Things to Check BEFORE You Go Out on the Highway
Common Questions & Answers About Towing
Choose the proper trailer for your boat! More damage can be done to a boat by the stress of road travel than by normal water operation. A boat hull is designed to be supported evenly by water. When transported on a trailer, your boat should be supported structurally as evenly across the hull as possible. This will allow for even distribution of the weight of the hull, engine and equipment. It should be long enough to support the whole length of the hull but short enough to allow the lower unit of the boat's engine to extend freely.
Rollers and bolsters must be kept in good condition to prevent scratching and gouging of the hull. Tie-downs and lower unit supports must be adjusted properly to prevent the boat from bouncing on the trailer. The bow eye on the boat should be secured with either rope, chain or turnbuckle in addition to the winch cable. Additional straps may be required across the beam of the boat. The capacity of the trailer should be greater than the combined weight of the boat, motor, and equipment. The tow vehicle must be capable to handling the weight of the trailer, boat, equipment, as well as weight of the passengers and equipment which will be carried inside. This may require that the tow vehicle may need to be specially equipped with an:
Engine of adequate power.
Transmission designed for towing.
Larger cooling systems for the engine and transmission.
Heavy duty brakes.
Load bearing hitch attached to the frame, not the bumper.
(Check your vehicle owners manual for specific information)
Check Before You Go Out On The Highway:
Allow more time to brake, accelerate, pass, and stop.
Remember the turning radius is also much greater, curbs and roadside barriers must be given a wide berth when negotiating corners.
Prior to operating on the road, practice turning, backing up, etc. on a level, open parking area.
Common Questions & Answers
Q: What does the Class rating on the towing equipment mean?
A: Towing equipment is rated according to the weight of the towed vehicle it is intended to be used on . Since the weight of towed vehicles vary widely, standard weight ranges were established to make it easier to match towing equipment to tow and towed vehicles. These standards were set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The different weight ranges are called Classes.
There are four (4) Classes of towing equipment.
1.Class I for towed vehicles up to 2,000 pounds in weight;
2.Class II for towed vehicles from 2,001-3,500 pounds;
3.Class III for vehicles from 3,501-5,000 pounds; and
4.Class IV for towed vehicles from 5,001-10,000 pounds.
The weights referred to are the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR. The GVWR is the maximum total weight of the trailer and its cargo. To determine which Class of equipment you need, you must know the loaded weight of the vehicle you are going to tow. When you are determining GVWR include the vehicle and everything you might carry in it. If you are borderline, go to the next higher Class. Most tow bars are rated for Class III or 5000-lbs GVWR.
Q: How can I determine the proper ball height for my tow bar?
A: Park your towed vehicle on a smooth flat surface. Attach your tow bar to your towed car. Hold the coupler parallel to the ground and measure from the ground to the center of the ball cavity. This will be the proper ball height for your tow vehicle.
Q: Why should I cross the safety cables when I install them?
A: Safety cables (or chains) should be installed in so that the cables form an "X" pattern under the tow bar. That is the cable that is hooked to the passenger's side of the tow vehicle should attach to the driver's of the towed vehicle and the cable hooked to the driver's side of the tow vehicle should be hooked to the passenger's side of the towed vehicle. The cables should also be wrapped around the tow bar legs once or twice between the two vehicles. The "X" pattern is so that in case the tow bar comes unhooked, the crossed cables will catch the tow bar before it hits the ground and causes the tow car to run over the tow bar and cause damage to the car and the tow bar. Wrapping the cables around the tow bar legs keeps the cables from dragging on the ground.