No Matter what you are hauling, boats, travel trailers, or even horses, there are common towing mistakes you need to avoid. Not only will you enjoy your trip a lot more but so will other motorists traveling around you.
1. Not knowing your ratings
Know the maximum weight of your tow vehicle. A tow vehicle or the vehicle you are towing with can only carry and haul a certain amount of weight. Overloading your tow vehicle, trailer, or both can cause a great amount of problems. Some of the problems can be blown-out tires, broken suspension, brakes failing, or you transmission overheating. Some of these can be very dangerous and none of these make happy travelers.
Always remember to check your tow ratings for your tow vehicle before you tow anything. Also make sure you have the correct hitch system for your vehicle's towing specifics. Make sure all numbers are checked and complied with. You can find your vehicle’s towing specifics either in your owner's manual or the sill of your drivers side door. You can find your trailers base weight and weight ratings on your VIN plate.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
Maximum weight for your vehicle. This includes the vehicle, cargo, all accessories, and passengers.
Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)
The combined weight limit of your tow vehicle, loaded trailer, fuel, equipment, passengers, and anything else you are hauling.
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
The maximum weight an axle can safely hold. It is very important to know the GAWR for your tow vehicle and trailer.
Total weight your vehicle can pull.
The trailer's weight that is held by the trailer hitch. The tongue weight should ideally be 10% of the total trailer weight. If the tongue weight is too high your vehicle's steering will be less responsive. If the tongue weight is too little your trailer could sway. You can measure tongue weight with a specialized scale. You can purchase this scale at a trailer supply shop. You can also take your loaded vehicle to a weigh station or truck stop close by if you are having trouble estimating the combined weight of your trailer with the cargo.
2. Not checking the local regulations
Towing laws and restrictions differ from state to state. Some states require special breaking equipment and/or more side and rear view mirrors.
State regulation and laws also differ on things such as maximum towing speeds, the number of vehicles you can tow, or the width of your trailer. Always check your route and know the laws for all states you are traveling through.
3. Forgetting to put on the brakes ( and the wires)
Because of the extra weight on your trailer it takes longer to stop. Because of this most states require the trailer to be equipped with a seperate braking system when the trailer is over 1,500 pounds. When a trailer has a separate braking system it improves control and will stop the trailer if it gets separated from the tow vehicle. There are 2 types of trailer brakes. Electric that are attached to a controller in the tow vehicle and surge which are independent hydraulic brakes activated by momentum. Check your local laws because not all states allow surge brakes.
Federal law requires all trailers to be equipped with reflectors, turn signals, tail lights, and brake lights. All of these are powered by connecting to your tow vehicles electrical system. When connecting the wires make sure they are tight enough not to drag on the road and loose enough not to disconnect when you turn.
4. Loading your cargo improperly
Your trailer will be difficult to control if it is off balance. 60% of your total weight should be in front of the axle (not too far forward). Make sure to secure your cargo so it doesn't shift. Make sure to keep the overall center of gravity low.
5. Forgetting you’re towing a trailer
Always remember your tow vehicle will be less responsive while towing a trailer. You will want to make sure you give yourself extra time and space to slow down or change lanes. Also remember you want to be able to brake, turn, or accelerate as fast as usual. Maybe do a few short practice drives before leaving on your trip.
6. Not checking tire pressure
When you haven’t taken your trailer out in a while it probably needs air in the tires. Underinflated tires with a fully loaded trailer is very dangerous. Tire blowouts and rollovers can be caused by underinflated tires. Before you take your trip make sure to check your tire pressure on your tow vehicle and trailer. You also want to check your tires for wear and tear.
Check Your Coverage Capacity
Always make sure you have adequate insurance. You can get basic liability coverage through your auto insurance policy. You can also get travel trailer insurance which offers a much broader coverage. The coverage can include total loss recovery, funds for lodging if your trailer is damaged, personal effects replacement, and/or a full timers package.
Towing a vehicle isn’t as simple as some people might think. But, it is actually a complex process and shouldn’t be attempted by an untrained amateur. The first step to towing a vehicle correctly and safely is making sure that the safest towing method is used for the situation and type of vehicle that is needing to be towed. Below are the main types of towing that towing companies utilize to tow a vehicle safely.
Flatbed towing is the most common type of towing for most towing companies.It;s veristle enough to be able to tow cars, motorcycles, SUVs and other types of medium duty vehicles. A flatbed towing truck has a long flat bed that is lowered and raised by hydraulics. A vehicle can be driven up onto the bed or can easily be winched up the bed. Flatbed Tow trucks are often the Towing type of choice because it is veristale enough for a wide range of vehicle types without causing additional damage to the vehicle.
Hook & Chain Towing
Hook & chain towing was the most common type of Tow truck years ago. But because it puts a lot of pressure on the vehicle that is being towed it is mainly used for towing junk cars. Also, hook and chain towing cannot be used with 4x4 vehicles because it can damage the drive-train.
Wheel Lift Towing
Wheel lift towing uses a tow truck with a hydraulic boom and a cross bar at the end. The bar is slipped under the wheels in the front or the rear of the vehicle, depending on the cars transmission, and lifts two of the wheels off the ground so that it can be towed. This system is used with smaller vehicles that are lighter and are 2 wheel drive. This setup is useful in tight spaces where a flatbed truck would have a harder time loading the vehicle.
Towing with a Dolly
A towing Dolly is attached to the back of a truck and can be used fro light and medium duty vehicles. It is important that the driver of the truck with the dolly is familiar with towing trailers wheel towing with a dolly. The vehicle is carried in the dolly with 2 of the wheels a few inches off the ground.
For your towing needs in and around Evansville, Indiana call Embry’s Towing at (930) 201-8645