How to tow safely

Check your vehicle carefully. Make sure your tires are fully aired-up on your tow vehicle and your trailer. · Drive slower than normal. · Look far …

What is the proper way to tow?

Driving Tips for Towing Another Car

  1. Drive slower than you usually would. The extra weight of the vehicle being towed means longer braking distances, so you need to adjust your speed accordingly. …
  2. Easy on the brakes. …
  3. Use your mirrors and turn signals. …
  4. Exercise caution when changing lanes. …
  5. Avoid sharp turns.

What special rule should you remember when pulling a trailer?

It is often best to drive in the right lane while pulling a trailer, especially on the interstate. Acceleration will take significantly longer with a trailer. Drive a little below the speed limit for safety. Parking may be difficult.

What is a safe weight to tow?

Tow Ball Ratings:

TypeSize of Tow Ball DiameterGross Trailer Weight (GTW) Max
Weigh Safe Adjustable Drop Hitch1-7/8″Always rated at 7,500 lbs
2”Always rated at 8,000 lbs
2-5/16″12,500 lbs
18,500 lbs

What is an important safety device when towing?

Trailer Components It is important to understand the importance of adequate brakes, properly inflated and rated tires, crossed safety chains and working lights in order to tow safely.

What should you not do when towing?

Top 8 Mistakes People Make While Towing

  1. Overworking Your Engine. The number one mistake people make, by far, is overworking their tow vehicle. …
  2. Wrong Weight Distribution Bars. …
  3. Not Checking or Maintaining Brakes. …
  4. Poorly Loaded Vehicles. …
  5. Wrong Ball/Ball Mount. …
  6. 6. “ …
  7. Low-Pressure Tires. …
  8. Not Lubing Your Components.

How do you tow for beginners?

How to Tow a Trailer Safely

  1. Choose the right equipment. …
  2. Hitch up your trailer correctly. …
  3. Allow plenty of stopping distance. …
  4. Anticipate problems ahead. …
  5. Watch out for trailer sway. …
  6. Be extra careful when changing lanes. …
  7. Be patient when passing. …
  8. Stop gradually whenever possible.

What is the 85 towing rule?


For safe towing it is recommended by many towing experts that a novice should keep the fully laden weight of the caravan no heavier than 85% of the kerbweight of the tow car. This is known as the 85% rule. Bear in mind that it is a guide and not legally enforceable.

What is the 80/20 towing rule?

The 80/20 towing rule is a safety measure many RVers follow. Basically, the rule states that you shouldn’t tow above 80% of your max towing capacity. This gives room for human error in calculations. It also protects the life of your vehicle by not pushing it to the max every time you tow your trailer.

What should you do if the trailer starts to jackknife while backing?

If the trailer starts to jackknife, which forms a V-shape between the trailer and towing vehicle, stop, pull ahead to straighten out; then begin again. Once you start to go correctly, follow the trailer around.

Where do you put weight when towing?

Where should the weight be on a trailer? More weight should be placed in front of the trailer axle and less weight behind. The ideal distribution of weight is 60% in front of the axle and 40% behind the axle.

What happens if you tow too heavy?

Exceeding what your vehicle is designed to tow can strain your engine and transmission, accelerate brake wear, damage your tires and even warp your chassis. This could in turn trigger catastrophic failure while driving and could lead to property damage or serious injury.

How do you know if you are towing too much weight?


You can determine GTW only by placing the fully loaded trailer on a vehicle scale. If you put the fully loaded trailer on a scale, the resulting measurement would be the GTW. If your GTW exceeds your vehicle’s towing capacity, you will not be able to move it safely.

What should a driver do before towing?

Lower the jockey wheel and then switch off the ignition. Apply the handbrake, lower the jockey wheel and switch off the engine. Explanation: Before unhitching a trailer, apply the handbrake, switch off the ignition and engage a lower gear, so that the towing vehicle does not move while you are unhitching the trailer.

Is it OK to use cruise control while towing?

Fortunately, you can use cruise control while towing. There’s nothing to stop you from engaging your truck’s cruise control while you’re in tow/haul mode. This won’t necessarily do any damage to your vehicle.

How do I protect my transmission while towing?

Simply put the vehicle in park and tow. If all four wheels are on the ground, your vehicle must be equipped with a proper towing device, to keep the transmission from turning without proper lubrication. Simply putting the vehicle in neutral will not prevent it from sustaining damage.

Does towing hurt your engine?

Towing causes additional strain on your vehicle, from the engine to your brakes. So, it will slowly wear on your engine over time, no matter your vehicle or trailer.

Does towing wear brakes?


Trailer brakes don’t self-adjust like the brakes on your tow vehicle. In fact, they must be manually adjusted by you. Additionally, trailer brakes wear out just like any other brake does, so be sure to check for wear and tear regularly.

Does towing a car damage the transmission?

Tow trucks can damage cars when the towing process is not handled properly. Towing can even damage your vehicle’s transmission, so that is why tow truck drivers take extra precautions. The driveshaft is disconnected, and front-wheel drive vehicles are towed only from the front wheels.

Is towing a car difficult?

Towing a vehicle might seem easy enough, especially if you’re already driving a moving truck. But there’s actually a lot that goes into it, and it can add a whole slew of stressors and delays to your drive.

Is towing easy?

It’s actually pretty easy to drive a travel trailer. As you drive forward, the trailer will follow you in a very natural way. Provided your vehicle is rated to tow your trailer, you will not find it hard to go up hills, brake, or do most of the other things you would normally do while driving.

What is the easiest way to tow a car?

There are a number of options for this towing choice.

  1. Tow Dolly. A tow dolly hitches to the back of your truck or RV with a standard trailer hitch. …
  2. Flatbed Trailer. Flatbed trailers are a good option for cars that are rear-wheel drive, or that are older and may not handle the free spin of towing. …
  3. Four-Wheels Down.

What is the maximum speed when towing?

55 mph

California. Maximum speed for any vehicle towing another vehicle is 55 mph.

Is there a speed limit when towing?

30mph limit applies on all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise. 50mph applies on single carriageways unless signs show otherwise. 60mph applies on dual carriageways and motorways.

What’s the maximum permitted speed for a car towing?

50 mph on single carriageways. 60 mph on dual carriageways or motorways.

Does curb weight affect towing?

Drivers can calculate towing capacity as: GCVWR – Curb Weight = Towing Capacity. GCVWR is your vehicle’s Combined Vehicle Weight Rating – the combined weight of your tow vehicle and the trailer you plan to tow, together with all of the cargo each will carry.

How much range do you lose when towing?

While towing the trailer MotorTrend estimated the actual range would be about 170 miles, which is about 45% less range than without the trailer.

What is Rule 24 towing and pushing?

(i) a vessel being pushed ahead, not being part of a composite unit, shall exhibit at the forward end, sidelights; (ii) a vessel being towed alongside shall exhibit a sternlight and at the forward end, sidelights.

What to do if you start fishtailing with a trailer?

What To Do When Trailer Sway Starts

  1. Immediately let off the gas pedal and avoid stepping on the brake pedal! …
  2. Keep the steering wheel straight. …
  3. Let your vehicle slow down on its own.
  4. If you have trailer brakes, you can manually apply them very gently once the speed has decreased.

What should you do if a trailer starts to swing?

What should you do if a trailer starts to swing from side to side while you’re towing it? Explanation: Strong winds or buffeting from large vehicles can cause a trailer or caravan to swing from side to side (‘snake’). If this happens, ease off the accelerator. Don’t brake harshly, steer sharply or increase your speed.

What trailer is most at risk of jackknifing?


Explanation: Jack-knifing occurs when the tractor unit is pushed by the semi-trailer pivoting around the coupling (fifth wheel). This is more likely to occur with an unladen vehicle.

What is the 60 40 rule for a trailer?


To achieve this hitch load, some trailer manufacturers recommend the 60/40 rule: put 60% of the trailer’s total weight forward of the trailer axles and 40% behind the axles. When a trailer starts to sway, the best response is to hold the steering wheel straight, let off the gas and apply the trailer’s brakes.

Why is trailer fishtailing?

Fishtailing is caused by gusts of winds, unequal distribution of weight among the vehicle and the trailer, incorrect air pressure all the tires and overloading the trailers not keeping in mind the weight of the trailer hitch.

Do you want weight in front or back of trailer?

Load Placement To reduce trailer sway, your heaviest cargo should be placed in the very front of the trailer, ahead of the trailer’s axle. Always adhere to the 60/40 rule when loading the trailer.

Is it better to haul or tow?

Overall, car trailers can handle a much heavier weight load and are capable of transporting larger vehicles. U-Haul’s car trailer has a max load of 5,290 lbs. Tow dollies, on the other hand, are not designed to handle large, heavy vehicles. This car moving method is better designed for lightweight vehicles.

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Tony Conover

Tony Conover, owner of Conover Racing & Restorations, Inc., has been in the car restoration business since 1977. His love of the Ford Mustang and Shelby, along with his vast knowledge of the history of these cars, led him to focus on Ford's classic muscle cars since 1977, with particular focus on Shelby Mustangs, and he believes that he has probably restored more R-models than any other restoration shop in the country. He fondly remembers the overwhelming originality of 5R531, which retained all of its original sheet metal, a far cry from many of the exhaustively raced and frequently damaged examples that have passed through his care over the years. Following Mr. Conover’s exacting year-long restoration, the car was bought in September 1990 by Buddy Belzer, of Rapid City, South Dakota, and soon after, it embarked on a successful exhibition run. Presented at the SAAC-18 meet at Watkins Glen in July 1993, 5R531 drove away with the 3rd place Popular Vote in the R-model class.

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