Towing another car or truck is simple enough; all you need to do is attach the tow vehicle to the towed vehicle, and you’re on your way. In most cases, you can do it with everyday car tools you can find anywhere. However, when it comes to larger vehicles (RVs, boats, tractors), things can get a bit more complicated. You need to account for safety and other factors, such as the weight of your towed vehicle and whether or not you need special towing equipment.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about towing a large vehicle, from the basics of attaching it to your tow vehicle and hitting the road to figuring out the best equipment for the job.
1. Prerequisites for Towing a Vehicle
Before you get started, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, your tow vehicle should be powerful enough to handle the weight of the towed object, plus any cargo or people that might be inside the tow vehicle.
Generally, most trucks can tow anything up to 5,000 pounds, while cars usually top out at 2,000 pounds. Anything over 5,000 pounds should be towed with a commercial-grade vehicle or trailer. You must also ensure that the hitch on your tow vehicle is rated to handle the weight of what you’re towing. If it isn’t, you’ll need to replace it with one that can. To check what your tow vehicle is capable of, consult the manufacturer or the owner’s manual. A few tools to have on hand for towing a vehicle include:
- Tow strap
- Ratchet straps
- Hitch ball and hitch lock
- Safety chains
- Trailer (if needed)
Without these things, you probably won’t be able to properly tow your vehicle. You can buy them at most auto parts stores or online.
2. What Vehicle Will You Be Towing?
You first need to consider what type of vehicle you’ll be towing. This will determine what kind of tow vehicle you need and the type of hitch and hookup that’s right for the job. If you plan to tow a trailer, camper, or boat, you’ll need a heavy-duty tow vehicle with plenty of power to handle the weight. You also have to consider whether you’ll be towing in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive—make sure your tow vehicle can handle either option.
In the case of most large vehicles, you’ll need a vehicle (a truck or SUV) that’s capable of towing the weight. You’ll also need to check with your tow vehicle’s manufacturer for any restrictions on towing capacity. In some cases, a Jeep Wrangler can tow up to 3,500 lbs. If you plan to tow a larger vehicle, such as an RV or boat, you’ll definitely need a truck with more power and capacity.
3. Choosing the Right Towing Tools and Materials
The hitch is the most important part of towing any vehicle. You need a hitch that’s both strong enough and compatible with your tow vehicle and towed vehicle. In most cases, you’ll need a Class III or higher hitch; these are rated for 3,500 lbs or more.
For heavier-duty towing, you’ll need a weight distribution hitch. This type of hitch will help distribute the load on your tow vehicle more evenly, making it safer and easier to drive. You also need to ensure that your ball mount is rated for the weight of your towed vehicle. If you’re using an aftermarket or homemade ball mount, make sure it’s rated for the proper weight.
For towing large vehicles, you’ll probably need to use a trailer, which is a piece of equipment designed to make it easier to tow large vehicles. Trailers, like hitches, come in different sizes and are rated for different weights, so make sure you get the right one for your vehicle. Check out this website for more information about buying the right trailer for your towing job.
4. Safety Precautions
Safety should always be your number one priority when towing a vehicle, regardless of size. Make sure you take the necessary precautions to ensure that your load is secure and safe on the road.
Inspect your connections and ensure they’re secure before you hit the road. Check that the tow vehicle and towed vehicle are properly connected, and make sure all of your lights and reflectors are in working order. In addition, be aware of state laws regarding towing since they vary from state to state, so make sure you know what’s allowed in your area.
Your tow vehicle’s manufacturer may also provide safety tips for towing, so make sure you check their website or manual for more information. Finally, keep an eye on the speed limit, as you don’t want to exceed the maximum speed allowed for towing a large vehicle.
5. Hitting the Road
Once you’ve taken all of the necessary safety precautions, it’s time to hit the road. Before you take off, make sure your lights and signals are working properly, and practice driving in a low-traffic area to get used to the feeling of towing another vehicle.
It’s also a good idea to plan your route ahead to ensure you’re taking the most efficient route and staying within the speed limit. Route planning software can be a great tool for this, as it helps you calculate the best path to take and can also alert you of any potential problems on your route. Since you will be towing a heavy load, it’s also a good idea to plan extra time for your trip—that way, you won’t be rushing and can take your time driving.
Towing a large vehicle can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t done it before, but with the right tools and safety precautions, you can make sure your trip is safe and successful. Just remember to check all your connections, plan your route, and practice safe driving techniques, and you’ll be ready for the road.