Towing a trailer can be an easy and safe task as long as you know what you’re doing and have the right equipment. Below are three key points you need to consider if you're new to towing.
The Right Equipment Capacity
There is a maximum weight capacity of towing components of all sorts and the value is displayed on the respective piece of equipment. All components must be graded at a higher capacity than the maximum weight of the trailer that needs towing. Some parts might even have multiple capacities. Overall, the gross trailer weight (GTW) must be less than the total weight capacity of each single component. If not, the towing system will only be as strong as the weakest piece.
The ease with which you can tow a trailer is dependent on how you load it. While loading a trailer, attention should be paid to the fact that the tongue weight should not be more than 10-15 percent of the overall weight of the trailer. Having less weight on the trailer tongue might cause sway which can prove very hazardous. To prevent a dangerous accident potentially caused by trailer sway, heavier cargo should be placed forward, right in front of the axle of the trailer and the lighter cargo towards the back. The cargo should be centered and tie-downs should be used to prevent any sliding of the load once on the move.
Trailer sway is something that needs to be paid special attention to. If not taken care of, it can also lead to a loss of control of the vehicle. When you start out with a newly loaded trailer, gradually increase your speed in short intervals until you reach highway speed. If you notice the trailer beginning to sway, stop, adjust the cargo and then continue. Also, pay attention to the proper inflation of your trailer’s tires. Poor inflation can also cause loss of vehicle control leading to fatal incidents.
Driving a loaded tow vehicle
When adding a trailer, it needs to be kept in mind that there is added length and weight to your tow vehicle. With the extra weight, your rig will gain speed at a slower rate and take more time to stop. Always allow for additional time when switching between lanes, stopping, and over-taking other vehicles when you're driving a tow vehicle with a trailer. Trailer brakes are an accessory that can improve your rig's power to stop the vehicle. The length added by a trailer to the vehicle can also cause trouble while turning because the path vehicle is on is not exactly followed by the trailer. Thus, you must turn out wider when driving around corners.
On the other hand, if you're looking to use fuel efficiently, travel at restrained speeds while towing. Faster speeds can increase resistance to the wind which can in turn reduce gas mileage placing added pressure on the tow-system. Vehicle gas mileage can also be improved if you shift out of overdrive and change the gear into a lower gear when going over long or steep hills or on gravel roads. Moreover, it is important to be careful about potholes and large bumps as they can cause damage to the whole system. When towing a trailer, be extra careful and take you time.
Hope this was able to help you with your first towing experience. Have a safe and happy towing trip!
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