Having a vehicle that can tow is extremely useful. You can haul a boat to the lake on the weekends. Or, you can pack your belongings in a trailer and head across the country for a big move. Towing can be easy and safe if you know how to do it and have the right equipment.
You need to know your vehicle’s hauling limits. You also need to know how to properly hook your trailer up to your vehicle. And, you need to adjust your driving habits when you’re transporting extra weight. Follow these tips to tow safely:
Preparing Your Vehicle and Trailer
Here’s what you need to do before you tow:
- Make sure your vehicle’s maintenance is up to date. Change your oil and filter, and top off your engine coolant and transmission fluid. Also, make sure there’s plenty of life left on your brake pads.
- Check the tires on your vehicle and your trailer. Make sure they have enough air and inspect them for dry rot and cracking. And, make sure the wheel lug nuts on the trailer and tow vehicle are tightened to the specified torque.
- Pack a spare tire for your trailer in case you get a flat.
- Check the trailer lights. Make sure the trailer’s electrical wiring system is properly connected to your vehicle. The wires should be loose enough to let you make turns, but not loose enough to touch the road. The trailer’s running lights, brake lights, hazard lights, and turn signals should all work in correlation with your vehicle.
- Make sure the hitch ball on your vehicle is the same size as the coupler on your trailer.
- Choose the right tow hitch for your vehicle. Some vehicles have factory-installed hitches. If yours doesn’t, you have to find one that works for what you want to tow. Also, connect the hitch to the frame of your vehicle, not the bumper.
- Use trailer safety chains. Make sure you cross the chains when hooking them up to the hitch. They will form a cradle that the trailer can fall onto instead of falling on the ground if it gets disconnected from your vehicle.
- Use tow mirrors if your trailer is wider than your vehicle. They’ll help you see your trailer’s blind spots, and help you see if there’s anything behind your trailer when you’re backing up.
- Use wheel chocks when you unhook your trailer from your vehicle. Put them around the trailer’s tires to keep it from rolling away.
On the Road
- Know your vehicle’s towing limits. If it has a 3,600-pound towing capacity, don’t exceed that. Hauling more than what your vehicle allows can strain your engine and transmission, accelerate brake wear, damage your tires, and warp your chassis.
- Adjust your trailer brakes according to your load. Many trailers have electric brakes. Their power level can be adjusted if your vehicle has a trailer brake controller system. You want the brakes to use a lot of force if you’re towing something heavy, like a boat. If the boat isn’t on a trailer, the brakes need to be readjusted for the lighter weight. Then, the trailer’s tires won’t lock up and skid.
- Practice driving with a trailer before you go. Try backing up, braking, making wide turns, and using your sideview mirrors. Then, you’ll be more comfortable and confident on the road.
- Check your route before you leave. Some roads don’t allow trailers. Make sure you know where they are so you can avoid them. Some roads also have trailer size limits.
- Make wider turns. Your trailer’s wheels will be closer to the inside of a turn than your vehicle’s wheels will be. So, they’re more likely to hit or ride up curbs.
- Leave more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. You need bigger stopping distances because of the added weight of your trailer. If the vehicle in front of you suddenly slows down or stops, start braking sooner than you would if you weren’t towing.
- Drive in the right lane on highways. Then, you can pull off on the right shoulder in case of emergency.
- Don’t ride your brakes when you’re driving downhill. Shift your transmission into a lower gear to help slow down your vehicle. This will take some of the strain off your brakes. Your vehicle might have a tow/haul mode. It automatically downshifts the transmission when it senses that your vehicle is on a long downhill.
- Keep your eyes on the road at all times. Towing requires your full care and attention. Don’t get distracted by the radio, your phone, other passengers in the car, or things on the side of the road.
- When you stop somewhere, park in an area with few vehicles around. Then, you’ll have plenty of room to pull in and out.
Towing Vehicles For Sale in Forest Lake, MN
If you need a great towing vehicle, come visit our dealership here in Forest Lake, MN! We have a huge selection of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram models with impressive towing capability. We’ll show you everything each one has to offer, and set you up with a test drive with any models that you’re interested in. We’re here to help you find a vehicle that meets all of your wants and needs. And, our finance team will answer any questions you have about financing or leasing a vehicle through us. All of our new models and most of our new ones come with our awesome Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. We’re here to help you find the car of your dreams. We’re right by Coon Rapids, Roseville, and White Bear Lake!
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*To qualify for the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty the purchaser must select a qualifying vehicle and finance that vehicle with Forest Lake Chrysler Dodge Jeep & Ram.