Towing with a pickup truck

You would have come across truck advertisements boasting stunning feats of how well a pickup can tow. If you are looking to transport a car, then towing it with a pickup truck would be one of your best options. To tow a car safely, you need to first have the appropriate gear and the right towing equipment for the car being towed. Whether you are simply transporting the car across the town or the country, it is a must that you follow the correct procedure.

Here are some tips you can follow to tow flawlessly with a pickup truck.

Check the capacity of your pickup truck

Before you jump right to the task, you need to identify the maximum towing capacity of your pickup. You can refer to the specifications or the owner’s manual to check the car weight that you wish to tow. For safely towing the vehicle, the weight of the vehicle that you are towing should be less than what is specified as the maximum capacity for your truck model.

There are three terms you need to look for in your pickup truck and the vehicle you are towing.

  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR)
  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • Maximum payload

All vehicles come with GVWR specifications which combine the maximum payload and the weight of the unloaded vehicle. You can find this information on the label inside the driver’s door well. The maximum payload of the vehicle is also printed on the label. You can check your pickup truck’s GCWR in the owner’s manual or by looking online.

Once you know all the numbers, you can make informed decisions. Don’t forget to consider the weight of the passengers or cargo in the vehicle. make sure it doesn’t exceed the payload capacity specified for the vehicle. Manufacturers usually estimate the maximum towing capacity of a pickup truck only with a full tank of gas and a driver. If there are more people in the vehicle along with luggage, then this would increase the weight of the truck and at the same time lower the maximum towing capacity. you must remember that your vehicle and trailer weight cannot exceed the Gross combined weight rating.

Check if your pickup is equipped with all the accessories for towing

You need to first check if your pickup comes with a towing hitch or not. if yes, then inspect the specifications label to ensure that it is suitable for towing your car. If not, then you will have to invest in a bolt-on hitch that appropriately matches the weight.

Use a tow dolly for transporting front-wheel drive cars

If you need to tow front-wheel drive cars, then you will have to either buy or rent a tow dolly. You need to attach it to your pickup using a tow ball. For this, you need to make sure that the pickup and the dolly both are parked on a level surface. Don’t forget to engage the parking brake. It would be better if you have somebody to assist you as the front wheel of the car has to be driven onto the dolly. You can then use straps on the wheel stops for securing the car to the trailer. The transmission should be placed on neutral before towing.

Rent or invest in a car trailer

This is another great step you can follow while towing with a pickup truck. A car trailer will help you safely transport real-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars. Attach the tongue of the trailer to the tow ball for hooking the trailer to the pickup. Firstly, park both the pickup and the trailer on a leveled surface. Then drive the car slowly on the trailer using the ramps. Don’t forget to engage the emergency brake. You can then secure the car to the trailer with tie-down straps.

Inspect the brake system

Once you have followed all the above-mentioned steps, you need to then check the trailer brakes. If your truck comes with a trailer brake controller or electric brakes, then simply push the brake pedal and shift into Drive. First, you need to apply the brakes and release the tow vehicle brakes. You need to then let the vehicles roll forward. They will stop automatically after moving a few yards. These brakes don’t work immediately. If they don’t stop within a few yards, then you will have to inspect the wiring connections and also the settings on the brake controller.

Driving with a trailer

If you are driving with a trailer, then it requires you to be more attentive. If the trailer is appropriately connected and has been loaded properly, then driving shouldn’t be more stressful than a regular commute. Engage the tow/haul mode to set the engine and transmission parameters for towing. Make sure to take wide turns. This is because a trailer will cut corners sharper than the tow vehicle. The ability to turn sharply determines how well the trailer would cut a street corner or a curb.

You also need to consider the trailer width. Most trailers are wider than pickup trucks. This implies that there is less room for error while keeping the vehicle in the intended lane or while squeezing into small spaces. Make sure to adjust the side mirrors appropriately to increase visibility.

While ascending or descending hills, make sure to get into a lower gear early. if your vehicle has an automatic transmission system, then it should not be a problem. However, if your vehicle has a manual shift, then you need to be careful about it. This will help retain the speed while ascending and deliver enough engine braking during the descent. If the towing truck comes with an exhaust brake, then make sure to engage it during downhill driving. This will slow the vehicle without heating the truck.

Use the mirrors

It’s a must to rely on mirrors if you are towing your car with the help of your pickup truck. Make sure that the mirrors extend past the width of your trailer or else there will be larger blind spots that could create issues while making turns or changing lanes. This can make backing up a challenge. If your pickup truck doesn’t come up with wide mirrors, make sure to invest in one.

Backing up

While backing up, make sure to go slow. If you are too fast, then small movements of the steering wheel can cause the trailer to jackknife. If you can’t remember which way to turn, then place your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. If you want to turn the trailer to the right, then move your hand to the right. Practice in an open parking lot if you don’t have much experience towing a car with a pickup truck. The rule is, the longer the trailer, the slower would be the response to driver inputs.

In summary

Nothing quite matches a pickup truck if you want to tow a car with it. with their powerful engines, heavy-duty chassis, and powerful tow-haul modes, pickup trucks are designed with exceptional towing capacity. With developments in technology, trucks continue to get more and more capable. By following the above-mentioned tips, towing with a pickup truck would become a breeze.

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