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Tow Capacity

The following information is for reference purposes only. Always follow your vehicle's handbook or check with your dealership before towing anything behind your vehicle.


Trailer brakes are not required unless total weight exceeds 2000kg. Our teardrop trailers do not exceed 400kg (900lbs).

Some vehicles also require an additional transmission oil cooler be added for towing.


This link displays a variety of many smaller vehicles and their tow weight capacity:

Consider the picture shown below. The receiver tube on your vehicle's hitch (A) may be higher than the trailer coupler (B) when the trailer is sitting level on level ground. When you tow, you want your trailer to be level so that your load is less likely to shift.

Towing Tips

4 x 8

5 x 8

Speedy traffic seems more tolerant of slower

18-wheelers than of slower RVs, which makes

courtesy an important safety factor for RV

owners because an irate driver trying to pass

can pose a serious safety threat. Frequent moni-

toring of rearview mirrors is necessary while

towing; when a vehicle is tailgating and trying

to pass, we should help by driving slightly to the

right to give the other driver a better view of the

road ahead, even if a passing opportunity does

not exist at the time. We should use turnouts

whenever possible and avoid following another

vehicle so closely that a vehicle overtaking from

the rear cannot return to the proper lane.




While tow-vehicle and trailer brakes are ade-

quate for most situations, care is necessary to

avoid overheating, which can lead to brake

fade. If brake fade occurs, it will likely be on

steep downgrades. Brake fade happens when

friction raises the temperature of brake pads

and linings to extremely high levels, resulting

in a temporary loss of braking.


The only known cure is prevention, such as

downshifting to a gear that is low enough to re-

tard speed sufficiently that brakes need not be

used more than occasionally. This way, enough

braking performance is reserved to make an

emergency stop, should it become necessary.

When braking on a grade is necessary, apply

the brakes intermittently, with moderate pressure,

and release the pedal to allow the brakes to cool.


The action of electric trailer brakes should

be apparent to the driver, and sufficient to

handle the trailer’s weight. The controller

should be adjusted so that maximum braking

action does not cause trailer-wheel lockup. Im-

proper controller adjustment is a major cause

of inadequate braking, so it’s wise to study

the manufacturer’s instructions. Travel-trailer

instability (fishtailing) should not occur in a

well-balanced, well-hitched combination, but if

it does, independent actuation of trailer brakes

usually will bring the trailer back into line. Ford,

GM and Dodge all offer factory-installed, fully

integrated brake controls on full-size pickups,

and these units all work very nicely and are

valuable safety components.

When towing with a diesel, an aftermarket

exhaust brake can be extremely benefi cial, and

many newer diesel trucks now offer fully inte-

grated exhaust-brake control.




All trailers require more space for turns, and

travel trailers follow the tow-vehicle track

more closely than do fi fth-wheels, which track

farther to the inside of a turn.

There is need for continual awareness, which

should eventually become second-nature after a

modest amount of on-the-road experience.


Fifth-wheel trailers are different to back

up than conventional trailers, and require

more practice for someone accustomed to

backing up a conventional trailer. A well-used

technique involves placing one’s hand at the

bottom of the steering wheel and moving it in

the same direction the trailer is intended to go.

It’s more effective with travel trailers than with

fi fth-wheels, which often require more turning

of the steering wheel.


Handheld two-way radios can allow an

assistant to more effectively relay backing

instructions to the driver. In addition, back-up

cameras help ease the diffi culty of hitching up

when a helper isn’t available.


Before each trip, it’s essential to check the

tires to ensure that infl ation pressures match

those molded on tire sidewalls (cold), or that

they are appropriate for your load (consult the

tire and vehicle load/infl ation tables). Also, be

sure to inspect all vehicle fl uids, per standard

maintenance procedure during heavy-duty-

vehicle-use cycles, and make sure trailer-wheel

lug nuts are tightened to factory specifi cations.


Trailering is a great way to explore the new

horizons and a great way to check out the

wonderful camping destinations that are avail-

able to owners of recreational trailers. And

always keep in mind that defensive driving will

pay off in safe travel.

                                                TRAILER LIFE 2014 TOWING GUIDE

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