The last thing you want to happen while you’re getting ready to hit the road is to have your car break down. A vehicle that suddenly breaks down may ruin your day no matter where you are: on the way to work, out doing errands, or even on vacation. That’s why it’s so important to have a basic understanding of how to tow a vehicle in case of an unfortunate event.
It goes without saying that preparation is the key to success while traveling, both financially and physically. Read on to find out what you need to do to get your car ready for a breakdown before you even start the engine.
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Why is Preparation Necessary for Safe Towing?
Towing may have a major effect on a vehicle’s performance and safety, so getting your car ready for it is crucial. Your vehicle’s braking, acceleration, and handling may all suffer as a result of the car’s added weight and pressure. Accidents, damaged vehicles, and even injuries to you and other drivers may arise from not preparing your car for towing correctly.
In addition, it may lead to costly repairs or replacements that can be avoided with some proactive planning. It is important to make sure your vehicle is ready for towing in order to safeguard yourself and your cargo from any potential dangers on the road.
Pre-Towing Safety Precautions You Need to Take
To guarantee the safety of the car and its passengers throughout the towing operation, numerous crucial technical considerations must be taken into account before the vehicle is towed. This procedure includes the following steps:
Determine the Towing Capacity before Everything Else
The first thing to do is check the vehicle’s maximum towing capability. To determine this, see the owner’s handbook or get in touch with the manufacturer. Avoid overloading the towing capacity of your car as it’s dangerous to overload a vehicle’s towing capacity. Overstressing a car’s engine, gearbox, and brakes by hauling more than it can handle may cause the vehicle to overheat, lock up the brakes, or even fail to move. There’s also the risk of collisions and other mishaps if the vehicle being towed is too heavy for the towing truck.
Moreover, the towing capacity is determined by the manufacturer depending on the durability and capability of the vehicle’s parts, such as the engine, gearbox, suspension, and brakes, as well as the frame and cooling system. Overloading a vehicle’s towing capability above what’s advised by the manufacturer may lead to expensive repairs or even a complete vehicle breakdown, putting the lives of the driver and passengers in danger. Determining the maximum weight that a vehicle is capable of towing is a crucial stage in the towing process as it helps to ensure that the load being towed doesn’t exceed the manufacturer’s recommended maximums, which might otherwise cause serious problems.
Pick a Weight-Compatible
Make sure the hitch you choose can handle the weight you want to haul with your car. It’s important that the hitch is properly fastened to the vehicle’s frame and that the ball’s diameter is compatible with the coupler on the towed vehicle. This is important because of the following reasons:
- The safety of the vehicle and its hitch are both increased when the hitch is built to function with the vehicle’s unique towing capability. When the weight shifts or sways because of a mismatched hitch, it poses a risk of collision and may cause damage to the towing truck, the towed vehicle, and other objects on the road.
- Fuel economy and the life of the vehicle’s engine, gearbox, and brakes may all be improved by properly hitching the trailer. Reduced performance from a mismatched hitch may make towing more difficult, impair fuel economy, and put more stress on the vehicle’s parts.
- To guarantee that the hitch can be connected and detached without causing any harm to the car’s frame or other components, it must be built to operate with the exact make and model of the vehicle. As a result, the car lasts longer and needs less maintenance over time.
Install Safety Chains before Towing
When towing, safety chains should always be used because of the vital role they play in keeping your car attached to your trailer in the case of a breakdown or accident. In case of a hitch failure, the towed vehicle will maintain stability due to the safety chains. If the hitch fails, the tongue of the vehicle being towed might fall to the ground unless the chains are crossed beneath it and fastened to the hitch. This helps keep the towed vehicle from veering out of control and perhaps crashing into other vehicles or damaging roadside infrastructure.
Most states and provinces also have laws requiring the use of safety chains. To ensure compliance with these laws, it is essential to adhere to local standards and recommendations pertaining to chain size, weight, and positioning.
Make sure the Brakes and Lights Work Properly
Check the functionality of the towing vehicle’s signal lights and braking system. There should be a brake controller and wire harness installed to apply the brakes of the towing vehicle. Checking the lights is also essential to make sure that both the driver and other drivers on the road can see and predict the movements of the towed car. Tow trucks are sometimes difficult to spot in poor light or at night if their lights aren’t working properly. Changing lanes or making turns may be particularly dangerous since oncoming traffic may not see or react to the towing vehicle.
It goes without saying that while towing a big weight or traveling on a steep slope, having reliable brakes on the towing vehicle is crucial. Most states mandate the use of a brake controller, which triggers the brakes of the towing vehicle, and suggest checking the brakes before setting off on a trip. Apart from that, many states also have laws requiring that you check the lights and brakes before you tow, and you must adhere to their individual norms and requirements for things like light location and performance, as well as brake size, weight, and placement.
Check Tire Pressure
It is important to check the tire pressure and condition of both the towed and towing vehicles. This is crucial because of the increased strain on the tires caused by the additional weight of the load being pulled. When you tow anything, the weight of the load presses down on the tires, which may cause them to overheat and expand, leading to increased tire pressure. A tire blowout is possible if the tires are overinflated, particularly in hot weather or after a lengthy drive. On the other side, underinflated tires will wear out sooner, which in turn will reduce handling, gas mileage, and overall performance.
You can prevent tire failure, enhance handling, and lengthen tire life by checking tire pressure before towing to make sure tires are filled to the right amount for the weight being hauled. Tire pressure should be checked often throughout the journey to make sure the tires are running at the right level, particularly if the weight changes or the weather changes.
Ensure Even Weight Distribution
Make sure you balance out the weight between the towed vehicle and the one doing the towing. When towing, it’s crucial that the load be distributed equally between the wheels and the hitch, since an uneven load may create a number of safety problems and lead to vehicle damage. Improper distribution of weight can result in a towed vehicle becoming unstable, which in turn can cause swaying, fishtailing, and even jackknifing. At high speeds or while making sudden curves, this may be disastrous. The suspension, wheels, and tires may all suffer from damage and diminished performance if the vehicle’s weight is distributed unevenly.
A balanced and steady towing vehicle is less likely to be involved in an accident or cause damage to either the towed vehicle or other drivers. For legal compliance and to prevent fines or penalties, it is also vital to adhere to the particular requirements and recommendations for weight distribution, such as the weight capacity of the towing vehicle and towing vehicle.
Safely Secure the Load
An unrestrained load when towing might move or fall off the vehicle, resulting in collisions, vehicle damage, and traffic hazards for other motorists. If you do not adequately secure a load when towing, it increases the risk of weight shifting during turns, acceleration, or braking. In the worst-case scenario, the load can lose balance and tumble off the tow truck. Moreover, the truck or other roadside items may be damaged if the cargo were to shift or bounce about during delivery.
The likelihood of accidents, vehicle damage, and road hazards can all be reduced by safely securing the load before transit. Any dangling items must be removed from the towed vehicle or fastened down securely, and this may include the use of straps, chains, or other tie-downs. Securing load must also adhere to particular standards and norms, such as weight and tie-down criteria, to guarantee legal compliance and prevent fines or penalties.
Ensure the Brakes Are in Excellent Condition
With the extra weight and length of a towed vehicle, the braking system of the car being towed is placed under excess stress making it crucial to check the brakes before setting off on a tow. Because of the trailer’s added weight and the motion it creates, more brake pressure is needed to bring the vehicle to a stop. Longer stopping distances, a loss of control, or brake failure are just some of the potential safety hazards that may arise from this kind of excessive wear and strain on the braking system.
You should always check the brakes before towing to make sure they are in good working order and can support the additional weight of the towed car. Testing the brake controller to make sure it is activating the towing vehicle brakes properly is one option, along with inspecting the brake pads, calipers, rotors, and brake lines for wear and corrosion. Brake testing should be performed often throughout the journey to verify that the brakes are functioning properly and to identify any problems before they become a safety concern, particularly if the load changes or the weather conditions change.
Best Way to Tow Your Vehicle – Use Towgrace
It is quite apparent that towing your vehicle all by yourself is a demanding and tedious task. It doesn’t only require in-depth knowledge of numerous technical aspects but also continuous monitoring to ensure you and others on the road are never in any kind of danger. That’s why it is usually a better idea to leave towing to the professionals, particularly when it’s quick and easy to find a tow truck nearby.
Towgrace makes it easy to find the right towing service provider for your needs. Simply input your pick-up and drop-off locations and the make and model of your vehicle, and Towgrace will provide you with a list of trusted towing service providers close to your location, along with a price quote. With Towgrace, you can rest easy knowing that you have a reliable and trustworthy tow service just a phone call away. So, next time you find yourself in need of a tow, remember to visit Towgrace for a hassle-free experience.
In conclusion, properly preparing your vehicle for safe towing is essential to ensure a safe and stress-free journey. Towing can significantly impact your vehicle’s performance and safety on the road, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to prepare your vehicle beforehand. Failure to do so can result in accidents, damage, and harm to motorists.
However, by following the above steps, you can avoid these issues and protect both yourself and your cargo. And if you find yourself in need of a reliable tow service, be sure to check out Towgrace. With their help, you can get back on the road in no time.