7 Vital Steps for better and safer towing-from RV Magazine-Spring 2010 edition-written by: John Stewart
Step 1: The owner's manual You need to know the actual capacities of the vehicle you tow with. Check the owner's manual and carefully apply the specs to your particular vehicle.
Step 2: The door sticker Good as a second source of information. It can be found inside the driver's doorjamb.
Step 3: Get the right gear The right hitch, hitch ball, properly adjusted trailer brake controller and towing mirrors. A weight-distribution hitch is a great helper too. It will take the weight off the rear axle and enhance carrying capacity and stability. Reliable brakes on the tow vehicle is also a must.
Step 4: Managing tongue weight This is actually the hardest requirement to address and the most important to get right. Too much tongue weight overloads the rear axle. Too little tongue weight and you'll overload the front axle and front brakes and have almost zero rear brake.
Step 5: Visit the scales Remember that the weight of everything in your tow vehicle (passengers, food, tools, and gear) takes away from the amount of trailer weight you can safely manage.
Step 6: Know your state laws Numerous conflicting state laws govern trailer length, weight, brake standards, width, height, and towing speeds, among other things. Check the regulations both in your state and the states you might tow through to avoid tickets or delays.
Step 7: The 10-minute checklist Take one more look around before you pull out. Check brake lights and turn signals. Make sure the tow vehicle looks level, lug nuts are tight, and trailer safety chains are crossed, with enough slack for turning. Make sure the locking pin is in place on the tow ball lever and that the breakaway cable is plugged in. Adjust mirrors so you can see the length of the trailer. Wheel chocks stowed? Tongue load looks good? Tongue jack is raised and locked so it won't drop while driving?
Following these 7 simple steps means you can hit the road with confidence. Come see us at CCRV or your local RV dealership for help with any of these things. Most places carry a wide variety of each of the items you may need and have trained staff to answer your specific needs and questions.