The Ultimate Towing Guide
Whether that trailer you’re hitching to your vehicle is loaded with work equipment or personal watercraft for a weekend at the lake, you have to know how to hook things up correctly, safely and efficiently.
Towing is a serious task and a safety-first attitude is paramount. Even if you have experience and excellent driving skills, things happen on the road – vehicles can cut you off or phone-zombie pedestrians might walk out in front of you. Your safety – your life and the safety and lives of others – depends on your knowledge, your skills, and the way you configure and maintain the trailer or other vehicle you are towing.
So let’s start with some basic terms:
Campers - -them too. Heavy stuff toward the front. Doing so will ensure that you have equal pressure on the tires for an easier towing experience.
Successful towing is a result of configuration, drivetrain, wheelbase, engine, hitch and gear ratios working together.
Here are other parts of the equation that play important roles:
Know your vehicle’s GCWR.
Those letters stand for gross combined weight rating and refer to the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers and cargo plus the trailer and its load. It’s the maximum safe weight the vehicle can handle. Manufacturers determine the GCWR and smart drivers know not to exceed the guideline.
How do you find your GCWR? Look on the vehicle ID sticker on the inside of the driver’s door jamb.
Know the tongue weight capacity. Tongue weight is the amount of weight the trailer and its load will put on the hitch. Make sure the trailer does not exceed your vehicle’s hitch capacity.
In general, tongue weight should be 10 to 15 percent of gross trailer weight.
How do you find the hitch rating and tongue weight capacity (TWC)?
If your vehicle has a factory-installed hitch, check your owner’s manual. Factory installations always specify max weight and TWC for both the vehicle and the hitch, which are generally the same. You can also check the label on your hitch.
If you can’t find it, contact your local Mullinax dealership. We’re here to help you find the information you need and to answer your questions about towing, hitches, trailers, and other details.
You can also calculate your gross towing capacity yourself. This article from StorAway2.com explains how, and also does some quick math.
Here’s a brief look at what you can expect from your vehicle’s manufacturer. For additional info, contact your Mullinax dealership.
You want towing capacity? You can’t go wrong with a Ford. On the low end, a Mustang with an after-market hitch can pull about 1,500 pounds – think a motorcycle in the summer or a snowmobile for a winter getaway.
The largest trucks, like the F-350 Super Duty, not only tow the heaviest loads, but they also offer such technology as blind spot coverage, sway control, trailer brake control, trailer backup assist, and a 360-degree camera package as standard features or available options.
Need more of a reason to buy a Ford for your towing needs? Check out the comprehensive towing guide on the company website.
Ready to put everything together? Here’s how to hook up:
If everything is working properly, you’re ready to go! Get out there and enjoy yourself. Or tow your trailer to the job site. Whatever you need to do.
Any questions? Our staff at your nearby dealership is ready to help with any issues you may have.
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