You just purchased your first RV and are ready to hit the road with it. However, are you sure you know exactly how to tow it and whether or not your vehicle can handle the job? You need to consider the weight of your new RV, your towing vehicle, and other factors to avoid problems later on.
The same goes for any vehicle you need to tow. The last thing you want is for whatever you’re towing to get loose and barrel down the road. You also want to avoid damaging it in transit.
Here’s your car towing guide and when to search for “car towing near me.”
Towing With Your Vehicle
Before you start towing using your working vehicle, you need to know whether or not each vehicle can handle it. Every truck has its own towing capacity that can vary widely within a class. It’s highly recommended that you never exceed 10% of the maximum, especially if you’re inexperienced at towing.
To know your vehicle’s towing capacity, you first need to find out the full GCVWR and curb weight. The Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating includes the weight of what you tow and everything inside the vehicle. The curb weight is the towing vehicle’s total weight.
Subtract the curb weight from the GCVWR to find out if you can safely tow another vehicle.
Next, how you set up the towed vehicle will depend on if it’s 2WD or 4WD.
A 2WD vehicle with FWD should use a tow dolly for the best results. One with RWD should have the driveshaft disengaged and put into neutral. Make sure to release the parking brake if it’s manual or unlock the drive axle if it’s automatic.
Flat towing is a good option for 4WD vehicles like RVs.
For a manual transmission, you need to disengage the transfer case and lockout hubs and transmission. An automatic transmission requires you to disengage the rear driveshaft. The latter will require a driveshaft coupler.
Finally, your vehicle requires a trailer hitch to tow anything.
Car Towing Methods
There are four main ways to tow a car using a working vehicle. You can use a dolly, a trailer, a tow bar, or a tow strap or chain. Which one is best for your specific situation will depend on the car being towed, the distance, and what roads you’ll use.
A dolly is an unpowered vehicle that connects to your truck. It goes underneath the front of the towed vehicle to elevate the front wheels off the ground. Since only the rear wheels touch the road, there’s less strain on the tow car.
These work best with front-wheel-drive vehicles, as the rear wheels can spin freely. You can only use a dolly if the tow vehicle weighs at least 750 pounds more than the other car. In addition, dollies have their own weight capacity that you can’t exceed.
These are the steps to use a dolly:
- Attach the dolly to the hitch ball
- Fasten the safety chains to the tow car
- Drive the towed car onto the dolly
- Secure it with straps
- Disconnect the driveshaft
A trailer is a more secure way to transport a car but requires a stronger tow vehicle. In this case, the vehicle goes onto a platform with its own wheels.
If you want to use one, you must:
- Connect the trailer to the trailer hitch
- Secure the safety chains on the trailer to the tow vehicle
- Drive the towed vehicle onto the trailer
- Put it in park
- Secure the car with tie-downs
A tow bar is one of the simpler options for towing a vehicle. This involves attaching the towed vehicle to the trailer hitch of the car in front of it. As a result, it remains on all four wheels.
The steps to using a tow bar are:
- Secure the brackets to the front of the towed car
- Use a wiring system to connect the brake lights and turn signals of both vehicles
- Secure the tow bar to both vehicles
Tow Strap or Chain
The last method is to use a tow strap, rope, or chain. All of these options are similar to using a tow bar, only the connection is less secure.
It’s not legal in every state due to the risk involved. However, something like a tow strap may work if you’re only moving the car down the road or in an off-road setting.
Car Towing Tips
Towing a vehicle is perfectly safe as long as you’ve done everything right and know what you’re doing. Making a mistake when towing may result in damage to the driveline of the towed vehicle or worse.
First, you’ll want to double-check that everything is connected to the best of your abilities. You should also make sure that you’re not over capacity.
Drive slower when towing a vehicle. The extra weight can make braking difficult, and you’ll need more space for turns. At the same time, avoid any sudden braking.
Make sure to use your mirrors and turn signals. You may not see other vehicles in your blind spot, and it’s necessary to tip them off if you’re making any big movements.
Finally, be cautious when changing lanes.
When to Call Car Towing Near Me
When in doubt, reach out to a professional towing service. They’re experts in this department and know what they’re doing.
A car towing firm is useful if you know your vehicle won’t be able to handle whatever you need to move. Some companies specifically offer long-distance towing, which can help save time.
And of course, it’s easier to call for a towing service if your car breaks down than relying on a friend to do it for you.
Handle Your Car Towing With Ease
There’s no need to search “car towing near me” as long as you have a strong enough truck and know how to do it yourself. Short-distance towing is easy with a tow bar or chain, but you’ll want something more secure for longer distances. However, a professional service may be needed if you don’t have the right tow vehicle for the job.
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