Most sport utility vehicles and all pickup trucks on the market are capable of towing a load. Whether for work or even leisure, many consumers are taking advantage and generally, everything is going well.
However, if we have just bought a tent trailer or other object of any kind and this is the first time we are going to tow our vehicle, a few precautions are in order.
Here are four simple tips that will allow you to tow your vehicle safely, and especially without damaging anything.
Know the limits of your vehicle
A vehicle’s towing capacity is easy to find and does not vary much from segment to segment. In the compact sport utility vehicle niche, towing capacity drops from zero to around 3,500 pounds, with most models being able to tow 1,500 pounds. Mid-size SUVs sometimes offer up to 7,500 pounds while pickup trucks, depending on their equipment, often go well over 10,000 pounds.
Of all these models, only the pickup trucks are really designed to tow. That doesn’t mean you can’t pull anything safely with a sport utility vehicle, but towing is in the DNA of the half-ton trucks available to consumers today.
This is why most pickup manufacturers offer what is known as the Gross Combined Weight Rating in their specifications. This data indicates the maximum total weight that the vehicle can accommodate when the weight of the vehicle itself and the element to be towed are combined.
This information is sometimes a little more difficult to find for sport utility vehicles, but what matters is that it is essential to know the towing limits of our vehicle.
Once this limit is known, you should absolutely not exceed it, and ideally you should not approach it either. So, if your trailer weighs 3,400 pounds, it is wiser to go for a vehicle capable of towing 5,000 pounds and not 3,500 pounds.
Have the right equipment
We have to make sure that we have the right trailer hitch for our needs, and that this hitch is the perfect match for what we want to tow. Although many companies offer trailer hitches, it is sometimes wiser to opt for the equipment offered by the manufacturer of the vehicle we are purchasing.
Most of the time, it will be designed for our specific model, and thus better adapt to towing needs. It will often be protected under warranty as well. In addition, security chains are always useful in case there is a separation of our load. Then, if our load is very heavy, it is better to make sure that we have brakes for it.
Make sure everything is working before leaving
It is not always easy to connect the brakes of our load or its taillights. Sometimes we are in a rush to get to the vacation route and forget to do a second check. So, make sure you connect all the important wires properly and that the tail lights are working before exiting, as are the brake indicators.
Be careful on the road
As most drivers know, driving a vehicle hitched to a trailer requires some adaptation. We have to keep a greater distance with the vehicles in front of us, and remember that our braking distances will be greater. We also need to give ourselves more space when taking a curve, and apply the brakes lightly if our load suddenly begins to wander from left to right.
Ultimately, towing with your vehicle will be easy if you adopt the tips listed above. If this is our first time with a trailer, why not practice in an empty parking lot or on a country road before heading into rush hour?