It’s a daunting experience towing something along, especially if you’re a beginner and even the most experienced people still have their moments.
Mike from Adventure Curated tells us the six things he wished he knew before he started towing.
Reducing Tyre Pressures
Tyre pressures matter. Lots. When off-road, especially in soft sand and mud, trailers can act somewhat like anchors. The wheels aren’t driven, and if the tyres are firm the trailer can really sink. Just like with your 4WD you’ll definitely be less likely to get stuck if you air down your trailer tyres too.
On corrugations, shock absorbers (or leaf springs) do some of the work but dropping tyre pressures will help absorb shock too. It will increase the lifespan of your camper/caravan and its components, and it will help to stop everything packed inside it being rattled to pieces.
Watching your weight
With all that extra space it’s easy to load up, but the extra weight can easily restrict the remote places that you can visit. On more challenging trips it’s worth considering leaving some luxuries at home to reduce weight and make travel more effortless.
Reversing is not as scary as you think
Reversing is actually pretty easy. If you're starting out I’d go someplace quiet, alone, and practice. Drive slowly, use small corrections, and trust the mirrors and you’ll have it mastered in no time. It’s worth practising a few simulated manoeuvres like 4WD track turnarounds or swinging a caravan into a busy caravan park bay.
In this episode of RV Daily’s Practical Guide to Modern Towing, they recommend having a good set of mirrors, so you can see both sides of the trailer. If your trailer is moving more to the driver’s side, then turn the wheel that way. This will move the van towards the passenger side and vice versa.
Check your connections
Double check your trailer connections regularly - hitches are often left without being locked in, hand brakes can be left on, jockey wheels are regularly left half stowed, and plugs with the wiring to control brakes and lights can become loose.
Trailers need servicing too. While loose wheel nuts, worn bearings or threadbare brake pads may put you off the road, leaking water tanks and dead batteries can really put a dampener on your holiday. Check out some other common trailer wiring faults.
Your brake controller is not set-and-forget
Contrary to popular belief, your electric brake controller is not a set-and-forget system. Even in Proportional mode you still need to adjust it every time you load the caravan or trailer. This way you will ensure your vehicle and trailer will pull-up evenly and smoothly. See how it works in the video below.
Not to mention, it also helps in emergency braking situations so it’s important the brakes are adjusted so you get the best stopping distance every time.
So, there you have it. Make sure that before you tow you have these tips in mind and you will become a pro in no time.