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Towing an ORV with a Trailer

Two ATVs loaded on a trailer attached to a large white pickup truck parked amoung sand dunes.

Some people have trails or areas where they can ride their Off-Road Vehicles at home, but others may have to take their ORVs somewhere else to ride. For instance, many people take their Golf Carts with them when camping or haul their ATVs and UTVs to designated riding trails. To get your ORV to these places, you'll probably want to tow it with a trailer. If you've never towed an ORV with a trailer before, follow these steps to keep your ORV from moving around or falling off!

  1. Connect and secure the trailer to your towing vehicle

    Be sure that your vehicle is fit for a trailer and can tow the weight of your ORV. The trailer size needed will vary based on the type of ORV you're hauling. Attach the ball of the hitch to the hitch of the trailer. Fasten all latches and secure them with a pin or lock, and don't forget to hook the chains!
  2. Lower or attach the loading ramp(s)

    Some trailers have built-in ramps that either lower or fold away. If your trailer doesn't have either of these, I'd suggest purchasing a portable ramp suitable for your ORV. Lifting an ORV onto a trailer is dangerous — especially if you're alone.
  3. Slowly drive the ORV onto the trailer

    Once the ramp is secured, either put the vehicle in neutral and push or slowly drive the vehicle onto the trailer. If you go too fast, the wheels could spin and slip. Don't forget to wear a helmet!
  4. Establish proper weight distribution

    Place the ORV toward the front of the trailer (closest to the towing vehicle) so that about 60 percent of the weight is at the front. Make sure your parking brake is on once you've got it in the right spot!
  5. Strap it in

    Use ratchet straps to keep the ORV in place while you drive. Do not attach them to your axels, suspension or any other non-sturdy part — these parts could bend from the pressure of the straps. Check your owner's manual for recommended places to attach straps on the vehicle. Connect the straps to built-in hooks on the trailer, then tighten the straps so the ORV is sturdy and will move as one with the trailer.
  6. Raise or remove the loading ramp(s)

    Now that the ORV is in place, put the ramp away. Place it inside of the bed of the truck (if this is your towing vehicle), or secure it in the trailer — you'll need it when unloading the ORV.
  7. Hit the road!

    You're all ready to head out on your adventure. If you haven't driven a trailer in a while, refresh your memory on the dos and don'ts of towing and take it slow!


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