There are a lot of things to do before setting off on the road towing a trailer: Check the lights, tires, load weight among other safety precautions.
- Stay within your limits.
Make sure you review and are aware of the towing capacity of your truck to ensure it is within the boundaries of the towing capacity. Exceeding the maximum towing capacity can result in a dangerous situation. You risk damage to the trucks suspension, engine, drivetrain, and insufficient breaking performance are just a few of the repercussions you could experience. On top of verifying your trucks towing capacity, you should also make sure your trailer hitch is capable of handling the weight of your trailer and properly attached. Follow the owner manual’s recommendations depending on the weight of your trailer.
- Properly pack your trailer.
It is important to make sure any cargo is positioned properly. It is ideal to have 60% of the load packed in the front half of the trailer and loaded in a way witch results in a tongue weight that is between 10-15% of the total weight of the loaded trailer. Even distribution of weight of on the right and left sides is crucial. Once you have the trailer distributed, all cargo should be secured to prevent shifting of the load.
- Check your lights.
Large trailers may obscure the tail lights on your tow vehicle. Other drivers might not be able to see you, if the lights are not fully illuminated. Accidents can result if the tail lights are not functional or are not properly connected. There are a few ways you can check your trailer lights. You can have a partner stand behind the vehicle to check the lights as you flash them on and off or use a multimeter.
- Check your tires.
Often times people forget to check their trailer tires. You should always check both your truck and trailer tires. Unproperly inflated tires can negatively affect handling and create more rolling resistance, which forces the engine to work harder and consume more fuel. It can also increase tire temperatures which could result in a tire blow-out. You can refer to the tire pressure label on the doorjamb of the drivers’ side door for proper inflation pressure. You should also check the speed rating of the tires of both your truck and trailer and make sure you never exceed it.
- Check Your Brakes.
Lighter, smaller trailers may not require trailer brakes. Heavier trailers designed to haul heavier loads will usually have a break system. Regardless if your trailer has hydraulic surge breaks or electric breaks, make sure the emergency breakaway cable is attached properly to your tow vehicle. If your trailer disconnects from the hitch, this cable will trigger the breaks on the trailer quickly stopping the vehicle.
- Adjust Your Mirrors.
Before you set off, adjust mirrors to create a clear view that extends to the end of the trailer. Our ¾ ton and 1 ton rental trucks are equipped with tow mirrors specifically designed to extend in order to increase the field of vision.
- Make wider turns at curves and corners.
When you are taking a corner or curve, your trailer’s wheels will end up closer to the inside of a turn than the vehicle’s wheels, which could result in trailer tires riding upon or hit a curb. It is crucial to take precautions and give a wider berth around corners.
- Allow for longer stopping distances.
Stopping distances will be increased from what you can normally achieve without a tow trailer, because of the additional weight. You will need to be attentive to vehicles suddenly stopping in front of you and begin to break sooner than if you weren’t towing.
Do’s & Don’ts of Towing
- Do’s – Good Towing Practice
- Gradually reduce speed
- Apply only the trailer brakes to help reduce trailer sway
- Steady the steering wheel – sudden turns can cause more sway
- Don’ts – NOT Good Towing Practice
- Do not attempt to steer out of a sway situation
- Do not increase speed – trailer sway increases at faster speeds
- Do not slam on the brakes – jackknifing could occur
- Do not tow a trailer that continues to sway
|Rear Receiver Hitch|
|Electric Brake Controller|
This type of receiver hitch attaches to the rear of a tow vehicle, providing a standard receiver tube for hooking up and pulling a trailer.
A trailer brake controller is a small electronic device that is installed in your tow truck's cab and signals your trailer brakes when you apply your truck brakes, and causes the trailer to stop along with your truck.
A tow mirror is mounted on your side mirror and instantly adds 5 to 7 1/2" to your mirror, opening up the view behind your vehicle and minimizing blind spots. Tow mirrors are fully adjustable; they not only make your side mirror larger, but they pivot and rotate to give you the best view you need to see around that extra-large load.
Exhaust brakes slow light duty, diesel-powered vehicles quickly by closing off the exhaust path from the engine, causing the gases to be compressed in the exhaust manifold, and in the cylinder. Additionally, they prevent the brakes from overheating on downhill grades. Using your exhaust brakes properly can help brakes last up to three times longer
Gooseneck hitches are anchored through the bed of a pickup truck, unlike regular hitches that extend from the back of the towing vehicle. Gooseneck hitches use a hitch ball to lock into place, while fifth wheel hitches use a wheel-shaped plate to connect. Generally, you can attach a heavier trailer, and tow more with a gooseneck ball hitch than with a fifth-wheel attachment.