The last thing you want to happen when pulling a trailer is to break down and need someone to come tow both your vehicle and your trailer. If this is your first summer towing a trailer, make sure you take care of the following four important items before you set off on your trip:
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Vehicle Can Pull Your Trailer
Just because your vehicle has a hitch does not mean that it is equipped to tow your trailer. Your vehicle has a towing capacity limit; it cannot safely tow anything that goes over that limit.
If your vehicle is just below the towing weight of the trailer you want to pull, you may be able to get a towing kit installed that will strength your vehicle and allow it to pull your trailer. However, if your trailer is well above the limit for your vehicle, you may need to look into purchasing, renting, or borrowing a vehicle that can handle the load you want to pull.
Tip #2: Get Your Vehicle A Check-Up
Before you head out on the road with your trailer, you need to make sure that your vehicle is up for the job. Before you head out, you should pull through your local auto repair shop and have the mechanic check all of your fluid levels, especially your oil and coolant levels.
Just to be on the safe side, you may also want to pack an extra container of motor fluid and coolant; that way, if your levels get low on your trip, you will be able to top them off on your own.
You should also make sure that the mechanic checks your tire pressure; your tires and your vehicle will be handling a lot more than they are used to, making it especially important that your tires are filled properly. You should also make sure that your tires are not worn out. If the tread it low, you should replace your tires before towing your trailer.
Tip #3: Don't Forget To Run A Safety Check On Your Trailer
You should also run a safety check on your trailer before you set out. Make sure that your tires are full of air and that the treed is not worn down.
Hook your trailer up to your vehicle and make sure that the connection between your brake and tail lights is working properly. If the lights have died, you will need to replace them before you start on your trip.
Tip #4: Make Sure The Weight Is Even In Your Trailer
Finally, before you set off, make sure that the weight is evenly distributed across your trailer. If you have more weight on one side, try your best to balance it out before you get on the road. Excessive weight on one side of your trailer (and thus on your vehicle) can strain your vehicle and your tires. The more evenly balanced your load is, the easier it will be to pull it.
The key to not breaking down while pulling a trailer for the first time is to be prepared. Make sure that your vehicle is up for the task as hand, and that both your vehicle and your trailer are in good shape before you hit the road. If you ever encounter any of the dangerous situations mentioned above, it is best to call a professional towing company, like Martinez Towing. If you take the precautions above, you greatly reduce the chance that you'll end up broken down on the side of the road with your trailer in need of a tow yourself.