Towing a Snowmobile Trailer
When transporting your snowmobile by trailer, it is best to use one that is specifically designed for hauling snowmobiles.
There are 2 snowmobile capacity tilt-bed trailers, 2, 4 or higher capacity flat bed open trailers, and 2, 4, or higher capacity enclosed trailers. The tilt-bed trailers may be equipped with a winch system to assist with the loading of your snowmobile. Open flat bed trailers will come equipped with folding or self-storing ramps that allow snowmobiles to be driven on the trailer from the rear for loading, and off the trailer in the front for unloading. Enclosed trailers will typically have doors in the front and rear that fold down to serve as loading and unloading ramps.
Be sure you have all the proper equipment to attach the trailer to your vehicle, including safety chains, the proper size hitch ball, and the proper electrical connections to ensure you have lights that are in working condition. Check the weight limit of your trailer, the amount of required tire pressure, and your vehicle's towing capacity before you start.
BEFORE loading the snowmobile, always double check to ensure that the trailer is properly secured to your vehicle's hitch. This will prevent the trailer from popping off the hitch when the snowmobile is driven onto the trailer bed, particularly with 2-place trailers.
Use ratcheting tie-down straps to secure your snowmobile; and avoid using rope or rubber bungie cords since they can easily fray or break. After securing the snowmobile, check to be certain the trailer's brakes (if the trailer is equipped with brakes), turn indicator, and clearance lights all work properly. After the re-check, always cover your snowmobile, if on an open trailer, to protect it while towing.
Tilt Bed Trailers
Have someone assist you when loading a 2-capacity tilt-bed trailer to ensure the bed stays tilted up for the loading operation. To load the snowmobile onto the trailer, drive the machine at a slow speed about halfway up the tilted bed. Then have the assistant pull forward on the front of the skis while also pushing down on the trailer bed. If the trailer is equipped with a winch, fasten it to the snowmobile and use it to winch the snowmobile forward. If the trailer does not have a winch, you may need to get off your snowmobile and help your assistant pull the snowmobile toward the front of the trailer.
Once the snowmobile is pulled forward, secure the tilt bed down with fastening pins, set the brake on the snowmobile, and then use the trailer's tie-downs to secure the snowmobile to the trailer. The tilt bed trailer will either come equipped with a rod or a bar to secure the snowmobile to the trailer. A rod will go across the skis and is held in place at the outside end by a snap pin. A bar will go across the skis and be screwed into the trailer's deck at a preset receptacle at the center of the snowmobile trailer bed. Also secure the rear of the snowmobile with a ratchet-type tie down strap.
If there is a second snowmobile to load onto the tilt-bed trailer, remove the tilt pin, tilt the trailer bed back down, repeat the loading process and then re-secure the tilt pin. If there are two drivers and at least one other person to assist, two snowmobiles may sometimes be loaded simultaneously.
Always use extreme caution when loading onto a tilt-bed trailer. Many accidents have resulted from driving too fast onto the trailer bed, which can cause the snowmobile to go up and over the trailer and into the back of the tow vehicle.
After loading and securing the snowmobile, make sure the trailer bed is tightly latched. Check your load often to ensure the snowmobiles remain securely fastened on the trailer. About 60 percent of the weight should be forward of the trailer axle, which places more weight on the 'tongue' of the trailer.
When unloading a tilt-bed trailer, remove the tie-downs, release the snowmobile's brake, and ease the machine backwards off the trailer. If the snowmobile has a reverse, start the machine and very slowly back the snowmobile off the trailer. If not, use care to not strain your back while pulling the machine backwards until it is off the trailer bed.
Flat Bed Trailers
When loading a flat-bed trailer, remove the self-storing ramp and place it securely in the groove or channel on the side for which you will load the snowmobile. If the trailer has fold down ramps, remove the security pin and fold the ramp down so it is in place for loading. Double check the ramp to be sure it is secure, drive the snowmobile at a moderate speed up the ramp, letting off the throttle as the skis reach the trailer bed at the top of the ramp. Slowly drive the snowmobile forward until it is over the location where it will be secured and set the brake.
The flat-bed trailer will come equipped with either a rod or a bar to secure the snowmobile to the trailer. A rod will go across the skis and is held in place at the outside end by a snap pin. A bar will go across the skis and be screwed into the trailer's deck at a preset receptacle at the center of the snowmobile trailer bed. Also secure the rear of the snowmobile with a ratchet-type tie-down strap.
Move the self-storing ramp to the other side of the trailer and repeat the loading process if there is more than one snowmobile. When you have finished loading the snowmobiles, replace the self-storing or fold up ramps and secure with the safety pin(s).
When unloading a flat-bed trailer, be certain the tow vehicle is turned at an angle away from the ramp to allow room for the ramp and snowmobile to exit safely. Place the self-storing ramp at the front of the trailer, or fold down the folding ramp. Remove the tie-downs, release the snowmobile's brake, and drive the machine slowly off the trailer and down the ramp, using caution to stay clear of the tow vehicle. Replace the ramp, secure it, and store all tie-downs in a safe place.
Enclosed Flat Bed Trailers
When loading an enclosed trailer, fold down the rear door, which will serve as the full-width ramp, and follow the same process as for loading a flat-bed trailer. Once the snowmobile is in place, set the brake and then secure it with tie-downs. Some trailers have a tie-down bar that is placed across the skis and screwed in by the fastening bolt into the receptacle in the trailer's floor. Other models have D-rings in the trailer floor to which ratcheting tie-down straps are fastened to secure the snowmobile down in the front and rear. When you have finished loading the enclosed trailer, fold the door up and secure.
When unloading an enclosed trailer, be certain the tow vehicle is turned at an angle away from the front door to allow ample room for the ramp. Fold down the front door, remove the tie-downs, release the snowmobile's brake, and drive the machine slowly out of the trailer and down the ramp, using caution to stay clear of the tow vehicle. When finished, fold the door up and secure. Store all tie-downs in the enclosed trailer.