Towing a vehicle can be a real lifesaver in certain situations, like when your car breaks down or you need to transport something heavy. However, many people wonder if towing can actually hurt their vehicle.
Today, we’ll talk about the potential risks involved in towing and provide you with some helpful tips to ensure a safe and smooth towing experience.
Is Towing Bad For Your Car?
Towing with an Underpowered Car
Your car may be a reliable machine, but it has its limits. When it comes to towing an RV or trailer, it’s crucial to consider whether your car’s engine and transmission can handle the added strain.
Let’s put it in perspective. Imagine walking up a hill or down the road effortlessly every day. Now, imagine attempting the same task while carrying a 50-pound backpack or towing a load three times your own body weight. It’s clear that the added weight makes a significant difference.
Towing with an underpowered vehicle can lead to severe engine and transmission problems. To avoid such issues, it’s important to consult your owner’s manual and check your vehicle’s towing capacity before connecting the trailer. This simple step can save you from costly repairs and keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Pulling an Unbalanced Trailer
Another common mistake people make while towing is pulling an unbalanced trailer. When the weight distribution of your trailer is uneven, with most of the weight concentrated towards the rear. This imbalance can put excessive strain on your vehicle’s suspension, tires, and brakes.
It can also lead to swaying or fishtailing, making it difficult to control your vehicle. To prevent this, always ensure that the weight on the trailer is distributed evenly.
Your vehicle’s brakes may work well under normal circumstances, but when you add the weight of a trailer, they might not be sufficient to handle the increased load.
Insufficient brakes while towing can lead to serious consequences. Firstly, you may find it difficult or impossible to bring your vehicle to a stop when needed. Those runaway truck ramps you see on highways are designed for large trucks, but if your brakes can’t handle the load, they may become necessary for you too.
Alternatively, you may not be able to stop in time, resulting in a potential accident. Additionally, the excessive strain on your brake pads and rotors from overuse and exertion can cause them to wear out or even fail.
When you’re towing, it’s crucial to ensure that both your brakes and engine are capable of handling the task. If they can’t, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” towing will ultimately lead to damage to your vehicle.
Tips for Towing a Trailer Safely
To ensure that towing doesn’t hurt your vehicle, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:
Know Your Vehicle’s Towing Capacity: Before towing anything, familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s towing capacity. Exceeding this limit can put excessive strain on your engine, transmission, and other components, leading to damage.
Choose the Right Hitch: Selecting the correct hitch for your towing needs is crucial. Make sure it matches your vehicle’s towing capacity and the weight of the trailer you’re pulling. Additionally, use safety chains to secure the trailer in case the hitch fails.
Distribute the Weight Properly: As mentioned earlier, distributing the weight evenly across the trailer is essential for stability and safe towing. Keep the heaviest items centered and closer to the trailer’s axles.
Check Your Tire Pressure: Before towing, check the tire pressure of both your vehicle and the trailer. Underinflated tires can increase the risk of blowouts and adversely affect handling.
Take It Slow: When towing, it’s crucial to drive at a controlled and steady pace. Avoid sudden accelerations, decelerations, and sharp turns to maintain stability and reduce stress on your vehicle.
Allow for Extra Stopping Distance: Towing adds weight to your vehicle, which means it will take longer to come to a complete stop. Increase your following distance and allow for extra braking time to ensure a safe stopping distance.
By following these tips and being mindful of your vehicle’s capabilities, you can minimize the potential risks associated with towing and protect your vehicle from harm.
Read more: Difference between Towing and Recovery
Wondering whether towing can harm your vehicle? The answer is yes, but don’t worry—it’s not all doom and gloom. By taking a few proactive measures to ensure your vehicle is prepared for the additional weight, you can hit the road without any problems.
In case your towing experience didn’t go as planned and you require auto repair, or if you’re planning a road trip and need emergency car towing service your vehicle beforehand, we’ve got you covered.