9 Safe Towing Tips

Whether you’re towing a fifth wheel or travel trailer, car, boat, or transporting trash to the dump, special attention to details is required.

A fifth wheel trailer camped at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A fifth wheel trailer camped at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adherence to the following nine key points will assist RVers in extending the life of the vehicle and towing safely.

The following towing tips have been adapted from those first appearing on an AMSOIL Website.

1. Weight

Ensure your net load is within the tow capacity of your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual to determine the trailer types that your vehicle can haul and the maximum load weight it is rated pull. Use the appropriate trailer hitch and ensure that it’s hitched correctly.

2. Weight Distribution

Ensure your trailer weight is evenly distributed. If you experience fishtailing or your trailer sways while accelerating, back off the fuel. If it continues when you accelerate again, stop the vehicle and recheck your load weight distribution.

3. Lights

Connect brakes and signal lights. Double check to make sure the trailer’s brakes, turn signals and tail lights are synchronized with those of the tow vehicle. Check lights daily to ensure proper functioning.

4. Tires

The tires on your vehicle are one of its most important components. (Source: hawkingevehicles.co.uk)

The tires on your vehicle are one of its most important components. (Source: hawkingevehicles.co.uk)

Ensure your tires have the recommended air pressure, sufficient tread depth, and have not aged out (NOTE: RV tires typically should be replaced due to age after six to eight years). Correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road. Properly inflated tires can save you up to four percent in fuel mileage, while under and over inflation can lead to premature tire failure. Ensure that you routinely check your tire pressure. Under-inflated tires affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior. Under-inflated tires are more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout, especially on high-speed motorway journeys.

5. Handling

Since you’re operating a vehicle combination that’s longer and heavier than normal, ensure you make some compensating adjustments in your normal driving practices. Avoid sudden turns at highway speeds.

6. Buckle Your Seat Belt

In case your tow vehicle ends up upside down and it’s the law.

7. Stopping

It’s a matter of physics. When towing, you have more momentum than you would without a trailer. Be sure you keep in mind that it takes additional time and distance to stop. Avoid tailgating and pay attention to what’s happening further down the road than you normally would.

8. Pay Attention to Details

Some states are calling for stiffer penalties when there are accidents caused by trailers that break loose. It will be criminal negligence, not a mistake. Pay attention to the details, including hitches, safety chains, signal light hookups, handling, weight, tow vehicle capacity, and tires.

9. Use AMSOIL Synthetic Transmission Fluid and Gear Lube

Towing is one of the most demanding activities on a vehicle’s drive train system. In fact, because of the heat generated, towing is probably the number one killer of transmissions. For this reason many people install an oil cooler. An alternative is to use a high end synthetic lubricant. As a result of the reduced friction, the tranny will run cooler, and transmission life will be lengthened considerably. Tests have shown that AMSOIL synthetic automatic transmission fluid provides useful service up to twice as longer as conventional fluids.

Details

AMSOIL

AMSOIL RV products

AMSOIL RV products

From the initial breakthrough 40 years ago, AMSOIL has gone on to formulate a wide selection of synthetic lubricating oils for all types of engine and gear applications, including those for specialized vehicles and severe operating conditions.

In addition, AMSOIL has developed sophisticated fuel additives, filtration systems and other companion products that supplement and extend lubricant performance.

The history of AMSOIL product introductions defines an entire industry. AMSOIL synthetic motor oil, gear lube, automatic transmission fluid, two-cycle oil and other products helped introduce a new age in equipment and engine design.

Engineers today recognize synthetic lubricants as critical to increasing the power, longevity and energy efficiency of vehicles and equipment, providing concrete testimony to AMSOIL innovation.

Address: 925 Tower Avenue, Superior, WI 54880

Phone: (800) 956-5695 (toll free)

Website: amsoil.com

Worth Pondering…

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

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