Precautions To Take When Towing A Trailer Across The Country

Posted on May 9, 2013

Many citizens are planning road trips this summer, and thus our nation’s highways will soon be filled with a variety of vehicles towing trailers behind them.  But drivers carrying such apparatus must be prepared to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their fellow travelers.  If you plan on hitching a trailer to your vehicle at any point this summer, then you might keep some precautions from a new report in mind.

Before you hook up a trailer, there are a few things you have to check up on.  Your vehicle must first be suited to the task at hand.  Consult the owner’s manual to figure out the towing capacity of your vehicle.  When determining if you’re going to be under the limit outlined, make sure you take into account not just the trailer but everything that’s going to be inside or on the trailer.

Certain components of your vehicle should receive added attention before you leave.  First will be the brakes, which will be taxed more than usual because of the added heft of the trailer.  You might thus want to invest in new brakes prior to your trip.

Tire maintenance goes hand in hand with brake maintenance.  Tires should have adequate tread so as to grip the road properly.  You should also look to the owner’s manual to figure out if you might benefit from putting more air pressure in than you otherwise would, as this could help with towing capability.

From there, make sure air and fuel filters and your vehicle’s cooling system are up to snuff.  Again, trailers will put stress on your vehicle that it’s otherwise not accustomed to, and it’s that much more important to check up on these components.

Now you’re ready to hook up the trailer.  Make sure the hitch is correct for both your vehicle and the trailer being towed.  When evaluating the hitch, take into account the tongue weight, which is the amount of force placed on the hitch because of the trailer’s tendency to push downward.

When loading up the trailer, make sure things are placed inside in an even manner but with particularly weighty items positioned in the front.  Once you’ve started traveling, pull over before you get too far so that you might double check the adequacy of your packing.

Finally, make sure that your driving skills are sufficient to deal with the added weight and stress of the trailer.  This can be taken care of with practice before you even go on your trip.  Learn the acceleration and braking capabilities of your vehicle with the trailer attached, and get a sense of how to take corners with a lengthier, heavier load than what your’e used to.  Also hone your reversing abilities.

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