Follow these 5 steps before towing anything behind your vehicle

Mark Williams of Cars.com goes over what you need to know to safely tow in this week's segment of Driving Smart.

So you've gone and done it. You’ve either bought a boat, a cool side-by-side or some other toy that you want to tow to your favorite spot. Here are the five most important things you need to know before you tow.

Number one: Know the maximum trailer weight of your tow vehicle and know how much your trailer can carry.

On the receiver hitch it should have what the maximum amount of trailer weight you can tow with that vehicle. If it's not there, then check your owner's manual. There should be a tag stamped right on the side of the trailer to let you know exactly the maximum weight that trailer can carry and what your maximum gross vehicle weight is for that trailer, meaning how much the trailer and its cargo weighs in total.

Number two: Make sure you have the right parts and pieces for the hook up.

You’re going to need either a factory installed or aftermarket receiver hitch, a ball mount, properly sized ball, safety chains, a pin to hold that unit together and very important, the electricals. 

Number three: Make sure you properly and safely hook up those parts and pieces correctly.

Number four: Check all electricals, signals and brake lights.

Number five: Understand that this vehicle, trailer and tow vehicle are going to drive completely differently than when the vehicle is empty.

Stopping distances are going to be longer. You need to set your mirrors so that you can see the wheels of your trailer and you need to make some wide arcs when you make right and left-hand turns. To do this safely, you’re going to have to be very careful and drive differently.

© 2017 Cars.com


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