Towing

Information related to the towing of vehicles.

Give Me a Brake!

Surge BrakeOne would think that there was a weekend push, pull or drag sale on trailers. I once checked three of them on a Friday evening and found one that was too heavy for a surge brake, one that had no brakes functioning and a third that needed brakes but was not equipped with them.

The Tug Test

Trailer TowingChances are good that your trailer has been slumbering, forgotten, in the back yard over the winter. Spring is here so we'll just hook it up and go. A quick check in the rearview mirror, yes, it's following us. The tug test has been passed, we're good to continue.

Q&A - Tow Trucks Blocking Lanes

Q&A ImageQ: We know why they do it.... but what legal authority do break down vehicles have to block (cone off) a whole lane on the highway one when the stall is on the shoulder?

Q&A - Flat Towing a Vehicle

Q&A ImageI've looked at the regs for brakes on trailers, but I'm not sure how it would apply to flat towing a vehicle. My '92 Jeep weighs in around 3,000 lbs (spec curb weight is ‎2,855–3,241 lb (1,295–1,470 kg)). We'd be pulling it with a 2015 Yukon 4WD (rated towing weight 8200 lb/ 3719 kg, curb weight 5707 lb / 2588 kg).

The regs say:

VIDEO - Trailer Sway 101

video iconHave you ever had your trailer start to play wag the dog while you are driving along the highway? Chances are good that this happened due to the way that you loaded your trailer. Too much weight on the rear of a trailer is a recipe for trouble. This video shows why.

Q&A - Winter Tires on RV Trailers?

Q&A ImageI have a question about the requirement for snowflake/M+S tires on recreational vehicles October 1 to March 31.

Because the highway warning sign does not specifically picture travel trailers, I previously asked the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about what tires are required on travel trailers in winter. I was told that all tires on the travel trailer must be snowflake or M+S.

The Trailer Tug Test Revisited

Trailer TowingBack in 2004 I put tongue in cheek and wrote about the trailer tug test. You hook the trailer up, drive off and look in the rear view mirror, if it’s still following you, carry on! I found myself behind a couple of vehicles pulling trailers yesterday and wondered if their drivers had missed the fact that I was being facetious. Neither trailer had any functioning lights and I can only guess what else might have been overlooked.

The Importance of a Trailer Pre-Trip Inspection

Boat TrailerOne of the more eye-opening exercises that I used to conduct at this time of the year was to park my police vehicle at the brake check and wave in vehicles pulling boat trailers for a mechanical inspection. I had learned that boat trailers were often the most poorly maintained of all recreational trailers and there were often serious safety defects to be found. A simple pre-trip inspection by the driver would have found them easily and made sure that the trip would be a safe one.

Q&A - How Strong do my Safety Chains Have to be?

Q&A ImageI have a trailer that is rated at 10,000 lbs. It is a pintle hook setup and we have two safety chains. What size is required? We would never be carrying anything over 4000 lbs on the trailer.

Q&A - Brakes on Boat Trailers

Q&A ImageI have a McGregor sailboat on a trailer, and many yeard ago the brakes rusted out (salt water) and I had to have them taken out in order to move. The rest of the trailer is quite sound. I was informed by people in the industry that I could still tow the trailer as as the boat is quite light and my towing vehicle is quite heavy duty.

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