been manufactured cannot lower their strength.  If we classify the trailers in 1,2,3,4 then the class 1 trailer will have a minimum breaking force of 2000ibs. Class 2 will have 3500ibs and class 3 will have 5000ibs. And the large one class 4 will have up to 10000 ibs breaking force.

How do you install new trailer chains?

When installing trailer chains, one on each side for a total of two chains should be permanently secured to the trailer tongue. A single chain can be utilized as long as it is permanently secured to each side of the trailer tongue to act as two chains.

Chains that are distinct from the trailer tongue to the hitch system, the chains should be attached properly to the towing vehicle. Slack for each length of the chain should be equal when joined. When the vehicles are in a straight line, they should be about the same length, and there should only be a sufficient amount of slack to allow for proper turning.

To avoid the possibility of stressing or breaking the safety chains, they should be spanned under the trailer tongue when turning. Any section of the ball, as well as any components connecting the ball to the hitch, should be chain-free.

Safety chain FAQs

On a trailer, should I cross my safety chains?

Yes, it’s good to cross the safety chains. Always cross the chains while attaching them to a vehicle. By lowering the likelihood of tension, crossing the trailer chains aids in turning the trailer. It also serves as a cradle if the tow vehicle is separated.

How many safety chains do you need on a trailer?

Two safety chains must be linked to their chain retainers. Remember that poor safety chain rigging can result in not only a loss of control of your trailer and tow vehicle but also significant injury or worse if the trailer uncouples from the tow vehicle.

What’s the best way to protect my trailer chain from dragging?

Chain up is the easy and quick way to keep your chains dragging on the ground. The chain-up includes a model for weight distribution hitches as well as standard and adjustable ball mount hitches. The chain ups inner circle fits an inch and 7/8 to 2 inch ball.

Clipping the material between the large holes and these four small holes will allow the chain up to be used with a 2 and 5/16 inch ball. The long oval holes are where you would feed the safety chains through to the hook to the tow vehicle. The chain-up needs to be set up once.

Begin placing the chain up on the coupler ball and feed the chain up through both over holes. And yes, crossing the chains is a safe procedure when towing a trailer. Hook the chains to the tow vehicle and adjust the chains so the chain up lifts the chains off the ground. Then hook the trailer to the tow vehicle and you’re ready to go.


Safety chains are really important for you whenever you’re traveling with your trailer. A simple backup can remove your headache and prevents accident. Hope you had enough information from above and that your thoughts are clear now. Try to follow the guidelines to set the safety chains properly. If face any problem take the help of an expert which is much preferable. Stay tuned with us. Happy journey!

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