Archive for the ‘towing capacity’ Tag

The 6 Worst Towing Mistakes

Summer is in full swing and that means roads full of vacationers towing their homes-away-from-home behind them. If you plan to be one of them, make sure to avoid these common towing mistakes — you’ll enjoy your trip much more and so will the people driving behind you.

1. Not knowing your ratings

Your tow vehicle (the vehicle doing the towing) can only carry and haul so much weight. Overloading your tow vehicle, trailer, or both can cause a whole host of problems like failing brakes, broken suspensions, overheated transmissions, or blown-out tires. None of these things make for happy campers, and some can be very dangerous.

Remember to look up your vehicle’s tow ratings before you attempt to tow anything and make sure your hitch system matches your vehicle’s towing specs. All of the following numbers need to be checked and complied with. Your tow vehicle’s specs are generally listed in your owner’s manual and on the sill of your driver’s-side door. Your trailer’s unloaded weight (along with its weight ratings) can be found on its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate.

Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): the weight limit for your vehicle (including the vehicle itself plus passengers, cargo, and accessories).

Gross combination weight rating (GCWR): the maximum weight of the tow vehicle plus the loaded trailer, equipment, passengers, fuel, and anything else you plan to haul or carry.

Gross axle weight rating (GAWR): the amount of weight a single axle can safely bear. It’s important to know this value for both your tow vehicle and your trailer.

Towing capacity: the amount of weight your vehicle can pull.

Tongue weight: the amount of the trailer’s weight that is borne by the trailer hitch. Ideally, this should be about 10 percent of the total trailer weight. Too much tongue weight will make your vehicle’s steering less responsive. Too little and the trailer might sway. Tongue weight can be measured using a specialized scale (available at trailer supply shops).

If you’re having trouble estimating the combined weight of your trailer plus cargo, take the loaded trailer to a vehicle scale at a nearby weigh station or truck stop.

2. Not checking the local regulations

A ticket is nobody’s idea of a great vacation souvenir, so remember that towing laws and restrictions vary from state to state. While most states require taillights on your trailer and safety chains that connect the trailer to the tow vehicle, some states also require special braking equipment or additional side and rearview mirrors.

States also differ on their maximum towing speeds, the maximum trailer width, and the number of vehicles you’re allowed to tow. So be sure to know the laws, not just for your home state, but for any state you might pass through.

3. Forgetting to put on the brakes (and the wires)

The added weight of the trailer gives your vehicle extra momentum, which means it takes longer to reduce your speed. For this reason, many states require trailers over a certain weight (usually 1,500 lb.) to be equipped with a separate braking system. Trailer brakes not only improve control, but also will stop the trailer if it gets separated from the tow vehicle. The 2 types of trailer brakes are electronic (which are attached to a controller in the tow vehicle) and surge (independent hydraulic brakes that are activated by momentum). Not all jurisdictions allow surge brakes, so check your local laws.

Because cars behind you can’t see the lights on your tow vehicle, federal law requires trailers to be equipped with brake lights, taillights, turn signals, and reflectors. These are powered by a connector that hooks up to your vehicle’s electrical system. Make sure your wires are taut enough not to drag on the road, but loose enough not to disconnect during turns.

4. Loading your cargo improperly

If your trailer is off-balance, it will be difficult to control. Make sure cargo is distributed evenly, with about 60 percent of the total weight in front of the axle (but not too far forward). Secure cargo items to prevent them from shifting and keep the overall center of gravity low.

5. Forgetting you’re towing a trailer

No matter how strong or nimble your tow vehicle is, it’ll be less responsive once it has a trailer behind it. Since you won’t be able to accelerate, turn, or brake as fast, you’ll want to look further up the road and give yourself extra time and space to change lanes or slow down. It’s also a good idea to do some short practice drives before heading out on your big trip.

6. Not checking tire pressure

If you haven’t taken your trailer out for a while, there’s a good chance the tires need inflating. Driving a fully loaded trailer with underinflated tires is very dangerous — underinflated tires produce more friction, which can lead to blow-outs and possible rollovers. Be sure to check the tire pressure on both your tow vehicle and your trailer before you go (and while you’re at it, check the tires themselves for signs of wear).

Check your coverage capacity

One safety precaution you should always take is having adequate insurance. If your tow vehicle is insured, you can get basic liability coverage for your trailer under your auto policy. But travel trailer insurance offers much broader coverage, including total loss recovery, personal effects replacement, funds for lodging if your trailer is damaged, and even a full-timers package (if you live in your trailer year-round).

Read more at: http://blog.esurance.com/the-6-worst-towing-mistakes/#.VZ6jS2Dpjdm

Advertisements

Is Your Car Road Ready?

If your vacation plans include a road trip, the last thing you want is to have unexpected car trouble to leave you stranded at the side of the road, ruining all the fun. A pre-trip vehicle check is the best way to be car care aware and ensure that your car is ready to get you to your destination, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council recommends the following pre-trip checklist before hitting the road this summer:

–         Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.

–         Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.

–         Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

–         Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.

–         Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2014/05/is-your-car-road-ready-for-summer/

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Exceeds Expectations

Earlier this month, MotorTrend released its annual Truck of the Year Award and, to its own shock, gave the award to the 2014 Ram 1500, which also won Truck of the Year in 2013. Why did this announcement come as a surprise to the people at MotorTrend? Well, perhaps because the publication has not given the Truck of the Year Award to the same vehicle in back to back years since the award started in 1979.

Knowing this information, one should not be surprised that the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel received 8,000 orders between February 7 and February 10. That is, unless you are the manufacturers of said vehicle.

The 8,000 orders placed for the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has already fulfilled the allotment Chrysler established for the truck in the first quarter of 2014. The 8,000 orders for the EcoDiesel also represent more than 50 percent of the total orders for the 2014 Ram 1500, more than doubling the estimates by Chrysler. Ram Truck Brand President and CEO Reid Bigland had previously estimated that the EcoDiesel would account for approximately 30 percent of the total sales of the 2014 Ram 1500.

The surge in sales is most likely a direct result of the most recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel mileage test results for the truck which showed that the 2014 Ram 1500 gets 28 mpg on the highway, better than any other full-sized, half-ton pickup on the road – and even better than the top-rated small pickup.

“The Ram 1500 is the only half-ton truck available with a diesel, so we see this as incremental business by having the only truck that can offer best-in-class fuel economy of 28 MPG combined with 9,200 lbs. of towing capacity. It’s every truck manufacturer’s dream to have this kind of initial order demand for a product. Fuel economy is the No. 1 request of half-ton buyers and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel delivers without compromising capability,” stated Bigland.

Fortunately, consumer orders will receive priority over dealership orders. While Chrysler pegged the initial allotment at 8,000 orders, signs indicate that this number could increase if customer, not dealer, demand increases.

If interested, one can place an order for a 2014 Ram 1500 at any local Chrysler or Dodge dealer for the price of $24,200. However, if one wants the EcoDiesel engine, it will add another $2,850 to the total price.

As read on: http://www.webpronews.com/2014-ram-1500-ecodiesel-exceeds-expectations-2014-02

How to Choose the Right Vehicle for Towing Your RV

Selecting the right tow vehicle to tow your RV, especially one that is that is agreeable as a daily driver, can be a very difficult decision. And even if you begged, most dealers would not allow you to actually hook up your RV and test the combination out. Much of what you have to go by has to depend on the vehicle’s specifications, its towing capacity, and your driving impressions. Whether you have your heart set on a particular vehicle or not, there are still many choices to be made about the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, comfort and luxury features, and whether you want two or four-wheel drive.

Here are some important steps you should take when considering buying a vehicle to tow your RV.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1) Trailer weight: Know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the actual weight of your RV. You can find the GCWR of the RV on the weight placard. Never use the “dry” weight rating typically found in a brochure, as this is the weight of the RV with no options or any of your stuff loaded in to it.

To find the weight of your RV, visit a public scale and have it weighed. See the Related Article section below for instructions on how to do this.

2) Vehicle loading: Consider the weight to be carried in your vehicle. Every vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This is the maximum permissible weight of everything on board your vehicle, including the vehicle itself plus passengers, cargo, and fuel. Estimate the weight of all your camping gear, passengers, and luggage that is going to be in the vehicle, then add up the weights. You must also include the tongue or pin weight of your RV. This can add substantially to the vehicle’s total weight and put many vehicles over the permissible GVWR.

If you’ll be carrying close to the maximum GVWR while towing near the maximum towing weight, you should forget about that particular vehicle and go to something with more load and towing capacity.

3) Vehicle type: For comfortable, no-nonsense hauling, heavy duty trucks with towing packages and big diesel engines cannot be beat for towing the big 5th wheel. But for towing a smaller travel trailer or a pop-up camping trailer on the weekends, you don’t necessarily need a truck. You might be able to get by with a passenger vehicle, like an SUV or large sedan.

Check the vehicle’s manual for tow ratings. Be aware though, that seemingly similar vehicles (in power, size, and weight) can have quite different towing capacities, and some vehicles don’t allow towing at all.

4) Frame type: There are two type of frames in today’s vehicles: full-frame and unit-body. Full-frame vehicles and traditional trucks are the better choice for hauling very heavy loads because the tow hitch can be attached directly to the frame with trucks and full-frame SUVs, minimizing the strain placed on the body of the vehicle.

With a unit-body vehicle, there is not a traditional rail frame. The body and the chassis share the load together. The tow hitch is attached to the body or bumper in a unit-body vehicle. If you tow heavy loads regularly in a unit-body vehicle, you’re likely to find more creaks, rattles, and body integrity issues. If you just tow occasionally on weekends, it’s nothing to worry about.

5) Drive train: The undisputed choice for serious towing is rear-wheel drive. It offers better traction and stability compared to front-wheel drive. Truck-style four-wheel drive is not advised, as it should never be used while towing, unless you are in an emergency situation. All-wheel-drive systems are a mixed bag: some aid in towing, while others have a reduced towing capacity and are vulnerable to added wear or damage from towing.

If you’re thinking about the all-wheel-drive model, check that the towing capacity for the all-wheel-drive model is similar to the two-wheel-drive version. Some of the more sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems will change the proportion of torque going to the front and rear to compensate for any change in stability due to the RV. These systems are typically available on the car-like SUVs that are otherwise front-wheel drive.

6) Transmission: An automatic transmission is usually the best choice for towing. A manual is OK only for experienced, careful shifters. With an automatic, just remember a few precautions: make sure your vehicle has a transmission cooler, and remember to always disable overdrive to prevent excessive wear.

7) Engine type: Think torque rather than horsepower for towing. If the terrain permits, see how confident the vehicle can accelerate from a stop up a steep hill. Torque is what gets the load moving so in general, the more you have the better.

Modern turbo-diesels really excel in towing, and they’re a great choice when available due to their better mileage and long-term durability. They also maintain their power at higher altitudes where gas engines tend to lose power, as much as 3% power per 1000 feet of altitude. This assumes the gas engine is not turbo or supercharged.

Be aware that if you choose a smaller engine for economy, it might be so strained that it actually uses more fuel than the larger engine, not to mention all the extra engine wear.

8) Brakes: Most modern vehicles have assisted braking, known as ABS. Ensure that the vehicle you choose has ABS. It can really help in a panic situation, especially towing a large RV.

Some vehicles have an electronic trailer brake option which is incorporated into the vehicles braking system. This feature controls the brakes on the RV in relation to how much you are braking the vehicle. If the vehicle you are looking at has this option, get it!

9) Towing packages: Make sure you get a vehicle with the special towing package if it’s available. If it’s not, look at another vehicle.

The towing package should include an oil cooler, transmission fluid cooler, heavy-duty alternator and battery, higher-capacity rear springs, and possibly a stabilizer bar (or larger one than standard).

Trucks might also get a lower final drive ratio (a higher number means lower gearing which is desirable for towing), and heavy-duty differential. Don’t get a stripped-down version of the vehicle you want thinking to add all of these things as needed. It will be cost-prohibitive and likely void your warranty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tips & Warnings

Along with the vehicles GVWR is another important specification: the GCWR, or Gross Combined Weight Rating. This is the maximum combined weight the tow vehicle and the RV can weigh legally. Exceeding this can not only damage the tow vehicle, but may have insurance implications in the event of an accident.

When selecting your tow vehicle, make absolutely certain that you consider the tongue or pin weight of your RV when determining the payload you need. For example, if you have a vehicle that can carry 1500 lbs., 750 lbs. may be tongue weight from the RV, leaving 750 lbs. for cargo, including people, fuel, bikes, coolers, chairs, wood, generator, etc. This might not be enough reserve payload capacity for your needs.

CLICK ON THE BRAND NAME to Check out the TOWING CAPACITY on a CHRYSLERDODGE, JEEP or RAM Vehicle!

As read on: http://www.ehow.com/how_2094697_choose-right-vehicle-towing-rv.html#ixzz1yobcFwCi