5 Most Common Trailer Mistakes

There are some common mistakes that you must learn how to avoid while using a trailer to avoid unnecessary damage to your vehicle, or trailer. Here is a list, and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Calculating Actual Trailer Weight

Actual trailer weight is calculated after including the equipment loaded inside the trailer. Before you start towing, make sure you know where the closest available scale is to weigh the loaded trailer. Make sure the final weight is within the maximum weight mentioned by the manufacturer.

Mistake #2: Not Accounting For Actual Capacity of Tow Vehicle

Each tow vehicle has a trailer weight rating (TWR), which determines the maximum weight the vehicle can tow. You can find this out by checking with your dealer or factory, as well as learn how this can be upgraded. Don’t depend on the information on the website as it may be specific to an engine that you might not have. You will also need to add in the weight of the truck, including the people and equipment in it, to the loaded trailers weight. This combined figure should not go over the vehicle’s gross combination weight rating (GCWR).

Mistake #3: Overloading the Tow Vehicle or Trailer

It is important that you know the tow vehicle and trailer gross vehicle weight ratings, as well as the individual tow vehicle and trailer gross axle weight ratings. All of these can be determined by talking to your dealer or factory. You must also know the tire ratings, individually, as well as the trailer tongue weight. This allows you to determine whether or not your vehicle will be able to tow the load you need moved.

Mistake #4: Improper Setup

It is important that the coupling be setup properly. There are many things that can cause vehicle or trailer damage; such as the hitch ball sitting too high or too low, or the weight-distributing bars or sway controls being improperly adjusted. To determine that the trailer load is properly balanced, measure out the space between the bottom of the fender and the top of the tow vehicle’s front tires. Once the trailer is coupled, this space will increase, and you can then adjust the spring bars to get it back to the initial measurement.

Mistake #5: Not Following Road Protocol

The vehicle’s mirrors must be adjusted to the length of the trailer before getting on the road. Many car manufacturers offer extendable side mirrors which can be used in a case like this. Similarly, extra maintenance is required when towing heavy loads, so keep an eye on fluids, brakes as well as the engine lights.