Uncouple Recouple Exercise

This exercise is usually carried out at the end of the test.

Sequence using a vehicle and trailer fitted with a standard 50mm ball coupling.

Remember to use all round observation throughout the exercise. When you get out of the vehicle stop the engine and apply the towing vehicle’s handbrake.

Uncoupling the trailer:

  1. Apply the trailer hand brake – serious fault and failure if you do not.
  2. Disconnect lights and stow cable safely.
  3. Lower jockey wheel.
  4. Wind jockey wheel down to raise trailer drawbar while holding handle of coupling up to release from ball.
  5. Give the trailer a slight push backwards to show that the handbrake is secured – serious fault and failure if you do not.
  6. Disconnect breakaway cable.
  7. Drive the car forward and reverse alongside the trailer.

Coupling the trailer: (Re-couple as if it is a different trailer).

Before re-coupling the trailer, you must carry out the following safety checks. It is a serious

fault, and a failure if you don’t, or attach the vehicle to the trailer before doing so.

  1. Before reversing up to trailer, check trailer handbrake is on & working. (Is handle up? If you push the trailer does it move?)
  2. Check all doors, sides, etc. are secure.
  3. Check wheels and tyres. (Are the wheel nuts tight? Are the tyres inflated and in good condition?)
  4. Check all reflectors and light lenses are fitted and in good condition and correct number plate is fitted.
  5. Reverse the car towards the trailer with the ball of the car in line with the trailer coupling. Do not hit the trailer, it is a serious fault and a failure if you do.
  6. Stop short of the trailer and check the height of the trailer coupling is above the ball of the towing vehicle. You can get out several times to check the positioning of the tow hitch relevant to the trailer and you can pull the trailer forward to meet up with the towing vehicle.
  7. Position the ball under the coupling.
  8. Connect breakaway cable to a fixed part of the towing vehicle. (Avoid just looping it over the ball).
  9. Wind jockey wheel down to lower trailer drawbar while holding handle of coupling up to allow it to attach to the ball.
  10. Check the coupling is correctly engaged by winding the jockey wheel down to raise the trailer drawbar and rear of towing vehicle. (If only the trailer lifts, the coupling has not engaged correctly)
  11. Wind jockey wheel up, raise and secure.
  12. Connect lights.
  13. Release trailer handbrake.
  14. Check the lights are working - ask the examiner to check the lights while you operate the controls. (Check indicators individually - make sure the trailer is indicating the same way as the towing vehicle).