For the Long Haul
Horse trailer tips that will get you to your destination safely.
February 8, 2009
Are you ready for your first trip with your new trailer? Here are some helpful hauling and loading tips before going down the road.
- Pulling a trailer and cargo that is too heavy for your towing vehicle can result in serious problems for your tow vehicle and can be unsafe. People should consult their tow vehicle’s owners manual to determine its maximum towing capacity.
- The total weight of the trailer and its cargo must never exceed the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the trailer.
- Before towing, you should check the tires, wheels and lug nut tightness. Before each trip, be sure the tire pressure is at the value indicated on the certification label or VIN label.
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Make sure, too, that it's filled to the recommended cold inflation pressure as indicated on the certification label. The lug nuts should be tight and properly torqued. Plus, you should also make sure the breakaway switch is properly connected.
- Couple the trailer to the tow vehicle before loading cargo. Test all tail lights, brake lights, turn signals and any other lights to make sure they are functioning properly. Make sure the cargo is properly loaded, balanced and tied down (if applicable). It’s recommended that on long trips you stop every hour to make sure the coupler and cargo are secure.
- Be aware that when towing a trailer, you will experience decreased acceleration, increased stopping distance and increased turning radius, which means that you must make wider turns.
- The trailer will change how your tow vehicle handles, making it more sensitive to steering inputs and more likely to be pushed around in windy conditions.
- Use lower gear when driving down steep or long grades. Do not ride the brakes, as they can overheat and become ineffective.
- Be aware of your trailer height, especially when approaching bridges, roofed areas and around trees.
- Trailer owners should always consult their owners manuals for proper procedures and maintenance for their particular trailer.
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