Make sure your car, minivan or truck complies with the towing capacity of vehicles for travel trailers and is in accordance with all local trailer towing laws. If you are a professional, being a member of a national trailer and towing association is always recommended.
Small Trailer Towing Guide
The most valuable rule of thumb for trailer towing is to coordinate the trailer length and tow vehicle capacity so that the entire rig is stable. The trailer towing capacity of your vehicle and the rated hitch weight capacity must match or exceed the loaded trailer weight.
Another important factor is properly calculating trailer tongue weight. Be aware that figuring out trailer tongue weight capacity is no guesswork! Look closely at the manufacturer's trailer towing ball steel strength specifications before buying one or attaching your trailer rig to it.
Too much weight and the tow vehicle will sag in the rear and become unbalanced, too little and the trailer will sway back and forth down the road.
Having good trailer towing mirrors that extend past the trailer width are a must. You cannot safely back up without them. PartSource is your towing supply centre, with all the right hitches, balls, wiring kits, mirrors and towing accessories.
Visit a PartSource near you for all your towing needs and accessories.
Things To Be Aware When Towing Trailers
Hooking up your boat, horse, car or watercraft trailer and heading off into the sunset is a picture-perfect scenario. Active lifestyles usually demand that you haul a trailer of some sort behind your vehicle while travelling.
The problem is that it's not as easy as it looks, and if you don't know what you're doing, towing a trailer can be downright dangerous. However, the following trailer towing tips should make your next towing experience safe and enjoyable.
A crucial factor in trailer towing safety is matching the trailer towing ball steel strength specifications, trailer length and tow vehicle capacity together. The following trailer towing information should help accomplish that goal.
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating):
The total allowable weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including driver, passengers, cargo, and trailer tongue weight. Find out your vehicle's GVWR before you start.
- GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating):
The maximum weight a single axle is designed to safely carry. This rating is provided to prevent single-axle overloading. Overloading can cause serious axle and brake damage.
- Tow Rating:
The manufacturer's recommended towing capacity. Towing capacity for the same model may vary by engine size and axle ratio, so check your owner's manual for the exact rating.
- GTWR (Gross Trailer Weight Rating):
This figure is located on a metal tag on the trailer frame and is based on the allowable weight of the trailer and it's cargo.
- GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating):
Total weight of the tow vehicle and everything in it, as well as the trailer and its contents.
Factory hitches correspond with the vehicle's tow rating and capabilities. If you're starting from scratch, here are the parameters.
A few things before you begin
- Class I:
Designed for trailer-and-trailer-content-weights of up to 2,000 pounds. A bumper mount or combination bumper/frame mount is recommended.
- Class II:
Frame-mounted are always recommended for total trailer weights of up to 3,500 pounds.
- Class III:
Most commonly found on full-size light trucks for heavy duty towing of up to 5,000 pounds of trailer weight.
- Class IV:
Designed for trailer weights of up to 7,500 pounds. Class IV hitches can handle up to 10,000 pounds of trailer weight with the addition of weight-distributing system.
In case you need them, you can always find free print outs of specific vehicle instructions and torque specifications from Mitchell on Demand at your local PartSource store.
Everything you need for this job can be found at your local PartSource store. Ask a Parts Pro about what you'll need for the job. It's better to have extra spare parts ready for anything that might need to be replaced. The last thing you want to do, is go shopping when you have the car up on the jack.
When taking parts apart, be organized. Keep similar parts together in a safe place where they won't get lost and layout parts in a way that will allow you to put them back in the same order.
Make Safety Your Top Priority
Every vehicle is different. When it comes to maintenance and repairs, always follow the vehicle's owner's manual.
Safety should be your number one priority. Don't smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or wear a necktie while working on the car. Watch out for hot objects, sharp instruments, hazardous materials and other potential safety hazards in and around your workspace.
Don't work with a Philips when the job calls for flat. Substituting tools can compromise your safety or a vehicle's performance.
Finally, when the fun turns to frustration, or if the job requires specialized knowledge beyond your capabilities, please do not attempt it yourself. Talk to a Parts Pro or seek the assistance of a professional mechanic or installer. The last thing we want is someone getting hurt.