By Dave Helgeson
Travel trailer owners have debated on where to attach the breakaway cable to the tow vehicle as long as they have debated on tow vehicles themselves. For starters, most everyone agrees that it should not be attached to any part of the hitch head itself. If the hitch head were to fail it would most likely stay coupled to the trailer, failing to activate the breakaway switch.
The second “no-no” is to weave the breakaway cable through one of the safety chains to keep it from dragging on the road. While this keeps things nice and tidy, the extra friction of the cable being woven through the safety chain may prevent the cable from pulling the pin from the breakaway switch in an emergency.
Finally, never use the same safety chain attachment item (S-hook, rapid link, etc.) to attach both your breakaway cable and safety chain to your tow vehicle. If the attachment item were to fail, you lose two safety backups (the chain and breakaway) at once.
My suggestion is to attach the breakaway cable to the working end of the hitch pin. Here’s why:
1) For those of us in the over-50 crowd that are easily distracted, it forces us to check that we remembered to install the hitch pin every time we hitch up.
2) By attaching your breakaway cable to your hitch pin you can rest assured that no troublemakers have pulled the pin in hopes of viewing the resulting carnage.
Another helpful hint while we are on the subject of pins: Do your equalizing bars utilize pins to keep the bars attached to the hitch head? If so, when you are not towing, clip the pins to the snap-up brackets on the travel trailer rather than putting them back in the hitch head. Without the tension of the bars in place, the pins can bounce out of the hitch head while traveling and become lost. By leaving them attached to the trailer they will be right where you left them when you go to hitch up the next time.