Towing any load can be a tricky process if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Ensuring your load is as safe and secure as possible is key to maintaining your safety, your passengers safety and the safety of the people around you on the road. Common complications can range from damaging your load, to jackknifing or even flipping your vehicle, so we urge that you take towing precautions very seriously.
To help you avoid complications, we recommend a few tips and tricks that will give you and your load the best possible chance of making it to your destination without a hitch (and yes that pun was intended).
Know Your Vehicle’s Maximum Weight
Towing too much weight can be disastrous for many different reasons. That’s why we highly recommend checking your vehicle’s user manual for its GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass). This is the total weight that your vehicle can withstand, including all your car’s fluids/ fuel, your passengers, and your vehicle’s cargo. The towbars weight is also included when accounting for this weight, so that should be kept in mind if your car did not originally come with a towbar. Also, ensure to take into account your passengers weight and any additional cargo in your vehicle. Knowing these measurements will inform you if your vehicle’s weight will be too heavy to tow something safely.
Check Those Tyres
Ensuring your tyres are properly maintained is key to safely transporting your load. Tyre wear is common when towing which is often due to the extra weight you’re carrying. A sudden flat, or even an improper amount of air pressure can cause your trailer to sway. Therefore, we strongly recommend regularly checking the state of your vehicles tyres, as well as your trailer’s tyres before hitting the road with any load. If you’re unsure what tyre pressure is right for you, simply adhere to your manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that you maintain the optimal air pressure.
Synchronize Your Brakes
Australian law requires that all trailers have their own brakes if their load’s total mass exceeds 750kg, and for good reason. Any additional weight added to your vehicle will make its brakes substantially less effective. Therefore, we highly recommend installing a system that synchronizes your vehicle’s and trailer’s brakes. Two main types of brake controllers exist, these are time delayed or proportional braking systems. Whichever one you will need will depend on the load you are carrying, or personal preference.
Keep Your Cool
Your vehicle’s drivetrain must work harder when you’re towing a load, therefore, this will lead to an increased amount of heat being generated inside your engine. To compensate for this, we urge you to consider a transmission cooler. This will significantly decrease the temperature of the oil circulating in your transmission, and cool down the rest of the engine. It may be costly in the short term, but we guarantee you will save more in the long run as you won’t have to be forking out hundreds to the mechanic to repair your worn-out internal systems.
Keeping a balance between your load and your vehicle is necessary to ensure your trip and your cargo runs smoothly. A tell-tale sign that you have an imbalance is when your trailer and the vehicle sag at the tow bar, this is called the tongue weight. To keep this balance, we recommend a hitch.
Two main types of hitches exist, weight-carrying hitches and weight-distributing hitches.
You will need a weight-carrying hitch if the net weight of your trailer and its cargo is 1500kg or under. For heavier loads, we recommend weight-distributing hitches. Weight-distributing hitches redistribute the tongue weight between the tow vehicle and the trailer, keeping both vehicles parallel to the ground – meaning you have the correct balance.
Follow our tips closely and you’re sure to be in for a much safer and secure trip. Every vehicle and every load is different so be sure to know exactly what you are working with at all times – the key is to always be prepared. Happy towing!