Trailer towing:

Learn about towing trailers the right way with these tips.

Towing Trailers 101: what you need to know before you begin trailer towing.

The most valuable rule of thumb for towing trailers is to coordinate the weight capacities of the equipment so the entire rig is stable. The towing capacity of the vehicle and the hitch’s rated capacity must match or exceed the loaded trailer weight.

Another important factor when towing trailers is having the correct tongue weight. Too much and the tow vehicle will sag in the rear and become unbalanced; too little and the towing trailer will sway back and forth down the road. Good towing mirrors that extend past the trailer are a must. You cannot safely back up without them.

Advance Auto Parts is your towing supply center. We carry hitches, balls, wiring kits, mirrors and a complete line of towing accessories -- along with a full selection of other quality auto parts for your maintenance needs.

Why towing trailer safety is so critical:
Hooking up your boat, horse, car or watercraft trailer and heading off into the sunset is the American dream. Active lifestyles usually demand that you haul some sort of trailer behind your vehicle.

The problem is that it’s not as easy as it looks and, if you don’t know what you’re doing, towing trailers can be downright dangerous. However, the trailer towing tips presented here should make your next towing experience safe and enjoyable.

Enhance your safety with these important trailer towing tips.

A crucial factor in towing safely is matching the vehicle to the trailer and to the proper hitch. The following information should help accomplish that goal.

  1. GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating): the total allowable weight of a fully loaded vehicle, including driver, passengers, cargo and trailer tongue weight. Find out your vehicle’s GVWR before you start.
  2. GAWR (gross axle weight rating): the maximum weight a single axle is designed to safely carry. This rating is provided to prevent single-axle overloading. Overloading can cause serious axle and brake damage.
  3. Tow Rating: the manufacturer’s recommended towing capacity. Towing capacity for the same model may vary by engine size and axle ratio, so check your owner’s manual for the exact rating.
  4. GTWR (gross trailer weight rating): this figure is located on a metal tag on the trailer frame and is based on the allowable weight of the trailer and its cargo.
  5. GCWR (gross combined weight rating): total weight of the tow vehicle and everything in it, as well as the towing trailer and its contents.
  6. Factory hitches correspond with the vehicle’s tow rating and capabilities. If you’re starting from scratch, here are the parameters:
    • Class I: designed for trailer- and trailer-content-weights up to 2,000 pounds, a bumper mount or combination bumper/frame mount.
    • Class II: always frame-mounted and recommended for total trailer weights up to 3,500 pounds.
    • Class III: most commonly found on full-size light trucks for heavy duty towing up to 5,000 pounds of trailer weight.
    • Class IV: designed for towing trailer weights up to 7,500 pounds. Class IV hitches can handle up to 10,000 pounds of trailer weight with the addition of a weight-distributing system.

Increase your trailer towing safety by buying quality auto parts and accessories from Advance Auto Parts.