Before towing a trailer, there are a few requirements you will have to meet. If overlooked, you risk putting the drivers around you in danger. Here is what you need to know before towing a trailer.
What is required to tow a trailer?
There are a few parts and items necessary before towing a trailer. You can order these parts online or find them at a local dealer.
The lighting on your main vehicle is not bright enough to accommodate the trailer behind you. Bearing that in mind, you will need to install some lighting on your trailer that will work to alert others of your vehicle.
Proper lighting is a legal requirement in most states. As a universal rule, every state requires tail lights and license plate lights to be installed on the back of your trailer. On top of that, most states also require brake lights, turn signals, and reflectors. These all depend on where you live, so make sure that you research your area’s laws regarding trailer towing.
A Trailer Hitch
Investing in the right trailer hitch is imperative if you want everything to go according to plan. The last thing you want to happen on the road is for your trailer to disconnect from your vehicle. Should this happen, many people’s lives will be put in danger. Finding a trailer hitch that is durable, easy to use, and reliable should be your first priority!
On the off chance that your trailer hitch fails, then you should have a backup plan in place. Safety chains are required by law in most states; however, it is a good idea to install them regardless of legality. They cross over the hitch in the shape of an x and connect the trailer to the main vehicle. Safety chains are not a replacement for a trailer hitch, but they can save your vehicle should something go wrong.
What size trailer can you tow?
Before attaching your vehicle to your trailer, you need to figure out its towing capacity. It is important to note that your vehicle’s carrying capacity and towing capacity are drastically different. Carrying capacity refers to how much you can store in the vehicle, whereas towing capacity is the amount of weight that can be dragged behind the vehicle.
If you are unsure as to what your vehicle’s towing capacity is, then you have a few options. Consulting the internet, a professional, or the company that you bought it from should all provide you with a satisfactory answer. With that being said, once you figure out your vehicle’s towing capacity, you should follow the 80/20 rule.
What is the 80/20 rule for towing?
The 80/20 rule is a safety measure that RV owners across the world follow. Essentially it states that you should never tow above 80% of your vehicle’s capacity. You may be tempted to push your vehicle to its limit; however, doing so puts it at risk of damage. While yes, a vehicle should be able to manage its towing capacity, that is only when it is under perfect conditions. Outside factors such as weather, time, and deterioration can all lower your vehicle’s towing capacity. As such, the 80/20 rule exists to stop accidents from occurring.
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