Diagnosing Car Troubles

After I got stranded in a seemingly remote place for a few hours, I realized that I really needed to do my part to learn more about auto repair. I started focusing on my auto skills, and before I knew it, I knew enough to change my own oil and fuel filters. After spending a few weekends tweaking my ride, I was even capable of fixing minor issues on my own--without any help. This blog is all about fixing up your car so that you can enjoy the ride you have always wanted. I know that it has helped me to enjoy the road, and I know that it can help you too.

Summer Safe Towing Tips

Automotive Articles

Summer is America's unofficial driving season. Although you might think that driving in winter conditions like icy, snowy, roads would be more dangerous, both traffic fatalities and accidents increase significantly during the summer.  

Unfortunately, many of these accidents and fatalities have one commonality: towing. Towing a trailer of virtually every shape, size, and/or configuration increases your odds of being involved in an accident.

If you plan on towing a boat, atv, or trailer to this summer, here are some tips to help make sure that your drive is safe.

Know What You Can Tow

Towing accidents often occur when drivers attempt to tow a trailer or item that's too big or heavy. It's important to always consult your vehicle's owner's manual before you attempt to tow something. Although each manufacturer is likely to have some specific towing guidelines, here are some general towing rules to following:

  • Length: never tow a trailer that's much longer than the size of your vehicle.  Towing a trailer that's significantly longer than your vehicle makes it more likely to sway when you're at higher speeds or when you encounter cross-winds. The longer the tow trailer, the harder it will be to correct this potentially dangerous swaying.

  • Weight: towing a vehicle will strain your vehicle's engine, transmission, and braking system. To prevent permanent damage to your vehicle and to ensure safe towing, you'll need to know approximately how much weight you're towing. Towing weights fall into the following five categories:

    • Class 1: 2000 pounds GTW/200 pounds tongue weight*

    • Class 2: 3500 pounds GTW/350 pounds tongue weight

    • Class 3: 5000 pounds GTW/500 pounds tongue weight

    • Class 4: 7500 pounds GTW/750 pounds tongue weight

    • Class 5: 10,000 pounds GTW/1000 pounds tongue weight

    *GTW = Gross Trailer Weight

Your vehicle's owner's manual and your trailer hitch should indicate what "class" of objects your vehicle can safely tow.

Know How to Tow

Many drivers assume that simply driving a little slower is the only precaution they need to take when towing something. Although driving slower is a good rule to follow, it's more important to make sure that you drive deliberately.

Deliberate driving means knowing exactly where you're going before you set out on your trip. This also means making sure that your mapping coordinates are plotted and you have a clear idea of where you're going.  Additionally, you should be able to signal and brake significantly earlier than you might otherwise.  

Many driving accidents involving towing vehicles occur when drivers attempt to make last minute maneuvers like sudden lane changes or turns.

Know How to Double (or Triple) Check

Trailer towing safety is all about double (or triple) checking. Consider completing the following checklist before and during your tow.

  • Safety Chains: always make sure that safety chains are securely attaching your trailer to your tow hitch. Crossing your safety chains will also ensure that your trailer is stabilized if you're forced to rely on your chains while driving.

  • Tire Pressure: rapidly rising and plummeting summer temperatures can cause your trailer's tire pressure to reach dangerously low or high levels. Before leaving on your trip, you should always test your tire pressure. Furthermore, if you experience particularly hot and/or cold temperatures during your drive you should stop, check, and, if need be, adjust your trailer tire pressure.

  • Trailer Lights: as your trailer bumps and bounces down the highway, your trailer light wiring can become loose and malfunction. Thus, it's always a good idea to check your brake and turning signal lights before, during, and after your tow.

A convenient time to run through this checklist while you're on the road is whenever you stop to gas up your vehicle. If you're unsure of your ability to two a trailer safely, you may want to consider hiring a tow truck service like Country City Towing to tow your trailer for your to the necessary location. 


13 June 2016