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.
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.