Common Mistakes Made When Towing A Trailer

Towing a trailer of any kind is, if not done properly, a risky endeavor at best. Trailers make our life a lot easier because they allow us to haul things around that are too big to fit in our vehicles, transport animals, and travel extensively with homes on wheels. But not everyone knows how to haul a trailer properly, and that’s where the trouble begins.

In an effort to help those pulling trailers do it properly, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes that could end up badly, if not avoided.

Traveling Without Insurance

It is essential that you have adequate insurance as your number one safety precaution. Check your auto policy to see if a trailer is covered under it and consider broader coverage including lodging reimbursement, personal effects replacement, total loss recovery, etc.

No One Checked the Tire Pressure

Your tires could need inflating if you haven’t used that trailer for a while. Changing weather can also have an effect on the air in your tires. It’s extremely dangerous to drive with underinflated tires and a fully loaded trailer. Possible rollovers and blowouts can be the result because friction is produced by underinflated tires. Before you travel, run a check on all tires involved – trailer and towing vehicle.

Forgot There Was a Trailer Back There!

Never forget that you are pulling a trailer and that while it’s back there, your vehicle will be less responsive no matter how nimble or strong you may think it is. You won’t be able to brake as fast, turn as fast, or accelerate as fast as you could without the trailer. You want to make sure that you have extra time to slow down, stop, or change lanes, so keep an eye out further up the road.

Improperly Loaded Cargo

The entire issue of control will be far more difficult with an off-balance trailer. Cargo should always be evenly distributed. While not too far forward, most of the weight (60%) should be in front of the axle. All items should be secured so that they don’t shift during turns and stops. Try to assure that the center of gravity is kept low, overall.

Forgot to Attach The Wires

With most trailers, because of their size or their load, cars traveling directly behind you can’t see your turn signals, brake lights, backup lights, etc. Individuals hauling trailers are required by federal law to equip their trailers with reflectors, turn signals, taillights, and brake lights. If you don’t hook up the connector that combines electrical systems between the trailer and towing vehicle, the trailer lights will not receive power. Make sure, while you’re at it, that the wires are loose enough not to come disconnected, but tight enough that they don’t drag on the road.

Not Being Aware of Your Ratings

There are a number of ratings that figure into the proper towing of a trailer. If the demand on your tow vehicle is too great (because the trailer is overloaded), blown out tires, overheated transmissions, broken suspensions, and failing brakes can be the result. Do everything in your power to be aware of the following ratings:

  • Tongue Weight
  • Towing Capacity
  • GAWR (gross axle weight rating)
  • GCWR (gross combination weight rating)
  • GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating)

At Mickey Genuine Parts we have new and used trailers of all kinds. We also have service centers located throughout the United States at which to get your vehicles and trailers repaired or accessorized. Contact us today to see what Mickey Genuine Parts can do for you, your trailer, your company, and more.

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