Trailer Uncoupling and Re-coupling

This exercise is carried out within the test centres off road facilities. You will be asked to stop where there is safe and level ground. Then you will uncouple the trailer from the towing vehicle and park alongside the trailer, then move the vehicle and recouple the trailer.

When Uncoupling you should:

  1. Apply Handbrake
  2. Lower Jockey wheel
  3. Disconnect Electric cable and stow away
  4. Wind up Jockey wheel taking the trailer off the towing vehicle
  5. Check Handbrake
  6. Remove breakaway cable and stow away

You will then be asked to Re-couple the trailer as if the trailer is ‘new and unfamiliar’ to you.

When Re-coupling you should:

  1. Reverse car back towards the trailer. Check the handbrake of the trailer
  2. Attach breakaway cable of the trailer to the towing vehicle.
  3. Take off the trailer handbrake and move towards towing vehicle.
  4. Apply handbrake.
  5. Lower the trailer Jockey Wheel and attach the trailer to the towing vehicle
  6. Wind the Jockey wheel back up to check the trailers has been attached.
  7. Stow away the Jockey wheel
  8. Connect electrics
  9. Take off the handbrake
  10. Check the trailer lights.

You must not reverse straight back under the trailers hitch and re-couple as you don’t know if the hitch is the correct height.

You must not push the trailer backwards with the towing vehicle.


As the trailer is to be treated as ‘unfamiliar’ you will need to carry out safety checks around the trailer: Doors, wheels, mudguards, lenses, number plates etc.

To demonstrate the checks to the trailer, (safety checks). This should be as though you haven’t seen the trailer before. So therefore you would need to carry out a complete check of the trailer. The trailer should be checked for its overall structural integrity:

  • No sharp edges or lose parts.
  • Secure Jokey wheel and handbrake.
  • The light socket and brake away attached and stowed correctly both in good condition             (visually inspecting).
  • All the tyres need to be checked for their overall condition checking tread levels exceed the legal tread depth of 1.6mm over ¾ of the tyre depth over the whole circumference. Checking for any bulges or cracks.
  • Lights working and in good condition.
  • Check the load in the trailer is tied down and secure, closing the doors of the trailer making sure they are firmly closed.
  • Make sure both the trailer and towing vehicles number plates match.

Full light check to include brake lights, side lights, left and right indicators.

All of this will be covered and practised within your training course to enable you to carry out these procedures with confidence, showing your skill and demonstrating your safety awareness.