Towing Essentials

22 May 2017

Good caravanners know you can’t just hitch up and drive. There’s a few mechanical basics that all owners should be aware of, and know how to check. Keeping your trailer in good working order will give you peace of mind while you drive, and reduce the chance of mechanical mishap on the move.

Towbar – It’s the main connection between your car and your trailer, so it’s vital to keep it well maintained. It should be checked as part of the MOT annually, but it’s also worth inspecting the bracket regularly for any cracks, rust or loose bolts. Detachable towbars should be treated with extra care. If you’re not sure, get it looked at by a specialist.

Tyres – these are the only contact your vehicle has with the road. Ensuring you have the correct pressure and sufficient tread, and that your tyres aren’t worn, bulging or cracked should be a regular check, and certainly before any long journey. Look after your tyres and your drive will be smoother and safer.

Electrics – It’s the law that your car must have an audible or visual signal that the caravan indicators are working. You’ll need to check manually to make sure the brake lights are working. Check every time you set off, in case the cables aren’t connected properly.

Suspension – It’s important for both safety and comfort that the condition of both car and caravan suspension is good. Your caravan should tow level or with the nose slightly down, rather than up. You may need some form of suspension aid if the rear of the car sags at all.  You’ll need to check with a specialist for the best solution.

Mirrors – By law, your mirrors must give you a clear view to the rear and side of your trailer. If the view is obscured by the caravan, you’ll need to fit towing mirrors. Always make sure the mirrors are adjusted before you set off, and that you remove the extension mirrors when you uncouple the trailer.

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