What do you need to know before you tow?

If you ever plan to involve yourself in activities such as moving, hauling equipment, boating, camping or some sort of automotive pastime, such as auto crossing or drag racing, then chances are you’ll need to do some towing and you may need to rent a trailer to accomplish the task. At Rental Stop we carry a variety of trailers that our customers use to move all kinds of things. One of the most critical factors to consider will be the capability of your vehicle to tow the trailer you need to perform the job safely and with as little effort as possible. Must paaenger car bumpers are not able to tow a medium weight trailer woithout being re-enforced.

Make sure you truck, van or car is prepared to tow the rental trailer before you go and rent the item. Here at Rental Stop , we have had customers try to rent a tractor and pull it with a Toyota Camry. This will not turn out well for the customer or for Rental Stop. Two of the most important things to have when you tow are basic common sense and the ability to adjust your driving. In other words, when towing, everything you do while driving needs to be done at about half the speed when compared to driving without a trailer. When you turn, go much slower. When you accelerate, do it much easier. When you brake, allow yourself a great deal more space to stop. And when you change lanes, allow room for your vehicle and the trailer.

As far as cars go, a full-size body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive car like a Ford Crown Victoria (rated to tow 2,000 pounds) or Chevy Caprice is a basic minimum for towing anything approaching the weight of a 2,000-pound trailer. For smaller trailers, a smaller car can work, but for hauling anything more than 2,000 pounds you’re going to need a truly tow-friendly vehicle. Ideally, a truck or an SUV is always a smart choice for towing a boat or camper. Even a compact pickup is going to be better than just about any car. For heavier loads (say more than 4,000 pounds) a half-ton truck like will meet the needs of just about any of the trailer-towing basics we’re discussing here. But even among half-ton trucks, towing ability can vary.

Besides the tow vehicle and the trailer, the other critical element is, of course, the hitch. Trailer hitches are rated according to capacity of the load weight and tongue weight. Load weight is referenced in terms of Gross Trailer Weight (GTW, see chart at the end of article). Tongue weight is the downward force exerted on the hitch ball. This is usually calculated at 10-15 percent of the maximum rated GTW. The tongue is usually formed from the V-shaped merging of the trailer framerails at the front of the trailer. The coupler of the trailer is what accepts the hitch ball. At Rental Stop, we use a 2″ ball which is the most common size in use today. Also, be very concious of the air pressure in your trailers tires. A blowout there can create real handling and braking problems for the most experienced driver. So, ask that the tires be checked before you leave the rental facility.

As we mentioned at the beginning, your driving style when towing a trailer needs to change dramatically. If you’ve never towed a trailer before and you’re nervous about it, we’d strongly recommend seeking out someone who has had experience with towing. In general, you need to remember that when you are towing, you have considerably less room for margin of error. Your vehicle and trailer are much less maneuverable and nimble than your car or truck is without a trailer, and it’s critical that you always compensate for the added length the trailer adds when you change lanes so that you don’t run anyone off the road.

If you are unsure of what you need to safely complete your towing task, call us at 972-336-0059 and our expert Rental Stop staff will assist you in making a great decision.

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