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Common Towing Mistakes

23286098_sIf you’ve been reading along in our series of articles, you’ve learned some tips and rules to follow when you’re towing. Remember, if you’re moving a car with the engine off, make sure it’s in neutral to prevent damage!

We’re changing things up for you with this article. Instead of providing you with what you should do correctly, you’re going to hear about the most common mistakes people perform when towing. If you find yourself doing anything on this list, stop! These range from minor to serious, but they should all be avoided to ensure a safe and successful tow.

Not Knowing Your Ratings

Trucks and cars that can tow have associated ratings on what they can and cannot carry. Since they can only carry and haul so much weight before you start hurting the tow vehicle, knowing these ratings are important so that you don’t overload the car. Failing to abide by these rules and overtax the tow vehicle can result in damages to the following parts of your car:

  1. Brakes
  2. Suspension
  3. Transmission
  4. Tires
  5. Frame

Before you tow anything, make sure you read the towing guides and regulations that come with your car. If you’ve lost your car’s manual, you can always find the towing ratings for all makes and models online.

Not Adjusting Your Brakes

This doesn’t mean you have to take your car to a mechanic to tighten the brakes or anything, but your breaking pattern needs to be adjusted while you’re towing. You see, the extra weight from a towed trailer, vehicle or cargo results in your vehicle having extra momentum. That extra momentum means it takes a longer amount of time to reduce your speed. Unaware drivers forget this and continue to break at the same distance they would normally. Failing to give yourself extra time to stop not only endangers yourself, but other cars on the road.

Some trailers come equipped with separate breaking system. Trailer brakes not only improve control, but they also will stop the trailer if it gets separated from the tow vehicle. Most states have laws saying trailers over a certain weight must have these brakes installed. Make sure you consult your local towing laws to find out the rules that apply to you.

Not Loading Your Cargo Properly

Of course, one of the most important things about towing cargo is in that cargo itself. The weight of what you’re towing needs to be as evenly distributed as possible. By spreading out the weight (preferably with 60% of the total weight in front of the axle for balance), you keep the center of gravity low and prevent losing control of your trailer.

These are just a few of the most common towing mistakes we see. Whatever you’re towing, make sure you’re towing it safely. Keep checking back as we update you with common towing mistakes.