How do you uncouple and re-couple a trailer?

Your examiner will ask you to uncouple and re-couple your trailer. The task is quite simple, but you are required to prove that you can maintain, through set routines, complete control of your trailer.

How To Upcouple

  • 1. Apply trailer handbrake
  • 2. Lower jockey wheel
  • 3. Use a jockey wheel to wind up the trailer and uncouple
  • 4. Before removing the brake away safety cable, ensure that the handbrake is in the fully upright position whilst physically pushing the trailer to ensure the handbrake works correctly
  • 5. Detach safety brake away cable
  • 6. Detach electrics

Once the trailer has been uncoupled, you will now be required to move your vehicle and park alongside your trailer. Your examiner will now give you a brief along the lines that they would like you to re-couple the trailer but with the assumption that you have not previously seen this trailer. You will then be expected to approach the trailer to make sure that it is safe and legal to take on the road.

As you approach the trailer, firstly perform the handbrake check to make sure it is applied and working correctly, then inspect the bodywork and general condition of the trailer itself. Next, make your way along the length of the trailer, inspecting the following:

  • Tyres are inflated correctly and have a minimum of 1.6mm tread
  • Wheel arches, mud flaps, extendible support legs, light clusters, spare wheels are all attached to the trailer’s body securely

At the back of the trailer, ensure that cargo doors are securely fastened, your licence plate is clean, visible and matches the tow vehicles, reflectors, and lights are clean and not damaged. Finally, repeat the inspections down the other side of the trailer.

How To Re-Couple

  • 1. Get back in the tow car and manoeuvre it into position. It needs to be close enough for you to attach the brake away cable before removing the handbrake and moving the trailer but not necessarily right over the ball
  • 2. Before removing the trailer handbrake, attach the safety brake away cable
  • 3. Move the trailer into position
  • 4. Lift handle and wind jockey wheel down until you get a good connection
  • 5. Use the jockey wheel to perform a jack test, which involves winding the jockey wheel back down again to raise the rear of the car; this ensures that you have a solid connection
  • 6. Wind up, raise and secure the jockey wheel away
  • 7. Attach electrics
  • 8. Ask the examiner to assist with a lights check