As the weather gets warmer, the call to hit the open road gets stronger and harder to resist. Before you hitch up your trailer and make your getaway, it’s a good idea to brush up on some safety reminders first. Here are four things to keep in mind regarding how to tow safely.
Towing Capacity Limits
Before you head out on the open road, double-check the towing capacity for your vehicle to make sure it can handle the weight. If you exceed the maximum capacity, it can severely damage your electronic brake controllers, drivetrain, and engine. Also, make sure that your trailer hitch can properly handle the loaded weight of your trailer. The hitch should contain a label with the amount of weight it’s able to support. You can also check the recommendations in your owner’s manual.
Proper Trailer Packing
It’s crucial that your cargo is properly positioned inside the trailer. Roughly 60% of the load should be placed in the front half of your trailer. You should also load the trailer so that between 12% to 15% of the loaded trailer’s total weight is resting on the hitch. Be sure that the weight is evenly distributed on both the left and right sides of the loaded trailer. Secure the cargo to prevent it from shifting.
Another thing to consider when ensuring you can tow safely is the proper inflation of your tires. Tires that aren’t inflated properly can cause issues with handling and controlling trailer sway. You’ll also cause the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. Check the pressure label located in the driver’s side door jamb for the proper inflation amounts for the tow vehicle. Also, double-check the speed rating for the tires on both your vehicle and trailer and make sure not to exceed the limits.
Trailer Brake System
If you have a heavier trailer with a trailer brake system, make sure that the emergency breakaway cable is properly connected to your tow vehicle. If for some reason that your trailer should break away from the hitch, this cable will trigger the trailer brake controller and bring it to a complete halt. This can prevent it from slamming into your tow vehicle or causing an accident with other drivers on the road.
It’s important to know how to tow safely so that you can fully enjoy your time while out on the open road. By checking these four things before you leave, you can keep yourself and others safe while heading to your desired destination. You’ll feel at ease and truly enjoy your trip taking in all that summer has to offer.