Most of us who have trailer hitches and towing vehicles for their various applications, know about the towing myths that go around. Misconceptions are not an uncommon thing, and when it comes to towing safety, there are many false ideas. They can be found on the internet, tow hitch forums, or even at a simple discussion consisting of people with similar interest.
These myths are misleading, often harmful that may lead you to believe and apply the knowledge. It can often result in damaging your vehicle, caravan trailer, your tow hitch, or even risking your safety.
To prevent any unfortunate outcomes, we have shared 10 most common towing myths known to the communities and debunked them to find out the truths.
Top 10 Towing Myths You should Know
A good trailer hitch can offer you with a lot of adjustable benefits if you know the different uses of a tow hitch. While knowing is half the work, knowing the traditional misconceptions have the possibility to cloud your judgement.
Out of many myths regarding caravan tow hitch and trailer vehicles, we have picked out the most common ones in the following section.
1. Accelerating will reduce the trailer sway
Whenever you’re on the road with your caravan trailer towed to your vehicle, make sure you have adjusted the balances right. Check the tire pressure, weight distribution system so that your trailer will not sway during the journey for any reason. However, if your trailer does start to sway on the road, and you think that accelerating will fix this; stop thinking right away.
Swaying on the road with a towed vehicle is a very difficult-to-control situation, and adding more speed will only make it dangerous. Whoever advertised this myth, doesn’t know the simple fact that speed never assists you in controlling vehicles.
So if you start feeling that your line of cars is swaying, take off your foot from the accelerator and gently press the brake. Be very careful and decelerate until you have safely stopped. Before starting your journey again, check and fix whatever’s causing the balance to crack.
2. GVWR and GCWR are the same
Some of us think that terms like GVWR and GCWR have no big differences, and this is also a misconception. These acronyms have their own explanations, and they are created for towing safety. So if you have forgotten the expressions, let’s refresh your memory along with some added terminologies.
- GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. It indicates the maximum weight your vehicle can carry along with everything inside it.
- GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating. It’s the maximum weight capacity of the vehicle and trailer combined.
- GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating. It’s the maximum weight that can be placed upon a specific axle. It is set by the respected car’s manufacturer and should never be crossed.
- GTW: Gross Trailer Weight. It specifies the measure of a trailer’s weight.
- GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight. The total weight of a fully-loaded vehicle, including everything inside.
- GAW: Gross Axle Weight. The amount of weight an axle is carrying.
3. A weight distribution system will solve your towing problems
Adding a weight distribution system; also knows as a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH), can surely up the vehicle’s towing performance overall, but it’s not the ultimate solution to all of your problems. A weight distribution system is designed to point out existing imbalances between the vehicle and the trailer.
If your vehicle and trailer are uneven due to the payload they’re carrying; a WDH helps in redistributing the weight across the axles. It works by changing and relocating the point where trailer load is transferred to the vehicle through tow hitch. So if your car and caravan are imbalanced in these ways, try installing a weight distribution system to fix the issue.
4. A small trailer is easier for towing than the big ones
You’d think, wouldn’t you? For those who haven’t driven towed vehicles much, have the tendency to think that small caravan trailers are easier to control than the big ones because, well, they’re small. Aside from the scientific facts as to why it’s wrong, we’ll share from experience that smaller trailers are harder for towing.
Because they’re small and weighs less, they move around a lot which makes it difficult to steer in sharper angles and at high speed. So to make it easier with smaller trailers, try to take it as slow as possible without, of course, being late to your destination. The slowing strategy is applicable for big trailers as well, making it more secure to travel.
5. You don’t need trailer brakes if it weighs 750kg or less
It’s a known fact that a trailer can carry a maximum weight of 750kg before it needs its brakes. While it’s written on the book and has become a general perception, it’s not always true. Imagine if you are towing a trailer that has a weight capacity of less than 750kg and it’s loaded to its maximum content. If you don’t install trailer brake in this situation, it can surely get risky for you to travel. Trailer brakes are always a good idea whether you have a small or large caravan trailer.
6. Upgrading the trailer hitch increases the weight carrying capacity
Another common misconception is thinking that upgrading your trailer hitch will help you take more load and increase your caravan’s maximum weight carrying capacity. Caravan tow hitch has nothing to do with extending the capacity because the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is set by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
It’s a limit that can’t be exceeded by installing better hitches. However, upgrading to a good trailer hitch will let you maximise the carrying capacity assigned to your towing vehicle.
7. Tounge weight is always 10 per cent of the total towing weight
It’s an accepted fact that the trailer tongue is 10 per cent of the total weight being carried. It’s also a wrong concept because the tongue weight can vary from 10 to 15 per cent, and it is safe not to measure in a strict mathematical manner. However, it’s important to keep the weight of the trailer tongue between its recommended numbers. So if you are having problem in balancing your vehicle and trailer, try installing a weight distribution mechanism to distribute the tongue weight properly.
8. Added suspension components increase the payload
Again, it’s not possible to increase the maximum weight carrying capacity of your vehicle, even by adding aftermarket suspension products. Suspension component does help you to handle your towing vehicle better and control heavy payload easily. As a result, you can gain smooth access to your towing experience by stabilising the ride.
9. Trailer bearings don’t need any servicing
It’s a wrong idea; because trailer bearings are located outside among the elements. Since they are exposed to the outer environment, it can lead to rust and eventually breaking down. So you should regularly check, clean the bearings and apply grease once in a while to prevent friction. It will help you experience a smooth ride and reduce swaying.
10. A vehicle’s maximum towing capacity is always accurate
While we have stressed on the point that your vehicle’s maximum weight carrying capacity is limited and not to be messed with, here’s a pointer. Along with taking suggestions and knowing the capacity from your manufacturers, keep in mind that real-world situations matter. In a practical scenario, the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle can vary due to a number of influencers.
You may be leaving out small details in your car and trailer combined while calculating the weight. So instead of using all of your vehicle’s capability, try to keep a bit of excess weight left when you are riding with your trailer.
It’s essential to be able to tell apart the facts from the myths and for towing safety, it’s essential. Consider our suggestions and always try to learn from your towing experiences, so that you can set the safety measurements by yourself. Most importantly, use a quality caravan trailer hitch to ensure security and enjoy a smooth ride experience.