You bought a truck, and you are ready to tow. Well, maybe. How do you know? Here’s a quick guide to the things you need to consider before you hook up your trailer to your expensive truck.
How Much Does It Weigh
The first thing you need to know is how much does the trailer, boat or camper weigh. You need to combine everything you know to determine the weight of your load. So, a boat trailer includes the boat and the trailer. A camper includes its weight plus whatever you have loaded into it. A horse trailer includes the weight of the horses.
Once you wrap your head around that, you’ll make it your business to figure out the entire weight. Many people have ruined their trucks by towing too much weight. It is all about the math, whether we like it or not.
How Much Can It Tow
Obviously you can look at the manufacturer’s specifications to determine this. The question is: are you looking at the right data? Many trucks are sold under each brand name, but they don’t all represent the same towing capability. One person’s F150 can tow 6,500 pounds while another person’s F150 may tow 15,000 pounds.
As strong as they are, you can’t simply look up the stats for a Ford Super Duty and call it a day. You have to know everything about the truck. This includes the model year, the engine choice, and any trailering modifications. You can’t rely on what a salesperson told you two years ago. You have got to do the research and be absolutely sure what your truck is capable of.
What is the Tongue Weight
The tongue weight refers to how much pressure or weight can be placed on the trailer hitch. There are ways to adjust this in some cases. For instance, you can put heavier items in the front of your flatbed trailer if you need more weight up front. Since this isn’t always possible, you need to know the tricks to get the tongue weight right.
If there’s too little tongue weight, the load will probably sway too much from side to side. If there’s too much weight on the ball hitch, the rear will be too light and it may mean that you can’t keep it under control. This is the very definition of the term, balancing act. You’ve got to get the match right before you ever hit the road.
In addition to getting the load balanced correctly front to back, you need to make sure that it is balanced correctly side to side. Too much on either side will make the towing process unstable. Finally, you need to make sure everything is tied down. Sliding weight can also throw off the safety of the tow.
With proper precautions, you can travel with your boat, camper or other adventure gear safely. You’ll be sure that the only unexpected excitement will be of the happy kind.