First-Timer Guide to Towing a Trailer
First-Timer Guide to Towing a Trailer
At some point in your vehicle driving lifetime, you might need to tow a trailer. Many vehicles today, including pickup trucks and SUVs come with a tow hitch on the back of the car.
People tow all kinds of things on the back of their vehicles such as a dump trailer, enclosed trailers such as a camper, or even trailing a boat or jetski. Regardless of what you will need to tow in the future, it can be a daunting task at first.
That is why we here at DriveSmart have come up with the perfect first-timer guide to towing a trailer. If your vehicle is equipped with a tow-hitch, there is no reason to pay hundreds of dollars from a towing service or towing company to do it for you. You can tow it yourself as long as you have the car towing a trailer!
The Vehicle Tow Rating
Before you even attempt to tow anything, you will need to check what the weight capacity on the tow-hitch axle and vehicle will carry. Every vehicle has a different weight limit, so you want to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out what the unloaded vehicle weight would be, and what the max gross vehicle weight rating would be if you had people inside the vehicle along with whatever you are towing. Never exceed the manufacturer’s guidelines unless you want to end up on the side of the road, due to exceeding the weight of your vehicle limit.
Along with the vehicle tow rating, you want to make sure that you are not overloading the vehicle because that can severely damage the brakes of your car. This is also important to reduce the amount of sway that the trailer could potentially have on the road.
All First-Timer’s Should Bring a Friend
Even if you are towing a small trailer for a car, this could be especially challenging for a first-timer. Even simple things like parking, or backing up can be incredibly difficult with a trailer attached, which is why it is always recommended to bring a friend.
Backing up with a trailer requires patience, and having a friend assist you can play a key role in a successful towing experience and trip. If you have a more modern vehicle that comes equipped with a backup camera, that will make your towing experience even easier on the road.
Loading Up The Trailer
If you are using a dump trailer or a camping trailer, it is key to place the heaviest cargo towards the front. This helps to stop the trailer from swaying in the roadway. You also want to make sure that all the cargo is in the center of the trailer and tied down.
It’s important to have a smooth ride, and trailer swaying can be dangerous. Not only to you but to other drivers on the roadway. Before loading the trailer or taking off, it’s also essential that you double-check your vehicle’s tire pressure, along with the tire pressure of the trailer that you are towing.
If your tire pressure is low, it can make handling the vehicle and trailer much more difficult. It can even cause your tires to blow out, which could leave you stranded on the side of the road, needing roadside assistance.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Finally, once you take off in your vehicle, towing whatever trailer you are using. It is best to pay extra attention to the road. Towing a trailer can make braking much more difficult to come to a complete stop, so always pay attention and brake early.
If you are a first-timer going out to tow a trailer, you might want to also be prepared by having a DriveSmart auto warranty. If your vehicle malfunctions while pulling the trailer, DriveSmart’s 24/7 roadside assistance will come out and take your vehicle to the nearest repair shop. You pay a small deductible, and we pay the rest. We always want to keep you on the road, and driving safely.
Written By: Stephen Lubas