Haul Your RV Safely with These 3 Tips
Camping in RVs is very popular across the United States. When you factor in people who rent RVs, you can find 30 million RV enthusiasts around the country. For households that have people who are between 35 and 54 years old, more than 11% own their own RV. The next biggest group of American RV owners is people who are over 55 years old. At least 9.3% of these people own RVs. There are two kinds of RVs that are available. Some are driven and the others are towed. If you have an RV that you tow, there are ways to do that safely. From using the right equipment, such as the right trailer electric brake controller to knowing what you are doing, these tips will help you tow safely.
Know how everything weighs.
Knowing the weight of your entire RV and its attachments is important when you want to tow it someplace safely. You need to start with your vehicle’s tow rating. You can find this information in the owner’s manual. The next number you need to find is your vehicle’s gross combined weight rating (GCWR). This tells you how much overall weight your vehicle can handle. It includes the weight of the vehicle itself, anything you are towing, your cargo and the weight of the people and animals that are in the trailer and the vehicle. When you bring your friends and family, you need to factor in their weights. The GCWR is located on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. The United States government requires all car and truck manufacturers include this information in all vehicles they produce.
When you are calculating the weight of everything, do not forget to include the weight of the tongue. This is how much of the RV weight that will be supported by your hitch. You should have about 10% of the trailer weight be placed on the hitch. If you have too much weight placed on the tongue, you will have a hard time steering because a lot of weight will be removed from the front tires and will overload your rear suspension. If you do not have enough weight on the tongue, the RV will drift back and forth. Neither option is good.
Be careful with the hitch. You need the RV itself to remain level when you attach it to your truck or car. Your safety chains should be hooked in an X to reduce damage that occurs if the trailer becomes detached. Also make sure all of your lights are working.
You need electronic brakes.
Whenever you are driving or hauling anything, the brakes are incredibly important. For towing RVs, you need to make sure your trailer electric brake controller system is working at all times. The trailer electric brake controller should be installed in your car or truck that will be towing the RV. Some newer trucks are already equipped with an electric brake controller and in those cases, you do not need to get anything else. If you do have to purchase a new electric brake controller, you should not go with the cheapest one you can find. This is not the place to save money. You should splurge and spend what you need to get a proportional brake controller.
Trailer brake controllers need adjustments from time to time. Drive your vehicle with the RV attached at a speed of about 20 miles per hour. After doing this for a few minutes, bring the vehicle to a stop slowly. The bets thing to do is get the brakes just to the point where they are about to lock up. You can make changes to the grain as you are driving. Your trailer electric brake controller sweet spot is where you do not feel like your vehicle is doing all the work braking and that the trailer is not dragging too much on the vehicle.
You need wiggle room.
When you are towing any kind of trailer, you will need more space than you think you are going to need. Make sure you have enough space to brake. You also need more time. When you are towing a trailer, braking takes a lot more time than when you are just driving your vehicle alone.