Have you towed a Trailer before? Trailer Towing may require a skill all of it’s own. Do you remember the 1st experience where you thought that you actually didn’t have control of your vehicle? I do & it was rather frightening! I had owned & towed my 6×4 box trailer for a few years trouble free, this day I took my trailer to the timber yard to get some skirting boards (I was doing a home renovation) anyway they varied in length between 12 to 15ft. You do the calculations, 3ft out the front, 6ft over the trailer that’s 6ft out the back. I thought I’m not going far, put a red flag on the back & off I went. I got to this hill I had been over several times before & going down the hill the trailer started swaying including the car, the slower I tried to go the more it swayed to the point it was nearly rolling the tires off the rims. I could only straighten it by going faster. The thing was there was a roundabout at the bottom of the hill. To this day I still don’t know how I got out of it. So you have to have the right vehicle & trailer for the job at hand. This can also happen by Caravan & Boat Towing loaded incorrectly so just think about spreading the weight of your holiday goodies when packing the caravan for that long awaited Holiday.
“The Trailer Towing vehicle & hitch must be (by law) capable of handling safely at least 15% of the trailers gross weight (total weight of trailer including the contents). Fifth wheel trailers usually have on the trailer towing hitch up to 25% of the gross weight.”
When towing a Trailer or Caravan the Car must be legally capable of doing the job or your insurance company will wipe you like a bad dinner if you have an accident. So you may need a new car if yours isn’t big enough to do the job. Retailer Sales Outlets now have to by Law sell you a load equalizing hitch (at this point it’s not law to use them) which is mounted to the cars towbar under the tow ball & has bars going back along the A frame of the Trailer or Caravan. This alters the trailer’s actual tongue weight rather than the gross weight. This type of hitch has some real advantages & disadvantages because government studies show they can actually work too well by lightening the load on the rear wheels of the trailer towing vehicle reducing road traction. This kind of hitch should be selected carefully & the operation should be understood by the user, it should also be installed by professionals.
The Trailer should also be connected to the car with safety chains for obvious reasons & should have an electrical connection for the Tail, Brake & Indicator lights & more modern Caravans & Trailers have Electric Brake Systems.
Hint: In backing a Caravan or Trailer it’s easier to stick your head out the window & look back at where you’re reversing to than trying to do it in the mirrors where as in a Semi it’s easier to do it in the Mirrors