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Now we have your attention GoSee offers some thoughts on safe towing

August 05, 2014
Now we have your attention GoSee offers some thoughts on safe towing

Now we have your attention GoSee offers some thoughts on safe towing.

It is essential to take the time to read the Owners Manual for both the tow vehicle and the caravan.

This may be a War and Peace challenge, but the rewards the knowledge gained gives is worth the trouble.

Essential questions for safe towing:

For those considering a new tow vehicle two key questions need to be answered.

1. What is the Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of the loaded caravan to be towed? The official numbers will be on the caravan compliance plate.

2. Will the tow vehicle builder warranty that in the case of their vehicle the ATM does not exceed its rated towing capacity?

The application of ATM sorts out the pretenders when it comes to towing claims

What caravan will you tow?

What will it weigh loaded?

What will the loaded ball weight be?

Which Weight Distribution Hitch will you use?

Will using a WDH void the vehicle warranty?

The load that can be legally carried in a caravan is the difference between Tare and ATM. Subtract Tare from the ATM and that is the load-carrying capacity. Remember the more options and accessories added to a caravan, (which are not included in the Tare), the less load carrying capacity available for personal needs.

Be certain thatthe tow vehicle dealers fit-out provides the proper electrics, towbar fittings.

Buyers need a rated lock-pin which fits a WDH tongue.

Also serious shackles, properly fitted and placed break-away clip point and rated tow ball are essential to tow safely.

Unfortunately the rating of shackles for caravan towing is still a blurred area.

Neither ADR 62 Mechanical Connection between Vehicles or rule 158 of the Road Traffic (Vehicle Standards) Rules 1999 do any more than require shackles to be strong enough to meet the specified loads.

SA Police strongly urge the public to make the change to rated D shackles for peace of mind when towing and as part of a positive outlook on road safety.

Check that the towbar provided is rated Heavy Duty.

Have towing fit-out work done by a registered professional provider who understands what is required for modern caravans and towing safety.

Self-Levelling Suspension (SLS) does not transfer weight from the back to front wheels of a tow vehicle.

All it does is level the vehicle. Whatever loads are on the wheels remains the same, and it requires a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) to transfer weight from the back to front wheels.

The critical feature of Weight Distribution Systems is to push weight onto the front wheels to ensure normal contact with the front tyres for steering and braking.

GSA knows there are potential problems with fitting the right Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) to the particular caravan being towed.

This situation extends across towing choices from makers who claim they have tow vehicles with warranty backed towing ability.

GoSee is concerned that speculative opinion on Self Levelling Suspension (SLS) in conjunction with Weight Distribution Hitches (WDH) being aired now has the potential to hurt people.

GoSee's position is that a professional Weight Distribution Hitch is a significant benefit to handling and braking when towing. GSA bases that view on practical testing on a variety of caravans which can be seen in the Information Articles available on this website.

The GoSee staff have thousands of hours of towing experience in all conditions. We know what works.

We acknowledge that vehicle makers have the responsibility to warranty their specifications.

Unfortunately some vehicle makers are stretching their towing numbers and literally, sometimes,their vehicles too. Many vehicle builders are vague when it comes to what they will warranty iftheir vehicles are used for towing.Some, despite promoting their products as 'towing tug boats',will not stand by their warranty if safety towing aids like Weight Distribution Hitches (WDH) areused.

So tow vehicle maximum ball weight and axle loading are often the key warranty measures.

Editors Note: You are right we have tweaked the pictures of Geoff Carters Go-cart towing. But there is a serious message. As caravans get loaded with more and more comforts and warranty backed tow vehicles get fewer take care the tail does not wag the dog.

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