JTI Inc. Cleveland

Trailers, Hitches, & Maintenance

Is Coffee a Safety tool?

Coffee, Then 15 Point Inspection: EVERYDAY!


coffee man

Trailer Safety Requirements:

 15 Point Inspection 

Check these things each day after you have your first cup of coffee. You have to be serious, alert, and aware of the safety of your trailer each day before it hits the road.

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Body: check that there are no loose, torn, or sharp edges anywhere on the trailer. All doors have to properly latch and close. Ramps must be properly secured.

Brakes: Any trailer with a 3,000 lb. GVWR must be equipped with a braking system on all wheels. Various types of breaks are required for various GVWR, and they should be checked with your local mechanic for proper installation.

Plates: Each trailer must have an illuminated, visible, horizontally placed licence plate; it should be visible when there is a load in the trailer as well as when the trailer’s empty.

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Fenders: Fenders are required on all trailers where the rear body portion does not afford adequate protection to effectively minimize the spray or splash of water or dirt. All fenders must cover entire tread width of each tire. The determinant of the effectiveness of the body to act as a fender and/or mud flap is whether the height of the rearmost portion is one-third of or less than the distance from the center of the rearmost axle

Frame: The frame shall be capable of supporting intended load without excessive flexing. Fish plates or other suitable reinforcement will be required at points of stress. All welding shall be of industry standard quality and type. Frame shall be approximately parallel with the ground.

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Hitch: Every trailer hitch or coupling used as a means of attaching a trailer to the towing vehicle shall be properly and securely mounted and structurally adequate for the weight drawn.

Markings on balls and commercially available hitches will be used to determine compliance with this requirement. If no manufacturer’s weight markings are present on the ball or hitch, the following SAE ratings will be used to establish the maximum weight in lbs.:
  • 1 and 7/8-inch Ball – 2,000 lbs.
  • 2-inch Ball with 3/4-inch bolt – 3,500 lbs.

  • 2-inch Ball with 1-inch bolt – 5,000 lbs.

  • 2-inch Ball with 1-3/8-inch bolt – 10,000 lbs.

  • 2 and 5/16-inch Ball with 1-inch bolt – 5,000 lbs.

  • 2 and 5/16-inch Ball with 1-1/4-inch bolt – 7,500 lbs.

Class 1 Hitch – 2,000 lbs. Class 2 Hitch – 3,500 lbs.
Class 3 Hitch – 5,000 lbs. Class 4 Hitch – 10,000 lbs.

*Note: Manufacturers can rate hitches higher than as indicated.

Identification Lamps: Trailers eighty inches (80″) or more in overall width shall be equipped on the rear with three (3) red identification lamps mounted in the center. The centers of each of the three lights must be spaced not less than 6″ nor more than 12″ from each other.

Reflectors: All must be mounted at a height between 15″ and 60″. If no permanent structure exists to allow installation at the indicated height, the height shall be as close as feasible to the indicated heights.

Trailers Less than 80 Inches Wide

Homemade Trailers: Shall display 2 red reflectors at the rear mounted as far apart as practicable.

Mirrors: Two outside mirrors are required on the towing vehicle to show the roadway to the side and rear of the towing vehicle/trailer combination. Mirrors shall be properly mounted and securely fastened to prevent excessive vibration.

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Safety Chain: Every tag-along or drawbar type trailer hitch or coupler used as a means of attaching a camp trailer to the tow vehicle shall also be coupled to the frame of the towing vehicle by means of safety chains or cables of sufficient strength and installed in such a manner to control the trailer in the event of failure of the regular trailer hitch or coupling. This means that the chains should be capable of being attached in a manner to keep the trailer coupler from dragging on the road in case of disconnect. Two safety chains or cables will be required unless the trailer tongue is specifically designed to be symmetrically supported by a single chain or cable. Fifth wheel trailers with any ball mount will require a safety chain or cable while fifth wheel plate and kingpin styles will be required to have a safety on or locking of the operating handle.

Suspension: Trailers (excluding tow dollies) over 1000 lbs. GVWR should have a suspension rather than attaching the axle directly to the frame. Lowest section of the sprung weight must not be less than 4″ off the ground. Axles must be appropriately sized for the weight to be carried.

Tires: Tires must have two-thirty-seconds inch (2/32″) center tread and no cuts, bulges, exposed cord, or deteriorating sidewall otherwise known as “dry rot”. Tire weight ratings must be adequate for the axle ratings.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): All trailers will be checked for a VIN which must be physically verified against supporting paperwork. Any trailer that does not have a VIN will need a VIN assigned in accordance with the DMV Policy for Reassigning Trailer VINs

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Wiring: All electrical wiring must be properly insulated, secured, and supported. Maximum distance between wiring supports is 18 inches. Wires chaffing on moving parts such as the suspension will be cause for rejection. Connections between towing vehicle and trailer must be made through a quick disconnect plug or connector.


We are happy to help anytime, whether you’re calling from anywhere in Ohio or from Alaska. Safety is our first priority and we prefer to make sure you are operating safely and confidently on the road. See you soon!


Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 11.28.53 AMAt JTI, safety is always top of mind.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more safety tips and news about clinics and workshops for landscapers, toy haulers, snowplow operators, and other Cleveland-area customer groups. www.JTIinc.com

Author: JTI Trailer & Hitch Experts

JTI is John's Trailers Inc., Cleveland's trailer experts since 1935. Our blog offers trailering tips, service, maintenance, and advice regarding trailers, hitches, and all related equipment (including snow plows).

2 thoughts on “Coffee, Then 15 Point Inspection: EVERYDAY!

  1. Pingback: New to Trailering? Start Right, Start Safe | JTI Inc. Cleveland

  2. Pingback: New to Trailering? Get a Safe Start | JTI Inc. Cleveland

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