Pre-Towing Checklist For Your Trailer

Image of Mundie's Towing and Recovery light-duty tow truck parked in front of trees.

Is your trailer taking up space on your property? Now that summer has ended, it’s time to tuck your recreational vehicles in for a well-deserved winter rest. From camper trailers to RVs and boats, hauling these vehicles requires a variety of safety precautions. To keep you safe, here’s a guideline to help you navigate proper towing. Before you take off, check off the following steps to ensure you’re ready to hit the road:

1.    Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Both your tow vehicle and trailer should be regularly maintained. To reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and damage, conduct routine inspections and book regular services. This includes checking fluid levels, wiring, lights, and more. If not done right, towing can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. However, being diligent with your car’s health beforehand goes a long way in promoting smooth sailing.

2.    Check Your Tires

As the one point of contact between you and the road, the safety of your tires is of the utmost importance. Before towing your vehicle, check the following:

  • Tire Pressure. Poor inflation of your tires can affect the performance of your vehicle. From decreasing your gas mileage to causing sluggish steering, the correct tire pressure helps you get the most out of your vehicle. Optimal tire pressure varies from car to car; however, the recommended levels should be displayed on the sticker on the inside of the car door. Keep in mind, older vehicles may not have this so you may need to check the owner’s manual instead. Remember, overinflated car tires are just as dangerous as underinflated ones. Therefore, be sure to test and fill the tires when they’re cold as this displays the most accurate levels.
  • Tire Tread. The groove in your tires improves the traction of your vehicle.To avoid skidding off the road, test the depth of your tread before settling in for a tow. How can you do this from home? If you don’t have access to a tread depth gauge, you can test the tread with nothing more than a toonie. Here’s how:
  1. Place the outer edge of the toonie in your tire’s tread, right side up.  
  2. If the tread reaches the bears paws, your tires are in new condition and hardly worn.
  3. If your tread covers the silver area of the toonie, your tires are about 50% worn.
  4. When your tread reaches anywhere below this, such as only partially covering the letters, it’s time for new tires.

3.    Brakes and Suspension

A car that won’t start is frustrating; however, a car that won’t stop is life threatening. Before towing your trailer, check the brakes on your car and test the suspension. No matter if it’s a quick 20-minute drive or a 3-day road trip, your braking system needs to be up to the task when towing extra weight. Here’s how you can ensure the safety of your brakes:

  • Look at the wear/ thickness of the brake pads
  • Ensure the brake controller is properly setup if applicable
  • Check the levels and colour of the brake fluid

As for the suspension, if your vehicle is unusually bouncy, or is drifting and pulling while driving, your suspension system may be failing. Take your vehicle into a mechanic if you feel your car is driving rougher than usual.

4.    Tow Hitch

As the one and only connection between your tow vehicle and trailer, ensure that your tow hitch is in great condition. Check for signs of wear and tear such as rusting and cracking. On the coupling housing, you’ll want to ensure the adjustment screw is correctly set. This is what secures a tight fit between the tow-ball and the coupling.

What’s Next?

Towing is a big task. If done incorrectly, it can jeopardize the safety of you, your car, and other drivers. Oftentimes, an amateur tow gone wrong ends up costing the driver more in repair costs than hiring a tow truck company would. If you’re feeling uneasy about transporting your trailer or don’t have the time to check the above pre-tow protocols, Mundie’s Towing is here for you. Equipped with the tools and expertise to handle the task, our towing company can provide a safe, efficient, and timely tow. To learn more about our towing services, contact our team of towers today!