Whether you’re heading out in an RV or you’re making a purchase, there are times when you might need to tow a car. There are many ways of transporting a vehicle from one location to another without driving it, but there are a few important things to know about towing a car to prevent damage and accidents.
One of the most important things to know about towing a car is how much the tow vehicle can handle. Every vehicle on the road has a manufacturer designated towing limit and it’s vital that you follow it. You’ll also need to know exactly how much the car weighs – never assume that your truck can handle a full-size car without checking the weight. Doing so could result in damage to the tow vehicle.
You will also need to know whether the car you’re towing is front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. When towing, you have to keep the drive wheels off the ground if you don’t want to severely damage it. There are also a variety of additional accessories such as lube pumps and drive shaft couplers that can be installed if you can’t tow with the drive wheels off the ground. The manner in which you tow and the drive wheels will determine whether you need these additional towing devices.
There are a variety of options available for towing a car. The simplest is loading it onto a flatbed trailer that is in good condition and properly connected. However, if that isn’t available, you can opt for a tow bar or tow dolly. A tow bar is a triangular set of bars that attach to both vehicles. All four wheels are left on the ground, which means additional accessories will be needed. A tow dolly lifts the front tires off the ground, making it a good option for front-wheel drive vehicles.
Know the Laws
You will need to make sure you understand the laws regarding towing cars in the state or states in which you will be traveling. Towing laws vary by state, and some are much stricter than others with light, breakaway brake, license class and weight requirements. You won’t be able to use the excuse you didn’t know either, and citations related to improper towing can be high.
You should always find an empty parking lot in which to practice towing a car. Spend time pulling forward, backing up and turning to familiarize yourself with the differences in driving without towing.
If you need assistance with installing towing components or making sure the tow vehicle is ready for the job, contact YourMechanic.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Towing a Car and was authored by Valerie Johnston.