Towing Safety

Towing is not too difficult and does not require a special license. But it's no trivial activity either, and there are a few things you need to know in order to tow safely and with confidence.

The first thing to check is whether your vehicle is legal for towing, and if so, how much. The Towing or Trailering section of your owner's manual is the best place to start. However, you may need to refer to your car manufacturer's specific

2. Your practical towing capacity is less than your towing capacity

Once you know your towing capacity, you must consider your unique situation when determining your towing capacity. This is because the published tow ratings are maximum values ??at best, determined assuming an unmodified tow truck with light options, driven by a 150-pound driver traveling alone with no luggage.

3. Towbar Considerations

Appropriate towbars may or may not be standard on
vehicles approved for towing a load.

In cases where a trailer rating is available but the hitch is missing, the manufacturer almost always offers a factory designed accessory that can be purchased from the dealer.

4. Coupling components and their classifications

Couplings consist of three parts. The receiver is a structure with a square mount that is always attached to the vehicle. A ball mount is designed to plug into the receiver and clip securely when it's time to tow it, and remove and set aside when it's not.

5. Know Your Trailer Weight

It is often impossible to weigh a trailer before buying or renting it. The most conservative approach is to follow the trailer's GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). This is often found on the specification sheet, but is always stamped on a tag attached to the trailer body. The gross vehicle weight rating represents the maximum amount the trailer should weigh.

5. The importance of hitching before loading

Trailers need to be properly balanced to be stable when towed, and this happens when the trailer tongue presses on the hitch point. But the balance changes when you're loading a trailer and it's possible that the tongue weight will momentarily go negative and the tongue will tip quickly if you're loading a heavy object from behind.

6. Making Connections

Backup cameras help a lot here
, but nothing beats a friend to help you find yourself as you gain experience.

Make sure the trailer wheels are locked, the tongue is high enough and the hitch is open. 

7. Drawbar Weight and Loading Your Trailer

As mentioned above, some downward pressure on the hitch ball called drawbar weight is required to ensure the trailer is pulled straight and remains stable. This amount is almost always 10% of the total trailer weight, although some heavier trailers may require more. The tow vehicle's
rear suspension will deflect slightly when carrying this load, but this is to be expected and will be factored into the rating.