7 Things You Should Know About Towing Equipment

Towing equipment allows any capable vehicle to pull all sorts of trailers, boats, recreational vehicles and other carriages out there. Now, while the user-friendly equipment and towing apparatus make lugging a monster trailer behind you look easy, this notion couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Towing is actually a very complicated process that should not be taken lightly by professionals; much less amateurs and greenhorn towers. Just getting a single component wrong or choosing the inappropriate towing technique could cost you more than a fancy trailer. I’ve seen powerful engines and entire transmissions blown to smithereens for underestimating the weight of a trailer by mere pounds. That’s why it pays to understand your towing by heart and know everything you can about it. If you’re really serious about towing, then here are 7 things you should know about towing equipment to get you and your payload there safe and on time.

#1: Know your Ratings

If you’re looking for the very definition of putting your cart before the horse, then try setting up towing equipment before understanding what your vehicle is capable of. Even before we get to the actual towing, it’s important to at least have an idea of how much weight your car can haul.

Overloading your tow vehicle is a sure way of breaking your suspension, killing your brakes, overheating the transmission and blowing every single tire under your car. I’m sure this doesn’t sound nice; it’s actually a recipe for disasters on the road. So, before you try to tow anything or use any towing equipment, contact your dealer and determine your vehicles ratings, specifications, and other relevant hauling details.

#2: Know Your Local Regulations

Whether you are worker hauling containers for your freight company or a family man taking your family out for a vacation, traffic tickets are definitely not something you want to be collecting willy-nilly. So remember that towing laws and regulations tend to vary from state to state. While one state will insist on using safety chains and taillights on your trailer, another will require you to use special braking equipment with additional rear and side mirrors. There’s also the issue of maximum towing speeds, trailer width, the number of items or vehicles allowed to tow and much more. So you either brush up on your towing laws or risk turning a simple drive into a costly affair.

#3: Know Your Cargo Loading Procedures

It doesn’t matter if you are using all the right towing equipment and doing everything else right, ignoring the loading procedures could spell catastrophe at every turn. Improper loading will cause your boat, trailer or cargo to go off balance and teeter about on every bend. Not only will this make your trailer particularly taxing to control, but the trailer’s momentum and inertia might drag the car along and cause a horrible accident. Secure your cargo properly before you even take off to prevent shifting and to maintain a low center of gravity.

#4: Know Your Drive System Towing Compatibility

While most pickups and larger SUVs come with both rear wheel and front wheel drive system, using only one of those may not be your best option. Not only does the rear wheel drive design allow for more engine power, but it also directs the power to the rear axle to bear the weight of the load. However, other SUVs also come with a front wheel drive which while it does offer better traction in rain and snow, it makes it very difficult to control the rear. It’s important to understand the terrain you will be driving over as well as understand which drive system to use. Striking a balance between front and rear drive will help save your engine from having to overcompensate.

#5: Know Your Braking Systems

When you’re attempting any kind of hauling, it’s important to include a decent braking system with your towing equipment. The added weight of the trailer will always give your car slower stopping response, especially if you are just relying on your vehicle’s brakes alone. Sure, most states require you to equip a separate braking system if you are hauling over 1500 pounds, but it’s generally recommended as a part of any towing system. Not only will this facilitate more control over the load, but it also stops the trailer in case it gets unhooked and detached.

#6: Know and Understand that You are Hauling Excess Weight

You’d think that this point is something obvious that everyone should be aware of when using towing equipment, but you’d be surprised how many people actually forget that they are hauling a trailer. This is why you get numerous accidents where the driver forgot to stop early or turn later. Your SUV might be a beast on the road, but it will be less responsive with a heavy trailer behind it. As such, you will want to give yourself ample room to brake and extra distance for turns and lane shifts.

#7: Know Your Insurance

That’s right; towing equipment comes with its own set of insurance rules and regulations. As a safety precaution, always make sure that you have adequate insurance that covers the contingent of hauling trailers, boats, cars and other carriages. Broader insurance coverage will definitely come in handy if your trailer gets damaged, causes an accident and even for total loss recovery. Even insurance companies understand that towing equipment brings about an added risk element to the usual cover, so should you. Make sure that you are adequately covered for regional, national and even international trips as well.