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TOWING WITHOUT A PICKUP
Pickups are commonly seen with hitches, bike carriers and towing RVs. However, even if you don’t have a truck, you can still bring your toys with you when you hit the road for a weekend trip. Here’s what you should know about towing while using your car.
Know your towing capacity
The first thing to be aware of is how much your car can tow. Before anything else, you need to know what your vehicle is capable of hauling. Here’s a rough breakdown:
- • Midsize and large SUV: typically rated for 5,000 lbs
- • Minivan and compact SUV: typically rated for 3,500 lbs
- • Subcompact SUV: typically rated for 2,000 lbs
- • Mid-size sedan: typically rated for 1,000lbs
Note that some compact cars, like the popular 2013 Mazda 3, is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds. And, while these are rough guidelines, you may be surprised by how much your car can tow. In most cases, it’s enough to haul a few bicycles, an ATV or a pop-up trailer.
Make sure your load is balanced
When towing with a smaller vehicle, it may happen that the weight put on the hitch by the trailer tongue is too high. This can happen even if the car is technically capable of towing the trailer’s contents. If this occurs, the front axle may lose contact with the ground and the rear axle could break. Make sure the weight is properly distributed to avoid this.
Adjust your driving
It’s a good idea to evaluate your driving and make adjustments. For instance, keep in mind you’ll need a longer stopping distance. Avoid tailgating and give yourself plenty of room. Abrupt stops could cause your cargo to surge forward and crush the back of your car. You’ll also need to get used to backing up and turning with your cargo.
Additionally, it’s important to make a habit of checking your engine’s temperature gauge. This is especially important if your car is close to its maximum towing capacity. An overheated engine could lead to trouble.
When making an itinerary for your trip, schedule frequent stops to refuel. Since your engine will be pulling a lot more weight than usual, you should also expect that your trip will incur higher fuel costs than what you’re used to.
Make sure your car is ready for the road
If you’re in the market for towing hitches or need to make sure yours is in shape for your upcoming trip, trust the experts at Hitch City. We’re always ready to help you. Call us today to learn more about our selection, or visit us in Mississauga, Barrie or Scarborough.