Fundamentals Of Towing That Every New Trailer Owner Should Understand

  • Friday, March 6th, 2015
  • By admin
  • In Blog
  • Comments Off on Fundamentals Of Towing That Every New Trailer Owner Should Understand

Towing cargo trailers can be thought of as both an art and a science. At some point in your life, you might find it necessary to either buy or rent such a trailer. Whether you are using it only once in your life or regularly, understanding some of the basic principles in the use of trailers will definitely go a long way in making you benefit more from them. Not only will you be in a better position to select the best cargo trailer, but you will also be able to use it in such a manner that it will be safe for you and other people. You will also find that using such principles will make the trailer last longer. This is important if you intend to buy it for regular use.

Some of the basic issues you should be clear about include:

The weights

When using a trailer, the issue of weights is a critical one that needs to be carefully assessed. Most people tend to oversimplify this. You should always remember that the weight rating on your car might not tell the whole story about how much the trailer should weigh. The most important figure in terms of weight in the real world is the gross combined weight rating, rather than the tow rating. The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) is the total maximum amount of weight for the entire assembly including the car itself, any luggage and occupants in the car and the total weight of the laden trailer.

If you only focus on the tow rating when planning on towing a trailer, you may end up exceeding the GCWR. This is normally done when you load the car too much, and then hitch a heavy trailer to it. In such cases, the tow rating be within range, but the fact that the total weight of the entire rig is too high means that the vehicle might not move much.

The mechanical aspects of hitching


You will need to hitch the cargo trailer to the car before setting off. When doing this, you need to first make sure that you get the right size hitch ball. This has to correspond with the trailer. For instance, if you have a 2-inch trailer, your hitch ball should be of the same size as well. Having even a small margin of error could be catastrophic. The trailer might fit on the hitch ball, but the fact that it might be just slightly be oversize means that it might pop off when you are driving along.

You also need to keep an eye on tongue weight. This is the amount of weight that rests on the hitch. Ideally, this should be about 10% of the weight of the trailer. If it’s too little, the joint may sway too much. If it’s too much, the steering of the car may be compromised.

Braking modifications

When you attach a cargo trailer on a car, you will essentially be increasing the amount of weight it has to lug around. As you can imagine, this means that coming to a stop might be a bit more difficult. You will need more space to come to a halt from a particular speed, and your brakes will be worn out faster due to the added weight.

One way to regain some control is by using a trailer with electronic brakes. This way, when you press on the brake pedal, the trailer will also activate its brakes instead of depending on the car’s brakes. This not only gives you more control, but it also ensures that the wear on your car’s brakes is reduced.

If you somehow find it unnecessary to get such brakes, you should consider acquainting yourself with the performance of the car. For instance, you need to have a good idea of how much speed you need to come to a complete halt from a specific speed, so that you can keep this distance between you and the car ahead. Using the intuition you normally have when driving an unhitched car could lead to an accident.


Reversing with a trailer attached to your car is tricky. The trailer will have a tendency to jackknife, making the whole process a lot more complicated than most people can handle. To avoid this, most people advocate that you should always avoid putting yourself in a position where you have to reverse. However, just in case you have to, you could opt to learn how to do it. You can learn to do this in a driving school or in your local car park. In such cases, the key is to learn what to expect.

These are just some of the important things that you need to understand when you want to use a trailer for the first time. They might not sound like much, but understanding the will make you a much safer trailer driver.

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