Posted on May 27, 2018
10 Towing Tips | 2018 Ram 1500 | Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton
Part of the true awesomeness of owning a Ram 1500 pickup is the ability to tow your toys and tools from A to B in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. If you’re new to the world of pickups, or if towing needs are a new addition to your work or play schedule, we have ten helpful tips to protect both you and your vehicle and nab the maximum performance your Ram 1500 is capable of.
1-Know Your Tow Capacity
Your owner’s manual will indicate the tow capacity for your particular vehicle. In other words, the weight you can safely tow without causing damage to your engine. Familiarize yourself with the following three terms. Base curb weight: how much your truck weighs, including fluids, a full gas task and any added-on equipment. Cargo weight: Passengers, cargo and add-on equipment like sunroofs. Allowable payload: This is the maximum weight your truck can carry including cargo and passengers.
2-Weight Distribution Is Key
Ever loaded a moving van only to hear several discouraging thuds as you round a turn? Proper cargo loading practices hold true as you prepare for a tow. The rule of thumb: load the heaviest cargo first, securing it with rope or bungee cords. Smaller pieces of cargo are best fitted in around the larger ones, reducing the possibility of shifting cargo in transit. Keep the center of gravity low, with about 60% of the weight placed toward the front. Balance the sides of the trailer too, to prevent flipping.
Towing introduces some drivers to the concept of using side mirrors as your primary tool for lane changes and seeing who/what is behind you. Whereas in a car we use the rear-view mirror more often, and the side mirrors for lane changes, a towing situation requires well-positioned side mirrors for added safety. Extended sideview mirrors give you a wider scope of vision, enhancing safety. Bigger and taller than regular sideview mirrors, they allow you to see traffic approaching from both the rear and side of the vehicle. If you’re pulling a trailer tall enough to block your rear view, these are essential.
Your trailer must have brake lights, signal lights and turn signals for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians who won’t be able to see the lights on the back of your truck during a tow. They must be fully synched with your vehicle so that when you brake, the brake lights on the trailer illuminate immediately.
Routine tire checks are important for every vehicle, but especially when you’re towing. Over- or under-inflated tires can cause the trailer to sway, increasing the risk of an accident. Proper tire pressure helps you to stop effectively. Check lug nuts to make sure they are not loose, and replace tires that are losing tread or wearing unevenly.
Make sure your brakes are synched with the brakes of the tow vehicle, which really should not be forced to do all of the work. Due to the added weight of the cargo, a collision is much more dangerous. Gentle braking, as opposed to hard, sudden braking, is also much more safe and effective during a tow.
7-Slow It Down
Speed equals sway when you’re towing, and sway is not what you want, so slow your speed for a safer tow. Other drivers will pass you, and that’s fine. A manageable speed allows for safer lane changes and overall control. The most important thing is to get you, your passengers and cargo safely to the destination of choice.
8-The Right Hitch
Some vehicles come equipped with a hitch, but the weight of the load you plan to haul determines which hitch is best for the task. There are two types of hitches: weight-carrying and weight-distributing. The first type is best for loads—trailer and cargo combined—of 3500 pounds or less. You’ll want a weight-distributing hitch for anything heavier. Going too high with the tongue weight, which is the downward pressure placed on the hitch ball, will cause the trailer and tow vehicle to sag. A hitch that is weight-distributing places the tongue weight evenly onto the axles, keeping both tow vehicle and trailer parallel.
If regular tows will be on deck for your truck, consider the demands on your vehicle’s internal systems. Increased weight equals increased heat, and the heat adds stress to the transmission. Your truck is working harder, so the oil circulating through it is hotter. A transmission cooler is a great investment, especially for automatic transmissions. A higher-capacity radiator or cooling fan is another excellent way to cool it all down to protect your truck during tows and avoid high-cost repairs down the line.
Just as with learning to drive, learning to tow, or using new tow equipment, requires practice. Some trial runs away from the sometimes-hectic conditions of streets and highways is a really good idea. Get comfortable with all of the possible moves you’ll need to make: braking backing up, easing over as you would during a lane change. Familiarizing yourself with mirrors, trailer style and ten perfect operational speed with cargo in back will increase confidence and safety. Empty parking lots or easily-accessible back roads with limited traffic are ideal places to practice.
It’s all about balance, safety and common sense. Whether you’re brand-new to using your Ram 1500 for towing or just want to up your game and protect your beloved vehicle, these tips will help. At Ontario Chrysler
, we want you to get the most out of your truck.