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5 Tips to get your Tow Vehicle in check

29/10/2021
Ford Ranger

Using your vehicle to tow a caravan, boat or trailer? Here are five tips to help you stay safe and legal!

Are you planning on using your vehicle to tow these holidays? Ensure your vehicle is up to the task and capable of towing your caravan, boat or trailer. Here are five tips for towing and frequently asked questions about towing.

Check your vehicle’s Towing Capacity & Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

The first thing you should do before you use your vehicle for towing is check its Towing Capacity and Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) rating. Each vehicle has a maximum Towing Capacity and GVM – the maximum legal weight of the vehicle as specified by the manufacturer.

These weights are listed in the owner’s manual of the vehicle and can often be found on a plaque near the driver’s door sill. It is important you don’t exceed your vehicle’s maximum Towing Capacity or GVM rating as this can void your insurance and is illegal.

Towing Capacity references the weight (Aggregate Trailer Mass) of the trailer you are towing, while GVM is important to consider as the Tow Ball Down Weight of the trailer is included in your GVM when towing a trailer. Tow Ball Down Weight is typically 10% of the weight of your trailer, but every application is different.

Check your vehicle is suitable for towing

If you’re towing heavy equipment you may need to consider upgrading your vehicle’s suspension to help maintain suspension control and a safe and comfortable ride when towing. A common issue with many vehicles, including four-wheel drives, is sagging in the rear when towing due to significant pressure on the rear suspension. This can also cause unloading of the front suspension causing poor handling and incorrect wheel alignment.

If you experience this when towing, you may want to consider upgrading your suspension. At Pedders we offer heavy duty springs and shock absorbers, AirAssist air suspension, plus Hayman Reese Tow Bars and towing aids that are engineered and certified.

Ford Ranger

Check your vehicle’s Tow Bar and its load ratings

Before you tow you should always check your Tow Bar is in good working condition and your trailer functions such as trailer lights and braking systems are operating correctly. Also ensure your trailer wheel bearings are not damaged and greased if required.

Towbar

You should also consider your Tow Bar load ratings as most tow bars have a specified maximum Tow Ball Down Weight rating. The Tow Ball Down Weight is the weight the trailer exerts on to the Tow Bar itself – all applications are different but this is typically 10% of the Aggregate Trailer Mass (the weight of the trailer when it is not connected to a vehicle).

Conduct a Brake, Steering & Suspension check

Once you are confident your vehicle is capable of towing your trailer and it meets the Towing Capacity, GVM and Tow Ball Down Weight requirements, it pays to ensure your vehicle’s vital brake, steering and suspension systems are working properly before you set off on that big trip.

At Pedders we offer a comprehensive $28 Brake, Steering & Suspension. For $28 you’ll receive a complete report on the condition of your vehicle’s undercar components and a no-obligation quote for any repairs suggested. The report includes brakes and brake pads, power steering system, bushes and bearings, and shock absorbers and springs.

Wheel alignment

After a Pedders $28 Brake, Steering & Suspension check you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing your vehicle is safe to tow.

Get your towing systems and capacity checked at your local Pedders store

If you’re unsure of your vehicle’s Towing Capacity or Tow Bar Down Weight ratings, check in with your local Pedders store – we’re here to help! We can also weigh your vehicle and trailer to ensure you stay legal and safely within your load ratings. Book a Pedders Tow & Load Assessment today.

Towing Frequently Asked Questions

How do you upgrade your Towing Capacity?

There is currently no Australian Federal Government-approved engineering test to increase vehicle Towing Capacity, hence there is no way to legally increase a vehicle’s Towing Capacity in Australia. Pedders offers a range of GVM+ Upgrade kits, these only increase the amount of payload weight that can be carried within the vehicle and a GVM upgrade does not increase Gross Combined Mass (GCM).

Is Air Suspension good for towing?

Air bag suspension is a great solution for vehicles used for towing as this product helps maintain a level ride while towing but the vehicle can still retain factory suspension geometry and ride comfort when it is not towing.

Our Pedders AirAssist air suspension kits are available for both leaf sprung utes and coil sprung 4×4 SUV vehicles. AirAssist features variable air assistance to suit the trailer weight and load on the tow vehicle to ensure optimal ride and handling while towing.

Wheel alignment

Should I get a Wheel Alignment before towing?

It is extremely important to ensure your vehicle is in good condition before towing and one of the cheapest and easiest things to maintain on your vehicle is its wheel alignment. A correct wheel alignment will improve your vehicle’s handling, reduce tyre wear and even increase fuel economy!

At Pedders we offer custom wheel alignments suited to vehicles used for towing purposes and vehicles with modified suspension setups.

What is the best type of suspension for towing and 4WDing?

At Pedders we pride ourselves on providing custom tailored solutions that are suited to the customer’s needs. There is no one product that is right for everyone, so for a towing solution that’s right for you, contact your nearest Pedders Suspension & Brakes store today.

https://www.pedders.com.au/wSbwf28LXGMexEgn