THE PACE AMERICAN TRAILER GUIDE TO TOWING A TRAILER
March 21, 2017
TRAILER TOWING SAFETY FOR TRAVELERS NEW AND OLD
No matter the experience level, proper trailer towing safety is always a good skill to keep up-to-date, just like the enclosed trailer you take with you. At Pace American, we know trailer safety is essential to a happy experience for all parties involved, so we’d like to take a moment to help our owners make the best of their next haul. Here are some trailer safety tips to keep you moving forward.
HOW TO TOW A TRAILER: LOCATION MATTERS
The rule for cargo distribution is 60% at the front and 40% at the back. The heaviest cargo should be placed at the front, which means 60% of your heaviest items should be loaded in first. Objects stored only at the back of the trailer are more likely to cause issues when steering and braking, since the front tires are no longer in full contact with the road.
It’s key to utilize surface mount rope rings and tie downs when possible. Tying loose items down helps reduce shifting during travel. When objects shift their weight and placement, they can prevent the vehicle from braking and slowing down when needed.
Always try to park where you’ll have room to maneuver. Opt for a pull-through space if it’s available, and when in parking lots, park further away from your destination to avoid tight spaces and awkward maneuvering.
When it comes to backing up, towing a trailer can be a nightmare. To avoid jack-knifing the trailer and causing a collision between your vehicle and another object, make sure you take it slow and plan your moves beforehand. If there’s another set of eyes available, then utilize them.
Use your mirrors and go slow. Best practice is to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and direct the trailer’s course this way. When you move your hand to the left, the trailer should go to the left, as well. Move it to the right and to the right the trailer should go. But, don’t just hit the gas and go for it. Take it slow and ensure that the trailer is angling in the direction you intend it to and gradually unsteer as you back up. If done correctly, the towing vehicle should even out as you direct the trailer further.
HOW TO TOW A TRAILER: DON’T FORGET THE DETAILS
Knowing how to tow a trailer is much like driving a car or truck in general. Follow the recommended speed limits, reduce your speed and stick to the right lane so that fellow travelers can pass safely.
Always be aware of your surroundings and know the potential curves, stops and speed bumps ahead of you. Just the same, leave extra room between yourself and vehicles around you. The more distance, the better, since you will no longer slow down as quickly as you would when not towing a trailer.
Downhill speed warnings apply to towers. Since you’ll be carrying extra weight, slowing down as you descend will be made more difficult. However, reducing your speed beforehand and avoiding brake mashing lets the vehicle slow down naturally.
The correct tire pressure is essential to giving yourself gas efficiency and driving stability. Always make sure your tires have been filled to the recommended pressure level and that they don’t show signs of wear and tear that can cause blowouts during transit.
Inspect brakes for signs of wear, weathering or anything else that could prevent them from functioning properly. With two vehicles that need to slow down, healthy brakes are vital to a safe towing experience.
Tire bearings also need to be properly checked and lubricated before each trip. As with any of the critical functions on your trailer, make sure to replace and maintain these as needed.
Make sure all mirrors are clean, facing the desired directions and scraped free of ice or dirt.
Your LED tail and clearance lights should be fully-functional, not only for your safety, but also for fellow passengers on the road. In dark and snowy conditions, you want as much indication of your presence on the road as possible. Make sure all interior lights are working as well.
HOW TO TOW A TRAILER: KNOW YOUR RIDE
Familiarize yourself with the capacity limit set for the enclosed trailer in question. These numbers will dictate what you can take with you, as well as help you decide which paths you can traverse.
You can find the gross trailer weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW) specifications on Pace American’s Towing & Safety page. Also, visit the Trailer Hitching page to make sure you’re properly connected and ready to go.
Pace American owners, if you don’t know the answer to a question or need additional help, please refer to your owner’s manual or contact our Customer Service team for answers regarding your specific needs and concerns.