Pulling a party trailer down the road may sound like fun – it’s the word “party” that does it – but it comes with responsibility. There are certain factors to consider in order to assure the safety of the trailer, the tow vehicle, the drivers around you, and yourself. To make for a truly safe party trailer towing experience, you must have a full understanding of things like tire ratings, trailer brakes, weight distribution, hitches, vehicle weight ratings, and more.
When It’s Time To Load Up
First things first – know the towing capacity (or max trailer rating) of your towing vehicle. This is the maximum weight that your car, truck, or SUV was designed to tow safely. Several factors go into figuring out a vehicle’s max towing capacity. Some things that go into this calculation are tires, brake size, gear ratio, engine, and weight. If you are unsure of your vehicle’s max trailer rating, check your owner’s manual.
It is not possible to increase the towing capacity of a vehicle. It is what it is. If your loaded party trailer is too heavy to safely tow with your vehicle, either use a bigger tow vehicle or consider removing enough from the inside of the trailer to lighten the load considerably.
Pulling too heavy of a load can severely limit your stopping and handling ability. Heavy loads take longer to stop and are harder to maneuver. Additionally, towing too heavy a load takes a toll on bearings, transmission, brakes, tires, and other components. The maintenance bill that will result from pulling loads that are too heavy will not be worth the trouble.
Max Weight Should Be Determined When Trailer Is Fully Loaded
If you choose a towing vehicle that will pull a trailer that weighs 8,000 lbs., that doesn’t mean that your empty trailer should weigh 8,000 lbs. Once you load supplies, food, drinks, propane and batteries (if needed), etc. into the trailer, it’s going to be considerably heavier. The trailer may have a weight label but check with the dealer if you can’t find it. That number (weight) only states the weight of the empty trailer and includes any options that were factory installed.
Figure Out The Hitch Class
Now that your trailer is loaded and weighed, you can figure out what class of hitch you will need. Here is a guide for class and weight:
Class V – 13,000lbs.
Class IV – 12,000 lbs.
Class III – 5,000lbs.
Class II – 3,500lbs.
Class I –2,000 lbs.
If you are pulling a super heavy load, it is recommended that you use a gooseneck hitch or a fifth wheel. The utmost level of stability is provided with this extra precaution. This is due to the pivot point of the trailer and truck being shifted forward. The tow vehicle won’t be “wagged” by the trailer this way, either.
At Mickey, we carry all kinds of trailers in addition to party trailers. We have new and used refrigerated beverage trailers, bulk trailers, non-refrigerated beverage trailers, and the tractors used to tow them. We carry vans, vending bodies, and so much more. Mickey Genuine Parts also has an impressive inventory of parts that can be expedited to your location – many times within one day of ordering. Contact Mickey today to see how our customer service professionals can be of assistance.