Bunge's Tire & Auto Elgin, IL

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December 01, 2017 @ 12:00am

http://bungestire.com/sites/bungestire.com/assets/images/blog-folder/CarAndBoat.jpgWe can’t all have a truck or heavy duty vehicle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your car to do what the big trucks do. Whether it’s taking your camper south to get away from winter weather or loading up presents to take to the kids, follow these tips to tow safely this winter.

The first thing to do is check your owner’s manual and make sure your vehicle is cleared to tow. Here, you’ll also find out how much weight your vehicle can safely handle. A word of advice: Your car is likely able to tow more than what’s listed in the manual but DO NOT go over the posted limit. While it may be possible to haul more, it can cause severe damage to many parts of your car, from your tires to your engine.

Next, check the laws in your area and make sure you’re compliant, especially with home-built trailers. (Your department of transportation or police department home page are good places to start research online.) Every trailer needs a wiring hookup to make sure your trailer conveys your taillights, brakes and turn signals to the drivers behind you. Some cars come with a hookup and some need to have one installed. Your manual will help figure this out.

Make sure your vehicle has a hitch. If not, hitches are easy to find online and in many stores. If possible, order a “No Drill” hitch. If you can find a “No Drill” solution, it makes installing the hitch a DIY project that won’t take much time. This is also the time to make sure your trailer’s wiring is hooked up properly and functional, and that all the connections between your car and the trailer are properly checked. (If you’re unsure, there are plenty of YouTube videos and how to guides online.)

If possible, take a short drive with your empty trailer to get used to the noises it makes; if you’ve never hauled a trailer before, it can sound like you’ve got a filing cabinet tied to the back of your car. Also, start thinking about how the trailer will change your driving. Two big surprises for new trailer haulers is needing more distance to stop their vehicles and needing more space when moving between lanes. A good place to experiment is an empty parking lot.

After you’ve loaded your trailer, but before you hit the open road, take some time to get used to how the trailer feels on your car and try your brakes out. Remember to take your turns a little wider and, again, allow for more stopping distance, especially if there’s snow on the roads.

Merry Christmas, and drive safe!

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