Some people think towing a trailer, a camper, or another car is a simple task. But there are a lot of things that you need to consider about your vehicle before you hook something up behind it. For instance, does your vehicle have a tow package, what size ball is on the hitch, and do you have trailer brakes? These are things that need to be considered. Let’s break it down.
Does your vehicle have a towing package included from the manufacturer?
If you vehicle has a towing package that means it has a receiver hitch on it. It also will the the electrical components needed so that trailer will have brake lights. You will need to read your manual to find out how much your truck can pull and what the max tongue weight on the hitch is. When calculated the weight you are towing be sure you take all factors into consideration. For instance, if you are towing a camper the weight will be different when it is fully loaded with water and camping supplies.
What size ball is on the hitch?
This is important because the receiver of what you are towing is not a universal size. Recreational and light commercial balls come anywheres from 1 ⅞”, 2”, to 2 5/16”. Some even have a 3” ball. The normal rule is the lighter the trailer the smaller the hitch ball.
Do you have trailer brakes?
This is typically something you or a mechanic installs for you if you decide it is something you need. It is mounted inside the vehicle on the driver's side dashboard area. The device is engages the trailer’s electrical braking system to help the trailer slow down. This is a good idea if you are using a smaller SUV and towing at the max capacity. It will give you more control when slowing down so the trailer doesn’t “push” you.
Other tips and trick when towing is to make sure your side mirrors come out enough so that you can see the sides of what you are towing. When making turns make sure you have determined the proper radius so you don’t cut the turn short and run over something or someone. Last, but not least, check your speed! Stopping distance is greatly increased when towing something behind you. Make sure you are leaving enough space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.