Trailer Alignment/Coupler Aid
Trailer Alignment/Coupler Aid

Hooking You Up

Product Reviews

The time has finally arrived to get our boats dusted off and rigged up for the much anticipated open water season, because after the winter we just had – it couldn’t come soon enough.

 

 

If like me, you often head out for your favourite fishing hole before first light, hooking up your trailer by yourself, with little or no light, can be a real challenge.

I’ve tried all manner of commercially made trailer hook up/alignment aids, with little or no success, and have several crescent shaped indentations in my bumper, courtesy of the sharp edge on the coupler to prove it. 

My hook up routine usually consists of lining the vehicle up with the trailer as best I can, then backing up a little, getting out of the vehicle and checking the distance and alignment of the ball and coupler, back it up a bit more, and then keep on repeating these steps until everything is in position to drop the coupler onto the ball.

It is without a doubt a pain – and not in the neck either.

Poking around in the trailer section of a home improvement store, I happened across something called a hitch connect assist. Retailing for $20, the package contained 2 metal telescopic rods, each with magnets on one end, and a yellow ball, approximately 1½” in diameter on the other.

To set it up, you place one rod just behind the hitch ball, and the other on the end the coupler. Extend them so the balls are level with one another, and high enough that you can see them when looking out your rear window from behind the wheel. Then back your vehicle up until the 2 balls touch, and the coupler should then be aligned with, and just about directly over top of the hitch ball.

I literally had the package in my hand, but thought, why not save some money and make my own?

First thing I did was head over to a discount auto parts/hardware store and picked up a couple of magnetic, telescopic metal pick-ups for $3.99 each. Then it was off to the dollar store, where I bought a 2 pack of bright, yellow “squish” balls for $1.

To assemble it, I put a little crazy glue on the non-magnetic end of the telescopic rod, inserted it about 1” into the “squish” ball - and voila – I now had a very effective hitch connect assist for less than half the price of the commercial model.

Please note that the commercial model I am referring to extends to 42”, while mine only extends to 28”, and although this works perfectly with my mid-size SUV, particularly with the rear hatch open, depending on the type of vehicle you drive, in order to see the balls clearly, you may require something that extends a bit longer.

When extended to the full 28”, because of the small footprint of the magnet, the rod can get a bit wobbly. To solve this problem I inserted the rod into a 1 ¾” x 3/8” metal sleeve – in this case a .50 cent coupling nut.

So why not give it a try?

The worst case scenario if you find that it’s not right for you, is that while you may be initially out about $9, the magnets will probably come in handy some day, and you can always let the dog and/or kids play with the balls. 

BTW: I purchased the magnets at a place called Princess Auto, and when I was in the store the other day,  noticed that they now carry a telescopic magnet with a larger footprint than the ones pictured above, and while they cost a buck more, they are more stable when extended, meaning you won't need to buy a couple of metal sleeves for extra support - so price wise it's pretty much a wash.

Additional Info

Brand:
Home Made
Model:
N/A
Tackle Type:
Trailer Alignment/Coupler Aid
Performance:
10
Features:
10
Quality:
10
Price:
10
Overall rating:
Outstanding
Last modified onTuesday, 17 March 2015 16:23
(7 votes)
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