Important Information on Towing Contact
TOWING EQUIPMENT OWNERS: Make sure all operators of your equipment
read and understand this information before towing. Save for reference.
This will help you properly select, use and maintain your towing
equipment. Refer to owner's manuals for your tow vehicle, trailer,
and other parts of your towing system. Learn the capabilities and
limitations of each part. GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT and TONGUE WEIGHT
are two of the most important items to consider. THESE WEIGHTS MUST
NEVER EXCEED THE LOWEST RATING OF ANY PART OF YOUR TOWING SYSTEM.
GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT is the weight of the trailer plus all cargo.
Measure GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT by putting the fully loaded trailer
on a vehicle scale. TONGUE WEIGHT is the downward force exerted
on the ball by the trailer coupler. Measure TONGUE WEIGHT with the
fully loaded trailer on a level surface. The coupler must be at
its normal towing height. Use a commercial scale or a bathroom scale
Set up the bathroom scale as shown for heavy tongue weights.
YOUR TOWING EQUIPMENT
TRAILER HITCHES, RECEIVERS AND BALL MOUNTS
Select these products by their gross trailer weight and tongue weight
ratings. Select hitches and receivers for specific vehicles.
Select by gross trailer weight rating, mounting platform thickness
and hole size, and coupler socket size Platform must be at least
3/8 inch thick. Hole must not exceed threaded shank diameter by
more than 1/16 inch Use lock washer. Tighten per instructions. When
tightened, shank must protrude beyond bottom of nut. Gross trailer
weight rating and ball diameter are marked on DRAW-TITE balls.
The coupler socket should be smooth, clean and lightly lubricated.
Tighten or adjust per coupler manufacturer's instructions.
Connect safety chains properly EVERY TIME YOU TOW. Cross chains
under coupler. Attach securely to the hitch or tow vehicle so they
can't bounce loose. Leave only enough slack to permit full turning.
Too much slack may prevent chains from maintaining control if other
connections separate. Don't let chains drag on the road.
TRAILER LIGHTS, TURN SIGNALS, ELECTRIC BRAKES AND BREAK AWAY
Make these safety-critical connections EVERY TIME YOU TOW, no matter
how short the trip. Check operation, including electric brake manual
control, before getting on the road.
Sway controls can lessen the effects of sudden maneuvers, wind gusts
and buffeting caused by other vehicles. We recommend them for trailers
with large surface areas, such as travel trailers. Adjustable friction
model scan help control trailers with low tongue weight percentage.
OTHER USEFUL EQUIPMENT
AIR SPRINGS, AIR SHOCKS or HELPER SPRINGS are useful for
some hitch applications. A TRANSMISSION COOLER may be necessary
for heavy towing. Many states require TOWING MIRRORS on both sides.
Check often. Follow tow vehicle and trailer manufacturers' recommendations.
Improper tire inflation can cause trailer sway.
CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT / REPLACE WORN PARTS
Check ball, coupler, chains, retaining pins and clips, and all other
connections EVERY TIME YOU TOW. Recheck at fuel and rest stops.
SAFE TOWING TIPS
NO PASSENGERS IN TRAILERS!
Never allow people in trailers while towing, under any circumstances.
Proper loading helps prevent sway. Place heavy objects on the floor
ahead of the axle. Balance the load side-to-side. Secure it to prevent
shifting. Tongue weight should be 10-15 percent of gross weight
for most trailers. Too low a percentage of tongue weight can cause
sway. NEVER load the trailer rear-heavy. LOAD THE TRAILER HEAVIER
The additional weight of a trailer affects acceleration, braking
and handling. Allow extra time for passing, stopping and changing
lanes Severe bumps can damage your towing vehicle, hitch and trailer.
Drive slowly on rough roads. STOP AND MAKE A THOROUGH INSPECTION
IF ANY PART OF YOUR TOWING SYSTEM STRIKES THE ROAD. CORRECT ANY
PROBLEMS BEFORE RESUMING TRAVEL.
CHECK FOR EXCESSIVE SWAY AND ELIMINATE IT
Excessive sway can lead to loss of control. Sway motion should settle
out quickly. Sway tends to increase on a downgrade. Starting slowly,
increase speed in gradual steps. If sway occurs, adjust your trailer
load and equipment. Repeat until the trailer is stable at highway
speed. Do this whenever your trailer loading changes.
IF YOUR TRAILER SUDDENLY STARTS TO SWAY
Turbulence from another vehicle, a wind gust, or a downgrade can
cause sudden sway. So can a shift of the trailers load or a trailer
tire blow out. IF THE TRAILER SWAYS, IT IS THE DRIVER'S RESPONSIBILITY
TO ASSESS THE SITUATION AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION. Below are suggestions
that may apply, depending on conditions:
- Reduce your speed
- Hold the steering wheel as steady as possible.
- If your trailer has electric brakes, apply the trailer brakes
alone, without using the tow vehicle's brakes
- Don't hit your brake pedal hard unless absolutely necessary.
A "jackknife" can result.
- Don't try to steer out of the sway condition. Sudden or violent
steering can make it worse.
- Don't speed up. Sway increases as you go faster.
- Don't continue towing a trailer that tends to sway. You may
lose control during an emergency maneuver or if the conditions
listed above occur.