No one can deny that we are living out a typical, sizzling, North Carolina summer here in 2017. But the beauty of our great state is that we have all kinds of fun to be had in every direction, from the mountains to the ocean, with area lakes and trails in between! There’s so much to do, and many of us in this state are known for making our fun and taking it with us. We tow trailers with boats, ATVs, motorcycles, jet skis, and even horses all over the state at this time of year. This month, we want to talk about towing safety, so that you, your loved ones, and your vehicles and property all stay safe out on the open road this summer. Here are some areas to consider as you think about towing any of the above items:
Your Tow Vehicle
The first point to consider with towing safety is to correctly match up the strength of your tow vehicle with the size trailer you would like to tow. The hitch must safely connect both the tow vehicle and your trailer in such a way that provides both ease of handling and safety under the most extreme conditions. You don’t want to “rig” it to make it work. You want the connections to be fitted and the vehicle to work for the weight of what you’re towing. Also, do your research and make sure your tow vehicle can handle the weight you’re going to be asking it to tow for the long-term. You don’t want to shorten your vehicle’s life by asking it to perform beyond its capacity or cause costly damage in the process.
Here are a few more of the items you may need to research for your personal towing needs:
Increased engine cooling system
Alternator and battery size
Heavy duty suspension system
Tire size or rating
Engine size, torque, and capacity
Towing Package (includes some degree of pre-wiring)
Most of these items are needed for towing under any conditions: mountain driving, hot climate driving or when towing heavy class trailers.
Make sure you do some short drives with your set-up before you decide to hit the road for a long trip. Also, ease into hauling in the mountains until you are very comfortable with your rig and how it handles. You don’t want to get in a dangerous situation or find that you’re out of your realm of expertise when it’s too late. Take it slow and learn from someone who knows how to tow already. A great rule of thumb: if you can’t back your trailer, you shouldn’t be hauling your trailer. Learn the basics!
Keeping Your Vehicle Cool During Towing
Since excessive heat is your transmission’s worst enemy, a trans-cooler is an ideal and often necessary towing accessory. Long trips, hill climbing, and towing larger trailers are especially hard on your transmission. Hot transmission fluid running through the cooling system causes most radiator boilovers. When oil temperatures exceed 200 degrees F., oil breaks down causing seals to crack and leaks to occur.
A transmission cooler will protect your radiator by reducing the temperature of transmission fluid. The fluid constantly passes through a series of air cooled tubes before re-entering your transmission. The engine oil cooler functions much the same way. You can purchase these two types of coolers separately or together. You should also check your engine oil regularly throughout your trip.
Tire size and tire pressure are both important subject for your tow vehicle and your trailer. Under-inflated tires will get hot and can lead to tire failures and possible loss of vehicle control. Over-inflated tires can cause uneven tire wear. Tires should be checked often for pressures recommended on the Safety Compliance Certification Label for original equipment tires. And mini/spare tires should not be used while towing Class II or Class III trailers.
It may help to equip your tow vehicle with special mirrors: one flat to see the road, and one convex to see the side of your trailer. These mirrors extend out from your tow vehicle, which enables you to see all the way down the side of your trailer. Know that if you can’t see beyond your trailer with your regular mirrors, you need extended towing mirrors for safety.
Lights and Wiring
Many new vehicles made for towing come with the set up for your trailer plug ins standard. If your vehicle is older or you need to retrofit it, find a qualified hitch installer to wire up your taillights, signals, and brake light functions into a special plug or connector in order to access the trailer’s light systems.
Any trailer that tows 4 or more feet behind your vehicle or visually blocks your taillights must be equipped with its own taillights, and your vehicle must have a connection to the trailer’s taillights. If you are towing a trailer equipped with electric brakes, you must have a brake control installed and working in your tow vehicle.
These are just a few of things you should consider. But there are many more. We’re happy to answer any questions you have or check your towing rig to make sure it’s safe. Just give us a call: (910) 483-2958. And remember, if you ever find yourself in a bad spot, Crumpler’s Towing is here for you. We’re just a phone call away whenever you need us!
Summer also brings….HUSQVARNA Equipment! All of this and more available at our shop….
And if you’re looking for a great pre-owned vehicle, check out what we have at the shop:
As always, we’re here for you! Come see us with all your automotive needs. And remember we work on motorcycles and ATVs as well! Please follow our Facebook pages Crumpler’s Automotive and Crumpler’s Custom Cycle and check our website www.crumplersautomotive.com
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