Do you have much experience when it comes to towing, or are you making some potentially dangerous assumptions before you set out on the road for the first time? What are some of the most popular misconceptions that you need to clear up if you're going to have a safe and enjoyable ride?
Weighing It All up
Firstly, you need to be aware of the limits of your towing vehicle, the trailer and the combination thereof. Manufacturers allocate specific limits based on the maximum weight that you can safely tow. They've come up with a variety of different acronyms which you need to understand, so that you can calculate what you can safely handle.
For example, at the top of the range you will have the "gross combination weight rating" which tells you the absolute maximum weight of both the vehicle and the trailer combined. You will also be given a gross weight rating that applies to each individual axle and independently to the total allowable weight of the trailer itself.
Don't Get Tongue Tied
Don't forget an important metric when figuring out all these different weights - the amount of weight that is applied to the tongue. This connects the trailer to the tow vehicle and is critical. It will be specifically rated for a vehicle/trailer combination and mustn't be exceeded.
If you do exceed these capacities at any time you risk loss of control due to stress of the rear suspension, failure of the towing hitch, or a blowout. You could find that your braking system doesn't work properly due to being overloaded, or you could find that the steering is not very responsive because the weight balance on the towing vehicle has been compromised.
Another big mistake that newcomers in this field make is to think that the trailer, being such a simple vehicle, does not need regular maintenance as such. You definitely need to pay attention to the bearings which need to be inspected and cleaned periodically, and repacked with grease from time to time. This is one of the leading causes of failure and breakdown. It's a good idea to upgrade your entire wheel assembly and suspension kit, if you're going to be handling reasonably sized loads on a regular basis.
You also need to assess your trailer if carrying larger loads, to determine whether you may need a hitch extension, or an upgraded system to tow safely to your combined vehicle capacity. Remember that you should never exceed those gross weight restrictions, but will often find that trailer hitches can be upgraded in order to match the available capacity.Share
30 November 2016
It's easy to get overlooked when you head into get your car serviced if you are a woman. I have found the trick to getting the auto repairers to take me seriously is to do some research beforehand and look at what the log book says they need to replace this service. I wish I had started doing it earlier because it's also helping me trouble shoot repair issues and I'm saving myself a lot of time and stress this way. I'm keeping track of everything I have learned on this blog so I can share it with other new drivers and help them understand their auto service requirements as well.