You are required to hold a special driver's licence when the weight of your trailer plus its load exceeds 4,600 kg (10,000 lb).
You may not be required to obtain this special driver's licence when operating common trailers such as:
- small farm
- small commercial
Before you tow a trailer for the first time, check with the dealer to determine the towing capacity of the towing vehicle, and what extra towing equipment you may need, such as heavy duty shocks and springs or a transmission cooler. Registration fees and premiums are based on the class and type of trailer and should be determined prior to towing.
Choosing the proper hitch
Ask a qualified hitch installer to recommend the best hitch for your trailer and have it installed by an expert. For all but the very lightest of trailers, attach the hitch to the frame of the towing vehicle rather than the bumper.
The hitch must be rated for the GVWR or the total weight of the trailer and its load, which ever is greater. If used to tow a trailer that weights more than 1,400 kg (3,000 lb), the hitch must be attached to the frame of the towing vehicle. A truck bed liner cannot be installed between the hitch and the towing vehicle. Truck box and hitch contact areas must be free of compressible material.
For loaded trailers over 1,590 kg (3,500 lb), use a load equalizing hitch. This device lessens the load on the rear axle of the towing vehicle by distributing some of the hitch weight back onto the towing vehicles front/steering axle and the trailer axle(s).
Gooseneck and 5th-wheel hitches allow better handling and should be used for larger trailers. When using a 5th-wheel or gooseneck hitch, or a ball hitch with a weight distribution attachment, the loaded trailer must not weigh more than twice the GVWR of the towing vehicle. When using a non-weight distribution ball hitch, the loaded trailer must not weigh more than the GVWR of the towing vehicle.
For ball-type hitches, the ball diameter should be:
|Weight of trailer and load||Ball diameter|
|up to 900 kg (2,000 lb)||47 mm (1 7/8 inches)|
|up to 2,270 kg (5,000 lb)||51.2 mm (2 inches)|
|up to 4,540 kg (10,000 lb)||58 mm (2 5/16 inches)|
When not in use, the trailer hitch shall not extend the bumper of the vehicle more than 225 mm or 9 inches.
Trailer dimensions and towing 2 trailers
The total length of a vehicle and trailers must not exceed 23 m (75 ft 5 inches) and the width of any unit must not exceed 2.6 m (8 ft 6 inches). The maximum length of a single trailer is 12.5 m (41 ft) and the maximum height allowed is 4.15 metres (13 ft 6 inches).
It is also important to know that towing two trailers increases instability in towing and in braking. To ensure that all vehicles are stable, the lead trailer must have at least 2 axles or be a 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer.
Note: Many jurisdictions prohibit towing more than 1 trailer. Check other jurisdictions' rules before you travel there.
Towing and brakes
Stopping distance is longer when towing a trailer. If your trailer is rated over 1,360 kg (3,000 lb) it must have brakes on at least 1 axle if manufactured before 1985, and brakes on all axles if manufactured during or after 1985.
A motorhome towing another vehicle must have operational brakes on the towed vehicle if the towed vehicle exceeds 40% of the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the motorhome, with the towed vehicle weight not to exceed 2,000 kg (4,409 lb). This rule also applies when using a tow dolly.
Tongue or surge brakes may be used on trailers with electric brakes if the trailer's GVWR is 2,800 kg (6,160 lb) or less, and on trailers with non-electric brakes if the trailer's GVWR is 3,700 kg (8,140 lb) or less. For heavier loads, all trailer brakes must be controlled by the brake pedal of the towing vehicle.
All components included in the electric brake system, including the brake system controller, must be rated for the trailer GVWR.
Note: Some jurisdictions require brakes on trailers with a lower GVWR or on all trailers regardless of weight. Check other jurisdictions' brake requirements before you travel there.
If you're thinking of building your own trailer, do not use mobile home or single-use axles. These axles don't meet any standards and are not load rated by manufacturer. The brakes are electric and are designed to be used only a few times or for approximately 1,600 km or service.
Axle width is equally important. Do not take an axle that is wider than needed, cut a section out and re-weld the axle together. Use of a re-welded axle can be dangerous. Even more dangerous is the practice of adding a section to the axle to widen it. Always select axles of proper width for the trailer design.