As we enter into the period where thousands of Canadian drivers are bringing back boats from their cottages, and packing up their summer belongings for that trip back home, it’s important to understand the impact of towing on your vehicle. Whether you’re towing a boat, another vehicle or a small item, these three factors should be considered closely before beginning the drive.
- Consider all Tires
One area that many of us forget to check when towing another vehicle is that other vehicle’s tires. The vehicle being towed must have effective tires for complete towing safety. Tires that are either over-inflated or under-inflated will sway the trailer during turns. They will also be more susceptible to small changes in the road surface, which can make handling exceptionally difficult for the driver. Check tire pressure before beginning the tow and remember to use side mirrors to review the movement of the trailer during the course of a long journey home.
- Choose the Right Hitch
Vehicle hitches are the crucial element in any towing operation. There are two types of hitches – weight-carrying hitches and weight-distributing hitches. For all lighter towing loads (those under 3,500 pounds combined between the vehicle and the trailer), weight carrying hitches are ideal. But heavier loads require the use of a weight distributing hitch, to help distribute downward pressure to the axles of the tow vehicle and the trailer, which keeps both vehicles level and down to the ground. Comprehensively checking hitches before a vehicle journey and making sure they’re secure with a short drive over a few meters can help protect drivers, passengers and their cargo.
- Check Brakes Before Beginning the Drive
Before making a trip to pick up a trailer, boat or any other types of towing cargo, check the brakes of the towing vehicle. Braking while trying to tow is a different ball-game to simply braking during regular city or highway driving. Different factors come into play. Ineffective brakes can cause significant momentum changes when towing another object and drivers must ensure that their brakes are analyzed professionally before beginning the tow, should they feel uneasy about performance. While driving, drivers should try to give themselves as much room as possible to stop, and slowly ease into complete stops.
Effective towing doesn’t have to be an overly complex challenge this early fall season. Choose your towing machinery carefully and remember to have all vehicle performance issues professionally reviewed before beginning the tow. That way, you’ll protect both vehicle and cargo and ensure both are ready for next summer’s adventures.