Gears and Gasoline: Tips for Towing

How do you know if the weight is distributed correctly? Do you have the correct connections?

YouTube influencers Gears and Gasoline create videos focused around the modification scene in the car industry, racing, road trips and many other car-related videos. Watch their informative video to learn about weight distribution, towing accessories and tips for towing race cars (or other heavy loads).

A few tips from the the video:

  • Make sure that you have the correct electric hookup and a brake controller.
  • If you are towing greater than 5,000 pounds then you should purchase a weight distribution hitch.
  • Tongue weight should be 10-15% of the total trailer weight.
  • Make sure that your brakes, pads and rotors are in good condition as towing adds additional stress on the braking system.
  • A transmission cooler is good to have as the temperature can get hotter due to the extra weight on the transmission
  • If you have a wider trailer, you should consider a mirror extension

More Helpful Towing Tips (even if you aren't towing a race car):

Check the tires

Even if you're in the habit of regularly inspecting the tires on your vehicle, it can be really easy to forget about the ones on the trailer. Nothing will wreck a trip quicker than a trailer with a blown tire, so inspect them for condition, tread depth, foreign objects and proper inflation. That last one is especially important — an under-inflated tire means excessive rolling resistance and heat buildup, which can soon lead to a shredded tire on a loaded-down trailer. And if that's the inside tire on a dual-wheel setup, well... you know.

Know your vehicle's towing capacity

That means tow something that's quite a bit lighter than that max towing capacity. Otherwise, you're putting your car or truck's brakes, transmission, engine and frame under a lot of stress. This is especially true if you're going to be negotiating hills; there's nothing like driving downhill with a heavy trailer and overheated brakes and transmission to make you reconsider your choices. It's not just for your vehicle, it's for the safety of everyone else on the road with you.

Double and triple check everything

The turn signals, lights, safety chains, brakes, the cargo that's on the trailer, everything.

Keep your speed down

Of course it's tempting to open up the throttle and make better time, but don't do it. Higher speeds means more fuel, more stress on your vehicle and more heat buildup from the tires. Worse, it's unsafe due to longer stopping distances and can lead to the trailer swaying, reducing your control. Just leave a little early, allow more time for the trip, stay in the right lane and take your sweet time. You'll get there.

Service your vehicle

Can't stress this enough. That means make sure you've got fresh oil (synthetic is best), your tires are good, your brakes are good, your cooling system is good, you've got plenty of friction material on your brake pads and your trailer brake system is working 100% fine. Remember that heat is the enemy of any automatic transmission, and you may want to consider installing a transmission cooler if you expect to do a lot of towing. These devices look like a small radiator, with loops of aluminum tubing and fins to dissipate heat, and are not terribly difficult to install. They can make all the difference in a transmission's life expectancy if you're going to tow a trailer.

Got any other suggestions about towing? Let's hear them!

Last updated November 10, 2020