Top 10 Towing Questions
Towing is basically a science, you can’t go in without knowledge and expect success. The following questions are a guide of what you should know before deciding to tow. After each question, see if you are answering correctly in order to guarantee each trip is a safe trip.
1. Are you using the right hitch for your vehicle and towing needs?
Let’s start here. Do you have the right hitch for towing safe and level? BulletProof offers an adjustable drop hitch that allows you to have one hitch for all of your trailers based on a few measurements. The first thing you measured should have been your receiver tube opening. That should have given you one of three measurements; 2”, 2.5”, or 3”. Next you will want to measure the height from level ground to the bottom lip of that receiver tube opening. Both of these measurements can help you determine the amount of drop you will need. The last thing you want to consider besides the overall size of the hitch is the amount of weight you will be towing taking into account squatting. If your vehicle squats with the amount of weight you are generally towing, it is also important to make sure there is enough clearance (Minimum 10”) between the ground and the overall hitch size.
2.How much weight do you plan on towing?
After determining the measurements for a properly sized hitch, the next part of having a safe tow is making sure your hitch is capable of handling whatever you are towing. BulletProof Hitches are available in 3 different tow capacities based on the amount of weight that can be towed by your vehicle. The Medium Duty hitch is rated up to 14,000 pounds, the shank of this hitch features Box Steel Construction which makes it overall a lighter hitch. The Heavy Duty hitch is rated up to 22,000 pounds while the Extreme Duty hitch is rated up to 36,000 pounds; both the Heavy and Extreme Duty hitches have a solid steel shank. Although these hitches are rated to a specific weight, it is not recommended to exceed your truck's towing capacity.
3. What is your vehicle's towing capacity?
Now towing capacity was just mentioned, what does that mean? Bumper towing has a capacity that is determined by the type of truck you own. Inside of the truck there is a sticker that will inform you of your truck's towing capacity. It is referring to how much weight you can safely pull behind your truck with a trailer. Towing more can strain your engine, transmission, and cause other damage to your truck. We don’t want that! The capacity of your truck might be different from your neighbors so make sure you know your own!
4. Does your vehicle have airbags?
No no, we are not talking about the kind of airbags that go off if you’ve been in an accident. If your truck has rear helper airbags, this helps eliminate a few common problems experienced while towing. If your truck has airbags, it will eliminate squat which will stop your hitch from bottoming out. This is KEY when choosing your hitch as you want to make sure your hitch gets low enough to your coupler to tow level without running any risk of bottoming out! Although not necessary, rear helper airbags are utilized to help lift up and level your vehicle when towing heavy loads. These airbags can be inflated or deflated to suit your requirements.
5. What size ball is required for your trailer coupler? 2”, 2-5 /16” or 1-7/8”?
So you know what hitch you need. You know how much you can tow, but HOW do you tow it? It is important to determine what size ball you need to fit within your trailer coupler properly. There are typically 3 different size couplers. BulletProof Hitches has all the options on our website. the standard sizes are 1-7/8”, 2”, or 2-5/16”. BulletProof Hitches come standard with a 2" & 2-5/16" dual ball. This is the typical size of most trailer couplers. Have a smaller trailer for your jet skis ? BulletProof Hitches also offers a 1-7/8” single ball mount! All of our dual balls are compatible with the 3 types of hitches stated before under Question 2. They are sold by their weight rating as well.
6. Do you have all the accessories that you need?
Accessories are the best way to customize your towing experience. If this is your first hitch, do you have a 3rd pin to connect your hitch to your receiver. If not, you need a locking pin or you are not secure. The BulletProof Locking Pin is a great partner for your BulletProof Hitch because it is rated to the same towing capacity of your hitch, has a universal fit, and makes your hitch theft proof. Towing a trailer with a loop? Definitely going to need a Pintle Hitch - BulletProof designed their own pintle attachment that transforms the dual ball set up into a pintle hitch allowing it to be one hitch to tow any of your trailers. Have a lifted truck and need a longer drop hitch but want no wobble, look no further than the Frame- Mounted Hitch Stabilizer Bars. For any job that may need an accessory BulletProof Hitches has you covered with over 20 accessories to fully customize your towing experience.
7. Do you have grease? Where do you put it?
Any metal on metal contact will create friction and cause wear over time, especially when towing heavy loads or frequent towing. Anti-Friction Grease comes with every BulletProof Hitch but is often overlooked as not being key to a better towing experience. Anti-Friction grease aids in reducing the metal of metal contact between the ball and the trailer coupler. To prevent surface rust and wear on your powder coat and hitch, it is recommended to apply a thin layer of BulletProof Anti-Friction grease to your dual ball prior to towing, every time you tow. It is also recommended to apply some inside of your trailer coupler as it will help with the friction and can make locking/unlocking your trailer coupler much easier.
8. Do you know the towing laws of your state?
Towing laws are not often universal and should be investigated by your state. Prior to towing in your state, you should familiarize yourself with these laws and confirm you have such things as safety chains, reflectors, and license plate lights. You should also confirm that your tail lights, turn signal lights, and brake lights are all functioning properly. You will want to make sure that you are fully prepared to tow in order to avoid the awkward interaction of an officer pulling you over because you have a light out.
9. Do you understand braking, reversing, parking?
Towing makes your vehicle much heavier, is everything going to be the same as when you are not towing a trailer? No, so you need to be prepared. Everything should be done much slower and with a higher sense of cautiousness. When you are braking, you need to allow yourself ample time and space as you are now braking with more wheels. When you are parking you need to consider if you are pulling into a spot, reversing, or having to find a location with enough space for you to park as well as potentially unhook if you are wanting to leave your trailer but not your tow vehicle. The most important thing to learn how to do and know how to do before towing, REVERSING. You will want to go MUCH slower than normal. You will want to remember that the trailer will move opposite of the way you are steering. Be sure to adjust your mirrors and ideally you will want to line yourself up so that it is not necessary to make lots of movements. Do not overcorrect and watch out for jackknifing!! Correcting is easiest when you pull forward instead of steering. This is incredibly important for camping/towing an RV or parking lots.
10. Are your hitch and trailer set up correctly?
It is always important to do an overall safety check prior to towing in order to reduce risks such as tire blowouts or trailer detachment while towing. There are plenty of ways to check and DOUBLE check that you have set up your truck, hitch, and trailer properly. Once you are lined up and have gotten the trailer coupler on top of the ball you need to attach the proper pins to make sure everything is connected correctly. The proper pins would attach the hitch to the receiver tube as well as the ball to the channel. The next step after that is to secure safety chains, crossed to create a cradle and make sure the chains do not touch the ground. You also should ensure the integrity of your trailer's breakaway cable. That is there in order to ensure the function of your brakes are in-sync with your trailer or in the case of a disconnection from the trailer that the trailer brakes will activate. This is important as you want as many possible ways to prevent damage to your trailer, tow vehicle, and other vehicles on the road. Once you connect the electrical connectors, test to make sure that all lights work the way they are supposed to, double check the brake lights work and both turn signals (this goes along with Question 9).
WHERE ARE YOU GOING NOW?
If you’ve been able to answer these questions or if you did learn something new, it is just about time for you to go on the road.