The pandemic has changed the way we travel. But nowadays, a lot of people are planning to head outdoors and enjoy the sceneries. Some people want to go off-grid into the backcountry, while others prefer a more proper RV with all the comforts of home.
Safety for you and your passengers must always be the first on your mind when you haul a trailer. A massive weight is moving down the road whenever you do it. Exceeding the towing capacity of your vehicle is a dangerous gamble because it reduces the steering and braking control.
Do not push the limit too far so you will not end up calling a tow service to take away your totaled rig. Here are some solutions on how to improve the towing performance of your truck.
Checking the engine capability
When it comes to towing, the engine power of your vehicle plays a huge part. It is crucial to have higher torque because that provides power when you tow something behind the pickup.
You can ditch the old radiator and replace it with a bigger one. If you put new engine oil and new lubricant for the transmission, that can help when you haul larger loads. Putting more strain on the engine will result in more heat. Your pickup is more likely to overheat, break down, or blow its transmission. The bigger radiator will not increase the towing capacity of your truck but that will help the engine cool down faster.
However, you cannot just focus solely on the peak horsepower of your truck. If you only focus on that, it can affect its performance. It is significant to know that your vehicle is in perfect condition for hauling a trailer or fifth wheel.
Upgrading the truck accessories and parts
Even if you aren’t planning to max out the hauling potential of your pickup, it is better to be safe than sorry. These truck accessories and parts will make your hauling experience more comfortable, lessen the hassle, and make it safer for you and everyone else on the road.
- Upgrading the braking system
Every time you put a hefty load to your rig, the brake pads work harder to stop it. The brake pads and rotors are designed for stopping power, control, and balance — even when you tow a trailer or a heavy load on the truck bed is present. But if your rig often carries sizeable loads, the braking system may prematurely wear out. These operating conditions may exceed the limit of the stock braking components.
Certain parts of the braking system could be worn and torn if you notice that the brakes are not as efficient as before when you step on them. If it happens, that’s the time to replace or upgrade the brake parts. A new braking system will increase the stopping power of your vehicle. They can also lessen the risk of road accidents caused by brake failure.
- Upgrading the axles
If the axles of your truck aren’t able to handle the heftiness of the trailer, you’ll be having a big problem driving it. Even if the truck has more horsepower and torque, if it cannot bear the heaviness then you must not drive it further. Replacing the current axles with heavy-duty versions can be a solution.
For many auto buyers, the standard axle ratio gearing is good, especially for those who are not regularly carrying a hefty load or won’t be doing any heavy-duty work. For the towing system to accommodate more weight, upgrading the standard axle is possible. G2 Axle & Gear offers various products to replace the old worn-out parts of your suspension. However, it is one of the most expensive upgrades you will have to carry out.
This upgrade is not simple and you’ll need professionals to do the work. Upgrading the axles and differentials allows your vehicle to handle heavy-duty components with relative ease.
- Getting the right hitch
Towing is hard on any vehicle because it has to work harder for it to get moving. Make sure that your rig can handle a given load before you hit the road. It is unsafe to tow with an ill-equipped vehicle because it may result in several problems and expensive damages.
Using a nice hitch helps ease the burden on the suspension and allows you to pull bigger weight. Blue Ox Towing is one of the popular brands, not only for RV enthusiasts but also for truck owners. They offer a variety of equipment that is custom fit for specific needs and capacity.
Getting the right hitch is extremely important because it can greatly help your rig tow a larger trailer. A good weight distribution hitch system allocates the capacity of the trailer throughout the vehicle’s frame instead of the hitch receiver area only.
- Tie-downs and safety chains
If you have a diesel pickup, you may have a trailer sway control and stability control which can be beneficial if you’re going to hook it up on a trailer. You may also add safety equipment such as tie-down straps and safety chains. This equipment can help in ensuring that your truck-and-trailer combination will be stable as you drive.
Determining the capacity
Pulling anything over what the truck manufacturer recommends is risky. It’s not even safe to tow thousands of pounds that are over the limit of what your rig can pull. If what you want to tow is more than the specified weight capacity, you might need a different pickup.
The payload capacity and towing capacity are two different things. The payload is all about the carry, while the other is all about pull. These terms have been misunderstood often, so some drivers end up harming their trucks or cargo.
This refers to the maximum number of weight (in pounds) that you can safely add to the truck bed. The manufacturer calculates and posts it on the owner’s manual. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum total mass that your vehicle can handle.
You can also compute it by doing a little math:
Subtract the GVWR to the curb weight to get the payload capacity.
It refers to the mass (in pounds) that you can safely pull behind your truck with a trailer. The towing capacity of a pickup truck exceeds the payload capacity. The major weight rests on the trailer axles and not on the truck axles. The GCVWR is the maximum total ponderosity of your vehicle (including passengers and cargo, as well as dry weight). You may also find this in the owner’s manual.
Calculate it using the following formula:
Subtract the GCVWR to the curb weight to get the towing capacity.
It is important to know the load capacity of your truck before you hook up your trailer. If what you tow is more than the limit, then it can damage the engine or transmission of your vehicle. You don’t want to end up having the engine cylinder heads crack in the middle of nowhere. Not minding the capacity can be dangerous, especially if you go for long drives or drive up the trails.
You have to take note of these additional terms as well:
- Curb weight — Also called empty weight, it refers to the mass of the vehicle without the heft of the passengers’ or cargo. It is also how much the vehicle weighs when it is not in use or resting on the curb.
- Dry weight — This refers to the mass of the vehicle without any cargo or passengers. It’s the mass of the vehicle as shipped from the manufacturer without additional truck accessories, fluids, or dealer-installed options.
- Tongue weight (TW) — This refers to the static force that the trailer tongue exerts on the hitch ball. It is the mass that a fully loaded trailer exerts downward on the hitch ball of the vehicle used for towing. The TW should be between 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight (GTW).
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) — It is the actual heft of the fully-loaded trailer. The GTW includes the weight of the trailer and the heaviness of everything loaded onto it.
You must figure out the weight capacity that your pickup can tow. It will also help you in determining the limit of the stuff you want your vehicle to pull.
For first-time buyers of trailers or campers, you might be new to hauling too. It can be intimidating at first. But it does not have to because you can do some ways to improve your truck’s towing performance.
Traveling to the great outdoors has been hampered since the virus outbreak, not just in the United States but also around the world. Aside from considering your safety before you book a trip, the things mentioned here are what you can do to get your vehicle ready for the trip.