5 Step Guide for Loading Your Vehicle Onto a Car Trailer

Transporting your vehicle on a car trailer is an effective way to move your car without racking up unnecessary miles and wear and tear on your prized set of wheels. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to load your car. Learn what you need to know here with this step-by-step guide to make the process smooth, safe and pain-free. 

General Tips

• Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual regarding the ideal way to secure your car onto a trailer.

• Check your car trailer’s maximum weight capacity and make sure you are well within the limits.

• If adding additional cargo to your towed vehicle, distribute the weight evenly and be sure to not load too much additional weight into the back of your vehicle.

• You want most of the weight to be on the front of your trailer to avoid fishtailing. For this reason, always load your car forwards onto the trailer. Most of a car’s weight is from the engine which is usually in the front of the vehicle.

Step 1: Station and secure your equipment

Hook the trailer to the tow vehicle and station the tow vehicle, car trailer and car on a level surface. You will need a minimum of 50 - 60 ft. of level space. If you ever find yourself on the side of the road, make sure you are out of the way of traffic and if you have a cone, put it behind the car to be towed to mark it from traffic. Double check the car trailer’s coupler and chains to ensure they are securely fastened. Then put the towing vehicle in park with the parking brake engaged.

Step 2: Prepare for loading your car

Car haulers often come with tie downs or D-rings on the floor of the trailer. Make sure to inspect them for any wear and tear, and then prepare and inspect the straps or chains that you will be using to secure the vehicle.  Lower or remove the driver’s side fender and lower the vehicle ramp on the car trailer making sure it is resting on firm ground.

Step 3: Load the vehicle 

Line up the car evenly with the ramp. Make sure to have a spotter that can ensure you are in line with the ramp. Drive up the ramp slowly and carefully with your windows down so your spotter can communicate with you. Position the vehicle to where the wheels are in line with the tie downs or D-rings on the trailer. Once properly positioned, put your car in park and secure the parking brake.

Step 4: Secure the vehicle onto the trailer

Secure the straps or chains to the wheels of your vehicle. Ensure to properly ratchet the straps so there is a significant amount of tension on them. Raise the ramp and secure it for transit. Put the driver side fender back in position and make sure it’s secure. 

Step 5: Double-check the load and prepare for transit

Once you have your vehicle fully secured onto the trailer, do a final walk-through. Ensure that the trailer chains and electrical are hooked to your towing vehicle. Make sure that there is lots of tension on the wheel straps between the towed car and the towing trailer. Make sure the ramp is properly stowed. 

You are now ready to hit the road. While driving, remember that you need to make wide turns and will likely require a larger height clearance. Drive cautiously, especially at first as you are getting used to driving with the trailer behind you.


About the author

Ryan is a blogger for moving resource company Move Honcho. As a former mover, he enjoys creating content to help people maximize their move.