Whether it is a trailer full of things to take to the tip, a boat or a caravan – being able to safely tow a trailer requires the utmost attention to detail. Here we take a look at towing capacity and associated safety tips for towing so you don’t end up in the middle of the road looking for a caravan fix instead of enjoying the great outdoors.
How Much is Safe to Tow: What is my True Towing Capacity?
The weight load that your vehicle can safely tow behind is also known as your true towing capacity, and each vehicle will have a manufacturer stamped true towing capacity figure for you to reference off – however a safe true towing capacity is often much lower than the manufacturer advertises, so it’s best to check your State regulations so you can see howe much you are legally and safely allowed to tow.
There are a few variables to consider when calculating your true towing capacity. These are:
- Kerb weight
- Tow ball mass
- Gross vehicle mass
- Tare mass
- Towing capacity
- Gross trailer mass
Basically, your vehicle and towing setup shouldn’t exceed your “gross combination mass” (GCM), equated as the maximum combined allowable weight of the trailer, tow vehicle, load and passengers.
Safety Tips for Towing
1) Always Know your weight limits
Make sure your trailer and whatever you’re hauling fall within the towing or hauling capacities of your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual to find the trailer types that your vehicle can haul and the maximum weight it can pull. Use the right trailer hitch and make sure it is hitched correctly.
2) Distribute weight evenly
If your trailer fishtails, back off the gas and see if it stops. If it continues when you accelerate again, check to see how the weight is distributed on the trailer. It may not be distributed evenly from side to side, or else it’s too far back to place sufficient load on the hitch ball.
3) Make sure your trailer lights work
Connect the brake and signal lights. Double check to make sure the trailer’s brakes, turn signals and tail lights are synchronized with the tow vehicle.
4) Inflate the tyres
People I once knew suffered 17 tire blowouts while pulling a trailer from California to south Texas (true!). You’d think they would have figured out they had too much weight in the trailer.
5) Get a feel for the difference in vehicle handling
When towing, you’re operating a vehicle combination that’s longer and heavier than normal. Be sure to adjust your driving practices accordingly.
Backing up is tricky, but it’s a skill you can learn. Until you’re experienced, have someone direct you from outside in those tight spots or places where you have limited visibility.
Avoid sudden turns. I know – sounds obvious. But I was once the first person to an accident where someone decided at the last minute to take the exit instead of going straight. The car ended up upside down because the trailer had other ideas.
In case you end up in danger I’s very easy for your vehicle to end up on its side or even upside down when carrying weight at the back.
7) Your stopping time is reduced
It’s a simple matter of physics. When towing, you have more momentum than you would without a trailer. Remember that stopping requires more time and distance. Avoid tailgating and pay attention to what’s happening a little farther down the road than you normally would.
If You Can Tow It, We Can Fix It – Allways
If you find that you’ve overloaded your true towing capacity and have come off the road, or something has happened where you cannot tow your payload, Allways Caravans provides mobile caravan repairs for the Perth and local regional areas. Our caravan repairs and service are renowned for their quick response time, efficiency and quality.
Allways Caravans also manufacture the toughest outback-ready caravans. Our manufacturing team has been creating heavy-duty caravans built for the harsh, isolated Australian outback for over forty years.
We exclusively build commercial caravans, working closely with our clients to develop custom caravan designs to meet their unique needs, suiting any mine site, remote camp or other hard to reach worksite. So get in touch with one of our custom caravans specialists or service technicians, or call us on (08) 9459 3000.