Safe towing, like all safe driving, requires the driver to maintain control of the vehicle, but safe towing is maintaining control of two vehicles, which is a bigger task with greater responsibility. Husky Towing Products provides equipment that makes the very critical connection between truck and trailer, not only to keep the two securely joined, but to keep them under control through anti-sway, weight distribution, proper clearance, electronics and trailer braking components.
It’s important to understand that a properly equipped vehicle goes well beyond the towing equipment. Tow vehicle and trailer must be in good mechanical condition with all of the critical systems (including brakes, steering, suspension, drive train, electrical, wheels and tires) functioning properly.
These can be found in the owner’s manual and in the manufacturer’s towing guide. Among the most important concepts in towing safely is staying within the manufacturer’s listed tow capacity for your tow vehicle while staying in compliance with law enforcement regulations for the area in which you are operating.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Manufacturers’ tow vehicle ratings address tongue weight as well as the individual, combined, and fully loaded weights at which a tow vehicle can safely tow a trailer.”
You added air springs? That may help handling but you didn’t address the brakes or the engine cooling limitations. You also did not improve axle strength, tire pressure ratings or frame load limits. If you want to tow more weight, you need a vehicle that was designed and tested with a higher tow rating capacity as listed in the manufacturer’s towing guide for that specific vehicle.
Keep in mind that the maximum tow rating for any given vehicle is with the ideal towing configuration. Since fifth wheel and gooseneck trailers place the tongue weight of the trailer just ahead of the rear axle, these ratings are generally higher than other configurations.
The maximum conventional trailer (non-fifth wheel or gooseneck) tow rating capacities for most vehicles require the use of weight distribution hitch systems. Sway control systems are also mentioned in many of the towing guides published by the vehicle manufacturers. Here at Husky, we can help you equip your tow vehicle with the best in weight distribution and sway control systems.
Properly equipped means matching tow vehicles with trailer types and sizes and factoring in the cargo weight of the vehicle (including passenger and gear) and the actual weight of the loaded trailer. The loaded weight of the tow vehicle plus the loaded weight of the trailer is known as the gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCWR).
There are a number of additional capacities that one must be aware of when preparing to tow. These include hitch receiver weight capacity, weight-carrying maximum trailer capacity, weight-distributing maximum trailer capacity, maximum tongue load and gross axle weight rating, to name a few.
A Husky Towing Products dealer can help you negotiate the capacities and required equipment for your tow vehicle and trailer combination, but the initiative and responsibility begins and ends with the driver. It’s not enough to have the right towing equipment. It must be properly installed, adjusted and inspected each time a trailer is hooked up and towed. Trailer brake control settings, weight distribution system setup and placement of cargo in both tow vehicle and trailer are among the trip preparations that must be made for each outing.
Additionally, driver training is an important aspect of safe towing. Larger overall vehicle configuration and significantly increased weight means you’ll need more time to stop, more time to pass and more room to maneuver. Carefully read the instructions for both tow vehicle and trailer and get some practice time with an experienced trailer owner. Operating a properly equipped towing combination can be a very rewarding experience. Keeping your passengers and fellow travelers safe is a top priority. Husky can help!