Top Towing Tips for Trouble-free Travel
Every year thousands of South African take to the roads with their caravans in tow. Whether you’re towing a boat, a horse box or a houseful of furniture, towing presents challenges to both the driver and the tow vehicle. Here are some top tips on how to keep your travel trouble free.
Towing season is usually during the summer months with temperatures as high as 35 degrees C, may be more. Keeping your tow vehicle’s fluids cool is critical to keep the engine from overheating or worse. You may want to upgrade to a larger radiator to keep those fluids cool.Engine temperatures can more easily and inexpensively be reduced by adding a coolant additive to your radiator. These products decrease the surface temperature of water in the radiator to improve heat transfer and therefore lower temperaturesAnother easy way to keep things cool is by upgrading motor oil. Premium synthetic motor oils typically have a lower coefficient of friction and better heat transfer than conventional motor oils.
Caravans have a tendency to load down the rear of a tow vehicle. As the vehicle rocks further back, the dynamics of the vehicle change. This means that the tow vehicle will not stop, steer, and handle as well as it does when it’s not towing something. Investing in overload springs, air bags and/or a weight distributing hitch will help the tow vehicle ride level; which will translate into a safer and better ride.
During the life of your engine, thousands of cubic meters of air will pass through the cylinders. Dust and other material in the engine can cause excessive wear and operating problems. It’s imperative that you keep air filters clean by regularly replacing them. To further enhance performance, you may want to consider upgrading to a high performance air filter or complete intake system. The relatively low cost of a high performance filter and ease of installation (about 5 minutes) makes good option
Don’t Go Bald or Flat
Whether towing or not, checking the condition of your tyres and tyre pressure is vital. Tyres that are under-inflated or over-inflated may wear out prematurely or potentially blow out and cause an accident. Ideally, tyres pressure should be checked every time you fill up your petrol tank. By keeping your tyres properly inflated, you’ll also help reduce fuel consumption and increase your safety while towing.
Don’t Strip (a gear)
Two components that take the most abuse and are most neglected in tow vehicles are the transmission and differential. In most cases, neither is adequately cooled and both undergo extreme pressure in towing conditions. Keeping the fluids cool is vital for a healthy transmission. The cheapest and easiest solution is upgrading fluids to high quality synthetics,
Consider Hardware and Software Upgrades
Aftermarket manufacturers produce a wide variety of parts from brakes to computer chips that can dramatically improve the performance of your tow vehicle and make towing easier. Upgrading brakes with a larger disc or better caliper will help slow or stop everything quicker. Premium brake pads that dissipate heat also improve stopping. Aftermarket exhaust systems increase exhaust flow and reduce back pressure for increased torque. Finally, engine management software that optimizes engine performance is available from a variety of manufacturers. Be sure to check how this impacts on warranties which apply to your vehicle.
Don’t Forget to Brush
Following good maintenance procedure is a lot like brushing your teeth. Failure to do so can cause a lot of pain and unnecessary expense. Checking all of the fluid levels, the air filter and regularly replace the fuel filter will keep the vital components clean and clear of debris. Cleaning windows and mirrors will reduce glare and make the trip a safer and easier for you and your eyes. It’s also a good time to consider adding caravan mirrors which dramatically improve rear-view visibility. And don’t forget to check your caravan’s brake fluid, electrical wiring and tyres. Make sure the lights work properly and everything is in working order.
Each of these seven tips will improve your towing experience and help ensure a trouble- free ride.
Managing DirectorRAC Driving Solutions