Loss of control of the trailer or trailer/tow vehicle combination can result in death or serious injury. The most common causes for loss of control of the trailer are:
Our trailers are built with components produced by various manufacturers. Some of these items have separate instruction manuals. Where this manual indicates that you should read another manual, and you do not have that manual, call NEO Manufacturing, Inc. at 269-503-7630 for a free copy.
The safety information in this manual is denoted by the safety alert symbol:
The level of risk is indicated by the following signal words.
DANGER - Immediate hazards which WILL result in severe personal injury or death if the warning is ignored.
WARNING - Hazards or unsafe practices which COULD result in severe personal injury or death if the warning is ignored.
CAUTION - Hazards or unsafe practices which could result in minor or moderate injury if the warning is ignored.
NOTICE - Practices that could result in damage to the trailer or other property.
With ideal road conditions, the maximum speed when safely towing a trailer is 60 m.p.h. If you drive too fast, the trailer tires will overheat and possibly blowout. As your speed increases, you are more likely to suddenly lose control. Never exceed 60 m.p.h. while towing the trailer.
Driving too fast for conditions can result in loss of control and cause death or serious injury.
Decrease your speed as road, weather and lighting conditions deteriorate.
When towing a trailer, you will have decreased acceleration, increased stopping distance, and increased turning radius (which means you must make wider turns to keep from hitting curbs, vehicles, and anything else that is on the inside corner). In addition, you will need a longer distance to pass, due to slower acceleration and increased length.
It is critical that the trailer be securely coupled to the hitch, and that the safety chains are correctly attached. Uncoupling may result in death or serious injury.
Proper selection and condition of the coupler and hitch are essential to safely towing your trailer. A loss of coupling may result in death or serious injury.
An improperly coupled trailer can result in death or serious injury.
Do not move the trailer until:
Do not tow the trailer on the road until:
If your trailer comes loose from the hitch for any reason, we have provided safety chains so that control of the trailer can still be maintained.
Improper rigging of the safety chains can result in loss of control of the trailer and tow vehicle, leading to death or serious injury, if the trailer uncouples from the tow vehicle.
Your trailer may also be equipped with a breakaway brake system that can apply the brakes on your trailer, if your trailer comes loose from the hitch for any reason. You will have a separate set of instructions for the breakaway brake if your trailer is so equipped. The safety chains and breakaway brake system must be in good condition and properly rigged to be effective.
An ineffective or inoperative breakaway brake system can result in a runaway trailer, leading to death or serious injury if the coupler or hitch fails.
The breakaway cable must be connected to the tow vehicle, and NOT to any part of the hitch.
Before towing the trailer, test the function of the breakaway brake system. If the breakaway brake system is not working, do not tow the trailer. Have it serviced or repaired.
Use of a hitch with a load rating less than the load rating of the trailer can result in loss of control and may lead to death or serious injury.
Use of a tow vehicle with a towing capacity less than the load rating of the trailer can result in loss of control, and may lead to death or serious injury.
Be sure your hitch and tow vehicle are rated for the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your trailer.
Trailer tires and wheels are more likely to fail than car tires and wheels because they carry a heavier load. Therefore, it is essential to inspect the trailer tires before each tow.
If a tire has a bald spot, bulge, cuts, is showing any cords, or is cracked, replace the tire before towing. If a tire has uneven tread wear, take the trailer to a dealer service center for diagnosis. Uneven tread wear can be caused by tire imbalance, axle misalignment or incorrect inflation.
Tires with too little tread will not provide adequate tracking on wet roadways and can result in loss of control, leading to death or serious injury.
Improper tire pressure causes an unstable trailer and can result in a tire blowout and loss of control. Therefore, before each tow you must also check the tire pressure. Tire pressure must be checked when tires are cold. Allow 3 hours cool-down after driving as much as 1 mile at 40 m.p.h. before checking tire pressure. NOTE: Trailer tires will be inflated to higher pressures than passenger vehicle tires.
Improper tire pressure can result in a blowout and loss of control, which can lead to death or serious injury.
Be sure tires are inflated to pressure indicated on sidewall before towing trailer.
Since trailer wheels and lug nuts (or bolts) are subjected to greater side loads than automobile wheels, they are more prone to loosen. Before each tow, check to make sure they are tight.
Metal creep between the wheel rim and lug nuts will cause rim to loosen and could result in a wheel coming off, leading to death or serious injury.
Tighten lug nuts before each tow.
The proper tightness (torque) for lug nuts is listed at page 80 in the "Inspection and Service Instructions" chapter of this manual. Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts. If you do not have a torque wrench, use a lug wrench (from your tow vehicle) and tighten the nuts as much as you can. Then have a service garage or trailer dealer tighten the lug nuts to the proper torque.
Lug nuts are also prone to loosen after first being assembled. When driving a new trailer (or after wheels have been remounted), check to make sure they are tight after the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving and before each tow thereafter.
Failure to perform this check can result in a wheel parting from the trailer and a crash, leading to death or serious injury.
Lug nuts are prone to loosen after initial installation, which can lead to death or serious injury.
Check lug nuts for tightness on a new trailer or when wheel(s) have been remounted after the first 10, 25 and 50 miles of driving.
Improper lug nut torque can cause a wheel parting from the trailer, leading to death or serious injury.
Be sure lug nuts are tight before each tow.
The total weight of the load you put in or on the trailer, plus the empty weight of the trailer itself, must not exceed the trailer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). If you do not know the empty weight of the trailer, you must measure it at a commercial scale. In addition, you must distribute the load in the trailer such that the load on any tire or axle does not exceed the tire load rating or the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).
An overloaded trailer can result in loss of control of the trailer, leading to death or serious injury.
Do not exceed the trailer Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or an axle Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).
Do not load a trailer so that the weight on any tire exceeds its rating.
Uneven load distribution can cause tire, wheel, axle or structural failure. Be sure your trailer is properly loaded.
A proper weight distribution is equal, right to left; and creates a tongue weight that is in the proper range for stable trailer handling.
In the table below, the second column notes the rule of thumb percentage of total weight of the trailer plus its cargo (Gross Vehicle Weight, or "GVW") that should appear on the tongue of the trailer. For example, a trailer with a gooseneck hitch, with a loaded weight of 12,000 pounds, should have 20-25% of 12,000 pounds on the tongue. That is, the example trailer would have 2,400 to 3,000 pounds on its tongue.
|Tongue Weight as a Percentage of Loaded Trailer Weight|
|Type of Hitch||Percentage|
|Ball Hitch (or Bumper Hitch)||10-15%|
|Fifth Wheel Hitch||20-25%|
Improper tongue weight (load distribution) can result in loss of control of the trailer, leading to death or serious injury.
Make certain that tongue weight is within the allowable range.
Be sure to:
Towing stability also depends on keeping the center of gravity as low as possible. Load heavy items on the floor and over the axles, but do not exceed the axle load rating (GAWR). When loading additional items be sure to maintain even side-to-side weight distribution and proper tongue weight.
Since the trailer "ride" can be bumpy and rough, you must secure your cargo so that it does not shift while the trailer is being towed.
Shifting cargo can result in loss of control of the trailer, and can lead to death or serious injury.
Tie down all loads with proper sized fasteners, ropes, straps, etc.
Your trailer may be designed for specific cargo, for example, only for race cars. If your trailer is designed for specific cargo, only carry that cargo in the trailer. A utility trailer must not be used to carry certain items, such as people, containers of hazardous substances or containers of flammable substances.
Do not transport people inside the trailer, even if it has living quarters. The transport of people puts their lives at risk and may be illegal.
Do not transport flammable, explosive, poisonous or other dangerous materials in your trailer.
Be sure that the electric brakes and all of the lights on your trailer are functioning properly before towing your trailer. Electric brakes and lights on a trailer are controlled via a connection to the tow vehicle, generally a multi-pin electrical connector. Check the trailer tail lights by turning on your tow vehicle headlights. Check the trailer brake lights by having someone step on the tow vehicle brake pedal while you look at trailer lights. Do the same thing to check the turn signal lights.
If your trailer has electric brakes, your tow vehicle will have an electric brake controller that sends power to the trailer brakes. Before towing the trailer on the road, you must operate the brake controller while trying to pull the trailer in order to confirm that the electric brakes operate. While towing the trailer at less than 5 m.p.h., manually operate the electric brake controller in the tow vehicle cab. You should feel the operation of the trailer brakes.
Improper electrical connection between the tow vehicle and the trailer will result in inoperable lights and electric brakes, and can lead to collision.
Before each tow:
Standard mirrors usually do not provide adequate visibility for viewing traffic to the sides and rear of a towed trailer. You must provide mirrors that allow you to safely observe approaching traffic.
Essential safety items can be damaged by altering your trailer. Even simply driving a nail or screw to hang something can damage an electrical circuit, LP gas line or other feature of the trailer.
Before making any alteration to your trailer, contact your dealer or Neo Manufacturing at 269-503-7630 and describe the alteration you are contemplating. Alteration of the trailer structure or modification of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating or other systems on your trailer must be performed only by qualified technicians who are familiar with the system as installed on your trailer.
The "Accessories" chapter of this manual contains some information about certain optional accessories that may be on your trailer. Read and follow all of these instructions before operating the accessories. The major hazards from some of these accessories are:
If your trailer is equipped with a gasoline or diesel generator, you must have and follow the generator manufacturer's instructions. You must also have one or more carbon monoxide detectors in the trailer's accommodation spaces.
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless gas that can cause death. Be certain exhaust from a running generator does not accumulate in or around your trailer, by situations such as:
Operating gasoline and diesel generators can lead to death or serious injury by:
Have a working carbon monoxide detector in the accommodation spaces before operating a generator.
Do not refuel a running generator or refuel near ignition sources.
"Shore Power" is the name given to connecting your trailer to a source of electrical power using an extension cord specifically designed for that purpose.
Shore power poses a risk of death due to electrocution or fire
You can die or be brain damaged by Carbon Monoxide.
Make certain the exhaust from LP appliances is directed to the outdoors.
Have a working carbon monoxide detector in the accommodation spaces of your trailer before operating any LP gas appliance.
Do not operate portable grills or stoves inside the trailer.
Risk of death due to fire or explosion.
Only connect an LP gas system to a supply of LP gas, NOT natural gas.
Do not store LP gas tanks inside the trailer.
Only fill an LP gas tank 80% full.
Only fill the tank with LP gas (butane or propane).
Overfilled tanks can release gas and cause an explosion.
Risk of fire or explosion.
If LP gas is detected (by smell or by the LP gas detector):
Correct the source of LP gas leakage before using LP appliances.
Do not use a flame to locate the source of an LP gas leak.
Risk of fire or explosion.
Never use a flame, heat lamp or hair dryer to thaw an LP gas regulator. Use an incandescent light bulb.
Do not remove the regulator cover or attempt to service the LP gas regulator.
If you believe that your vehicle has a defect that could cause a crash or could cause injury or death, you should immediately inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in addition to notifying Neo Manufacturing.
If NHTSA receives similar complaints, it may open an investigation, and if it finds that a safety defect exists in a group of vehicles, it may order a recall and remedy campaign. However, NHTSA cannot become involved in individual problems between you, your dealer, or Neo Manufacturing.
To contact NHTSA, you may either call the Vehicle Safety Hotline toll-free at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153), go to: http://www.safercar.gov; or write to: Administrator, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20590. You can also obtain other information about motor vehicle safety from http>..www.safercar.gov.
Call 269-503-7630 to reach Neo Manufacturing.
|WARNING LABEL LOCATIONS|
|CLICK TO ENLARGE THE ABOVE PHOTOS|
|WARNING LABEL DESCRIPTIONS|
UT0020 & UT0036
To protect you and others against death or serious injury, all of the labels shown above must be on the trailer and must be legible.
If any of these labels are missing or cannot be read, call Neo Manufacturing at 269-503-7630 for free replacement labels.
You will need to provide us with the number shown at the bottom of the label(s) in order for us to send the correct one(s).
Driving a vehicle with a trailer in tow is vastly different from driving the same vehicle without a trailer in tow. Acceleration, maneuverability and braking are all diminished with a trailer in tow. It takes longer to get up to speed, you need more room to turn and pass, and more distance to stop when towing a trailer. You will need to spend time adjusting to the different feel and maneuverability of the tow vehicle with a loaded trailer. Because of the significant differences in all aspects of maneuverability when towing a trailer, the hazards and risks of injury are also much greater than when driving without a trailer. You are responsible for keeping your vehicle and trailer in control, and for all the damage that is caused if you lose control of your vehicle and trailer.
As you did when learning to drive an automobile, find an open area with little or no traffic for your first practice trailering. Of course, before you start towing the trailer, you must follow all of the instructions for inspection, testing, loading and coupling. Also, before you start towing, adjust the mirrors so you can see the trailer as well as the area to the rear of it.
Drive slowly at first, 5 m.p.h. or so, and turn the wheel to get the feel of how the tow vehicle and trailer combination responds. Next, make some right and left hand turns. Watch in your side mirrors to see how the trailer follows the tow vehicle. Turning with a trailer attached requires more room.
Stop the rig a few times from speeds no greater than 10 m.p.h. If your trailer is equipped with brakes, try using different combinations of trailer/electric brake and tow vehicle brake. Note the effect that the trailer brakes have when they are the only brakes used. When properly adjusted, the trailer brakes will come on just before the tow vehicle brakes.
It will take practice to learn how to back up a tow vehicle with a trailer attached. Take it slow. Before backing up, get out of the tow vehicle and look behind the trailer to make sure that there are no obstacles. Some drivers place their hands at the bottom of the steering wheel, and while the tow vehicle is in reverse, "think" of the hands as being on the top of the wheel. When the hands move to the right (counter-clockwise, as you would do to turn the tow vehicle to the left when moving forward), the rear of the trailer moves to the right. Conversely, rotating the steering wheel clockwise with your hands at the bottom of the wheel will move the rear of the trailer to the left, while backing up. If you are towing a bumper hitch rig, be careful not to allow the trailer to turn too much, because it will hit the rear of the tow vehicle. To straighten the rig, either pull forward, or turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction.
Safe Trailer Towing Guidelines