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Ready to tow?

Everyone loves a road trip. However, in our rush to get away from it all, we often forget that safely towing any type of trailer involves more than hitching it up and driving off. It is important to understand how to prepare your vehicle and trailer for your road trip, and how a vehicle and trailer combination can behave differently than when driving the vehicle on its own.

Preparing for your road trip
“Knowing how much your vehicle can carry and tow is paramount for the safety of you, your passengers and other road users,” says Vikki Mather, Duttons 4x4 and Isuzu UTE Sales Manager.

Vehicle manufacturers provide recommendations on the maximum load that can be safely carried and towed. The total maximum weight of your trailer is also available from the manufacturer. These limits should not be exceeded as overloading compromises safety. If you are towing more than 750kg it is important to install electric brakes to your vehicle.

Combined weight
This is a simple concept when you consider your vehicle and trailer separately. “However, when you attach your trailer to your vehicle, a different set of rules apply for the combined weight. 10% of the trailer’s weight transfers to the vehicle, which is why payload calculations are so important” explains Vikki.

“This means if you’ve packed your vehicle to the max ready for your road trip and you attach your 3,000kg trailer to it, 300kg of weight will transfer to your vehicle’s tow hitch. To stay under the maximum weight limits (payload, GVM and GCM) you may need to repack for weight distribution.”

Weight distribution
Balancing the weight is also essential to safely towing a trailer. Uneven trailer weight can create major problems with steering, braking and sway control. As a general rule, keep the centre of gravity low and over the trailer's axle for the best towing stability.

Maintain your tyre pressures across your vehicle and trailer according to the weights being towed, an additional couple of PSI in the tyres may make all the difference. “Always follow your tyre and manufacturer recommendations as tyre blowouts are never fun, a tyre pressure monitoring system can be of huge assistance to find the balance for your current load and track any unwanted loss of pressure,” Vikki says

Safety features
Review the towing recommendations in your vehicle’s user manual to ensure you activate or de-activate any safety features impacted whilst towing. Be aware that some vehicles use a trailer plug which automatically disconnects safety features for towing. It is important you understand what has been automatically switched off so you can adjust your driving style accordingly.

Want to know more?
Duttons 4x4 can complete a complimentary payload/GVM, GCM calculation and if required provide options and solutions to improve your vehicle’s capacity and performance whilst towing.

Look out for the next edition when John Muir, Duttons RAM Sales Manager shares his tips for driving whilst towing a trailer as opposed to driving the vehicle on its own.

Duttons is a 3rd generation family-owned business, whose over 70 years old legacy continues to provide South Australians with the best new and used car deals across a range of motoring brands. Since opening our doors over 70 years ago, we have sold and serviced many thousands of vehicles and in the process have earnt a reputation for professionalism, honesty and fair dealing.

Our strong reputation, large client base and expansive referral system are a testament to our outstanding levels of customer service throughout every touch point in our business - Our greatest pleasure is in assisting old clients who return to Duttons time and time again to upgrade their vehicle.

Duttons boasts ten new car brands, across 3 dealerships in the Adelaide Hills and Murray Bridge regions; Ford, GWM Haval, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen, RAM and Isuzu UTE.