People experienced in towing can make it look so easy sometimes. It seems almost effortless as they pull a camper or boat and maneuver through turns and parking with apparent ease. However, this isn’t the case. Most of these drivers are not only very experienced in towing, but they’ve also taken steps to make sure their towing experience goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re new to driving with a tow hitch and trailer or you’ve done it countless times, here’s what you can do to ensure an easier tow.
- Know your towing capacity. Towing more weight than your vehicle can handle can cause a number of problems, including unnecessary strain on your brake system, tires, and engine.
- Distribute the weight properly. Keep the center of gravity low, and make sure the sides are balanced with an even weight distribution. If you’re hauling cargo, try loading heavier items first, then filling in with smaller items.
- Check your tires on both your vehicle and your trailer. Use a pressure gauge to ensure the tires are properly inflated, and give them a thorough visual inspection to check for defects such as cracks or bulging. Nothing can stop a trip faster than a blown tire, so do what you can to prevent this.
- Keep your speed in check. While it may be tempting to press on the accelerator and get to your destination faster, don’t do it. When you’re towing something, you’re not able to stop as quickly, and increased speed means increased risk. It can also result in your trailer swaying and make it more difficult to maneuver while driving.
- Make sure you’re using the right hitch. There are two main types of hitches: weight-carrying and weight-distributing. Weight-carrying hitches are for combined cargo/trailer weights less than 3,500 pounds, while weight-distributing hitches are designed for heavier loads. Using the wrong hitch can create an unsafe situation where your trailer can sag due to increased tongue weight.