Can I Tow A Trailer With My Tailgate Down?

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

A tailgate is generally known as a hinged flap at the rear of a truck, which can either be lowered or removed completely when loading the truck. It opens downwards mainly. Now, let us answer a question that has been asked repeatedly. Which is, can I tow a trailer with my tailgate down?

Yes, it is quite possible to tow a trailer with the tailgate down, as long as you have the right drawbar set up. Otherwise, you will find it very difficult or even impossible in some cases.

What’s is a tailgate?

A tailgate is defined as a door at the back of a truck or a car, that is hinged commonly at the bottom and which opens downwards too.

Ate there other ways to tow a trailer without the tailgate down?

Another way you can tow a trailer is by keeping the tailgate up or closed. People usually do this when they do not have the correct drawbar to tow the trailer while it is opened.

You can also tow a trailer by using a hitch ball size of 1-7/8 and about 2 inches with a U-Haul trailer coupler. The U-Haul coupler is an anti swaying device that effectively stabilizes the trailer when towing across any kind of terrain.

Can a trailer be towed without a  tailgate?

Of course, it is possible to tow a trailer without a tailgate completely, as long as you are able to ascertain that some conditions have been put in place before towing.

In order to tow a trailer with or without a tailgate, check to confirm that your vehicle’s lights are all operating as they should before you also check the lights of the trailer too.

Making sure that all your lights( headlights, high beams,  turn signals, brake, and turning lights) are working perfectly will assist you to keep both yourself and the vehicle safe, even when there is no tailgate on the vehicle at all.

Read Also: Can I tow a trailer without a brake controller?

How should a trailer sit when towing?

It is very advisable that when towing, your trailer should sit level. To ensure this, use a level on the trailer’s frame if it is hooked to your vehicle. Should your trailer not be level, use any appropriate drop or rise hitch to make the trailer level so as to guard against swaying while towing, which will also prevent any premature tire wear.

Should a trailer be perfectly level when towing?

Yes, it should. In fact, where it is not, you are even highly advised to use a drop or rise hitch to make it level. Alternatively, you can use a level fastened to the frame of the trailer,  if your vehicle is the one used in towing the trailer. In the likely event that you cannot get the trailer to perfectly level, the next most preferable option is to have the nose of the trailer down a little.

Do trailers away when towing?

No, they shouldn’t sway when towing at all. In fact, the best condition for towing a trailer is said to be when it does not sway at all, except perhaps in heavy winds. However, the most likely cause for your trailer swaying is an insufficient hitch or tongue weight.

Do you need a hitch extended to tow with the tailgate down?

No, you do not need to get it extended before you tow. The maximum acceptable hitch ball height for all trailers is about 25 inches from the ground and measured to exactly the centre of the hitch ball,  which hardly if at all,  matters when towing. What you really need before you can tow safely with tailgate down is the correct drawbar set-up.

Read Also: Can a Subaru outback tow a tab trailer?

Do you need tailgate clearance when towing a trailer?

Yes, you actually do. Generally, you may want to have at least 6 inches of clearance between the top ten of the bed rails or even the tailgate at the bottom of the trailer loft. This provision will provide you with about enough room to prevent the trailer from contacting both the tails and the tailgate too, which in the extreme can cause damage to them both. In the event that you are having some clearance issues, find out whether you can adjust the height of your existing fifth wheel hitch. Most pin boxes can also be adjusted vertically so that they can assist with this issue.

FAQ

Does a hitch extended reduce towing capacity?

Yes, it does significantly. It is known that the use of a hitch extender will obviously reduce the tongue weight of the trailer hitch by almost 50 per cent. In that case, if the trailer hitch is rated for 1 000 pounds tongue weight, it is possible for it to reduced to just 500 pounds tongue weight capacity when a hitch extender is used.

Can you increase the tow ball weight?

Actually, whether you can do this or not, depends on the model of the vehicle and also the tow bar which you are using. Though whatever the case, you cannot exceed the maximum tow ball weight. If you wish to know how to increase the tow ball weight capacity, you may have to check with the manufacturers, to find out if it can actually be done with a different tow bar.

Will a supercharger help with towing?

The simplest answer is, no it will not. This is basically because a trailer’s electric brakes do not work without a brake controller. If it happens your trailer is provided with electric brakes, you will definitely need a brake controller before you can tow.

There are hydraulic braking systems that use the trailer’s own weight and also its momentum to actuate its brakes. Though some people opined that at Kennedy’s, superchargers make it possible to tow a heavy trailer or any loaded vehicle.

In most cases, adding a supercharger makes the buying of an entirely new tow vehicle unnecessary. Under such circumstances, a supercharger is viewed as a wise investment and may even constitute the most economical means of towing that trailer or race car.

Read Also: Can a Honda Crv tow a U-haul trailer?

How much does it cost to install a brake controller?

Considering everything that may be required in the process, installing a brake controller will cost between 60 and 340 dollars for the brake controller itself, and another 300 dollars for labour on the most difficult installations. You should however be mindful of the fact that this cost varies from one vehicle model to another, and also on the type of brake controller they use too, as well as the wiring in the vehicle.

How many bolts should trailer brakes have?

In order to check the voltage so that a low battery will not affect the readings, the engine of the towing vehicle should be running when checking. Every voltage in the system should start at around zero volts and, while the controller bar is gradually actuated, it should be slowly increased to about 12 volts.

How do I know if my brake controller is bad?

To do this, you need a circuit tester, so that you can check the red wire that leaves through the rear of the controller. This wire should only become hot when the brake pedal is pressed. If this checks out fine, then the controller is definitely faulty and hence should be replaced.

How do you reset a trailer brake controller?

In order to reset the Pilot brake controller part #80550, all that you are needed to do is to unplug the connector behind it for just s few minutes only. If you do this, it will return the brake controller back to the factory preset status.

How heavy can you tow without brakes?

If you happen to be towing a trailer that weighs between 750 and 2000 kg GTM, you must make sure that you always have trailer brakes according to the dictates of the law. Failing to do this is a gross traffic offence that attracts severe punishments.

Do you need a brake controller?

It is mandated that you have a trailer brake controller whenever you are towing a trailer that has either electric or hydraulic brakes. Additionally, in many states in the US, an adjustable trailer brake controller is needed when trailers have weights exceeding 3000 pounds when fully loaded.

What happens if you tow without a brake controller?

This obviously means that you will not have any brake assist from the trailer. This implies that the towing vehicle will be the only brakes working. A situation like this can be very dangerous if the trailer is heavily loaded, for instance, since it can push the towing vehicle and possibly cause what is called a jackknife.

Do you need a brake controller to pull a trailer?

Of course, you do, particularly if your trailer has electronic brakes and a breakaway kit too. Whenever you are towing a trailer, it is always important to have the correct brake controller to ensure that your trailer brakes are always working. Therefore, if you have a trailer with electronic brakes, you need a brake controller for sure.

Can you tow a trailer without brakes?

The answer is an emphatic no. Electric trailer brakes do not ever work without a brake controller. If your trailer happens to be provided with electric brakes, you definitely need a brake controller for you to tow. These are hydraulic brake systems that use the weight of the trailer and its momentum to actuate the brakes.

Does a weight-distribution hitch reduce tow ball weight?

It is equally called a weight distributing hitch.  It mainly levered up the rear of the tow vehicle, and also levered down the front of the vehicle being towed, which will basically lessen some of the tow ball weight on the tow vehicle’s rear tires,  in order to restore that on its front tires.

What is the best weight distribution hitch with sway control?

In this category, there are many. However, we shall restrict ourselves to some of the best that enjoy great customer reviews and sell very well too. They are:

  1. Editor’s Pick: Andersen Hitches No Sway Weight Distribution Hitch.
  2. EAZ LIFT 1 000 lbs Elite Bent Bar Weight Distributing Hitch.
  3. Equal-i-zer-4-point Away Control Hitch.
  4. Husky Rounds Bar Weight Distribution Hitch with Bolt-Together Ball Mount/ Shank Assembly.
  5. Pro Series Complete Weight Distribution Kit.

How do I prevent my trailer from swaying?

In order to keep your trailer from swaying, undertake the following steps diligently:

  1. Use only the manufacturer’s recommended gear whenever you are towing.
  2. Please slow down. Moderate driving speeds produce less strain on your vehicle and trailer too, which conversely also reduces the chance of the trailer swaying.
  3. Always make sure that you don’t make any sudden steering manoeuvres.
  4. Be certain to regularly check up on your tire pressure as well.

Can too much weight cause a trailer to sway?

This is alternatively called Excessive Tongue Weight. If the trailer is very heavy, it may cause the tow vehicle to squat and that will lead its rear to squirm, which is quite capable of making it sway. To avoid this squatting issue, the tongue weight of the trailer should not be more than about 15 per cent of its total weight.

What is the proper trailer hitch height?

The maximum recommended hitch ball height for most trailers stands at about 25 inches from the ground when measured to approximately the centre of the hitch ball.

Can I Tow A Trailer With My Tailgate Down – Conclusion

We have discussed driving with the tailgate either closed or down, and also when or how each can be used when towing a vehicle.

To tow, a vehicle is not really the same as ordinary driving, and what really differentiates them are the rules to obey when towing.

For instance, you don’t exceed a certain speed limit when towing or else you risk swaying and crashing both vehicles. Furthermore, you should avoid towing any vehicle behind you that is above the towing capacity of your truck or else you risk damaging your transmission system or even the chassis of the vehicle too.

Leave a Comment