6 Trailer Towing Tips to Help You Travel Safely
Don’t Let a Towing Mishap Ruin Your Vacation
We are smack in the middle of camping season. Some love to throw on a heavy pack and walk their way to their camp site, while others prefer a few more conveniences attaching a camper trailer for their nights in the woods. However, you choose, if you’re pulling a trailer (camper trailer, boat, cargo trailer, or any other kinds) make sure that you don’t end up as one of the hundreds of people killed in a trailer caused accident this summer.
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, our goal is that you don’t need our services. So take a look at these 6 trailer towing tips to ensure that you’re safe on the road and your vacation isn’t spoiled.
Check Your Tires
Before you go on any trip, you should be checking the tire pressure and the wear levels. This includes your vehicle and your trailer. A blown trailer tire can cause the trailer to drag and pull you right off the road.
It only takes a couple of minutes to check your tire pressure and to top off the tires if necessary. While you’re at it, you should be monitoring your tread depth to make sure that you’re not coming dangerously close to thin tires. Check this blog to see how you can quickly see if your tires are close to replacement levels.
Check Your Pins
There are two pins needed to tow a trailer safely, and legally. One makes sure that the hitch doesn’t detach from the vehicle itself, the other locks the tongue of the trailer to the ball. Both are absolutely necessary.
A quick spot check will determine if they’re in place. If you find one is missing, it’s a few dollars to replace it (for the tongue lock you can use a padlock or combination lock as a pin to prevent theft).
Check Your Chains
You are required to have two chains connecting your trailer to your vehicle. These aren’t just to prevent the trailer from flying off down the road, they’re also to catch the trailer in case the tongue slips off the ball.
Cross the chains over underneath the tongue of the trailer and hook them to the opposite sides of the hitch. This crossover will create a cradle to catch the tongue in case it fails.
Check Your Hitch and Ball
The ball and hitch are probably the most ignored parts of the trailer. On many vehicles they’re permanently in place, and people don’t even bother to remove them. This also means they’re often neglected.
The ball comes in different sizes. One that is too large for the trailer will be easy to spot, the tongue won’t connect. But if it’s too small the tongue will look like it’s in place, but won’t lock into place. Make sure that your parts are all uniform in size.
Distribute the Weight
This is a problem for those who are new at pulling loads. Often it’s thought that you should load most of the weight over the wheels, and sometimes people put the majority of the weight toward the back of the trailer. This is a recipe for disaster.
When loading your trailer, make sure that slightly more weight is in front of the axle than behind it. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that about 60% of the weight is in front of the axle, and 40% is behind. Too much in front makes it hard to stop; too much behind creates sway problems. Check out this short video that demonstrates what happens with too much weight in back.
Finally, a no brainer. Even though your vehicle may be able to fly down the highway pulling a load, it’s not always safe to do so. Slow down a little, enjoy the Montana scenery, make sure that you’re not going to end up in the hospital because you’re going too fast.
This goes for highway driving, city driving, mountain driving, and taking turns. Save your life, your vehicle, and your sanity by easing off the gas a little.
Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Vehicles
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, our goal is to be the best auto body repair shop in the state of Montana. That means we want to make sure you’re driving a safe vehicle. If you do get in a wreck, our technicians will restore the vehicle to full factory safety standards so when you drive it off, it’s as safe as when you drove it off the lot.
Need to make an appointment? Give us a call at 406-259-6328 to schedule a time.