5th Wheel & RV Trailer Insights

Tag: tow vehicle

Making the Right Choice of Trailer for Your Car

by on Nov.12, 2012, under Car Hauler, Car Trailer, Utility Trailers

It can be very difficult to choose just the right trailer, especially if you are looking for one that can also operate as a standalone driver. Very few dealers will allow you to hook up your trailer in order to test it out, so you are left with having to depending upon the vehicle’s specs, its towing capacity and your own impressions upon viewing it on the road or on the lot as the case may be.

Even after you choose the right car hauler for your needs you will need to make other decisions such as the engine, transmission, suspension, various comfort and luxury features and the type of drive you want—two- or four-wheel. Some of the more important things you will need to know are included here for your convenience.

Before you make a decision you need to know the weight of your car trailer. You should be able to find the gross weight rating of the trailer, but if you can’t find it or always have a specific payload, you can bring hook the trailer to your tow vehicle and weight it at the trailer weigh station at a truck stop.

You also need to think about the weight of the vehicle you will be towing or hauling. There is a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for every vehicle and this is the maximum permissible weight capability of that vehicle including the vehicle and everything else that is onboard such as the vehicle, passengers, cargo and fuel. You have to estimate the weight of everything you are going to take with you including passengers before you add the weight of the car trailer. If you discover you will be close to the maximum allowable weight when you are towing near the maximum towing weight, you should begin looking at something that has a higher load and towing capacity.

The other question that should come to mind is what kind of vehicle will you be using to tow: sedan, station wagon, minivan, SUV or pickup? For most situations a heavy-duty pickup with a towing package and diesel engine is sufficient. On the other hand if you are towing a small boat or pop-up trailer for weekend camping—or even the occasional use of a flatbed trailer for hauling trash—a truck is not necessarily a requirement. If you are towing less than 1000 pounds you can probably get by with a passenger vehicle (possibly even a compact), but you will need to check the vehicle’s tow rating. Be careful because even though vehicles may be similar in power size and weight, their towing capacities may be completely different if they are even existent at all. A flatbed trailer can be used for so many things.

If you are hauling very heavy loads, you want to stay with full-frame vehicles and traditional trucks but for lighter car trailers, you can certainly use a unit-body vehicle without a problem. If you regularly tow heavy loads in these types of trucks you will find more creaks, rattles and issues with body integrity; however, the occasional weekend jaunt is perfectly acceptable.

Another thing you need to decide is if you want front-, rear-, all- or four-wheel drive. The best choice for those who do a lot of towing is rear-wheel drive because it offers more traction and stability when compared to front-wheel drive. Truck-style four-wheel drive should never be used while you are towing because it adds extra weight. All-wheel drive systems can go either way—some help with towing while others tend to have reduced towing capacity and may even cause wear and damage because of towing.

Choosing an automatic transmission is usually the best choice for towing. If the person operating the car hauler or towing vehicle is experienced with shifting, a manual transmission is fine. If you’re using an automatic transmission it’s important to make sure you have a transmission cooler, have a gentle throttle foot when possible and always make sure to disengage overdrive in order to reduce any excessive wear.

The engine of your tow vehicle or car hauler should have plenty of low rpm torque—when it comes to towing you need to think torque instead of horsepower. Diesels are the best choice for towing because they achieve better mileage and are more durable. Try to avoid saving money by choosing a smaller engine: it may actually end up costing more money because the strain will cause it to use more fuel. There will also be extra engine wear.

A great deal of thought goes into buying the right trailer to tow or haul your car even if you choose a flatbed trailer. The key issue of importance is making sure you choose the trailer that is going to be the most beneficial for your needs at the most economical cost. Having a car hauler is great if you break down.

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