Preparing Your Car or Truck for Towing
Breakdowns, accidents, and toppled trailers are all the result of not being prepared for the task of towing heavy objects with your vehicle. Below are some tips for making your car or truck ‘tow-worthy’ for whatever job is set before you.
- Be Equipped – You can’t tow anything by tying it to your car or truck’s back bumper or fender via rope or chains, so don’t even try. These jury-rigged tow jobs almost always end badly, with your precious cargo breaking free from its moorings and flying off down the road, into another car on the road, or into a ditch on the side of the road. Instead, make sure your car or truck is equipped with the right tow bar or tow hitch and that it is designed to haul the weight you are pulling, as well as making sure the bar or hitch is mounted to your car or truck correctly and firmly. Better safe than sorry is the rule here when it comes to towing equipment for your vehicle.
- Lubrication – Towing causes increased stress on your vehicle and forces the engine to work much harder. The last thing you want to do is overheat your engine, so it melts down while you’re hauling something heavy. An easy way to prepare for this possibility is to change and upgrade your lubricants to high-performance, high-temperature selections that are made to withstand higher demands on your engine and to preserve the moving parts.
- Shocks & Springs –If you’re going to be doing a lot of towing, these additional elements are heartily recommended, since both springs and shocks will help to stabilize your vehicle and can prove to be lifesavers when you encounter bad roads.
- Lights & Tow Mirrors – if your car or truck is equipped with an electrical system that supports brake lights and cruising lights for your towed trailer, use them! Especially at night, other drivers will be looking for your brake lights to tell them when you are stopping, and if your lights are eclipsed by whatever you are towing, it’s the legal thing to do to make sure your towed trailer is illuminated for those riding behind you. In the same way, extended side mirrors make your job as the driver much easier.