Top Mistakes to Avoid with RV Towing

Imagine yourself perched on a scenic overlook, breathing in the fresh mountain air. Your RV, your trusty home on wheels, brought you here. But before you hit the road and turn your vacation dream into reality, it’s crucial to ensure safe towing. Here’s how to avoid common mistakes that can turn your trip from tranquil to troublesome, even if you’re using an Andersen Hitch for weight distribution.

Hitching Up: The Foundation of Safe Towing

The hitch is the critical connection between your RV and tow vehicle. Skimp here, and you risk a major breakdown. First, ensure your hitch matches your RV’s weight. Tow vehicles come with different hitch classes, and using the wrong one can overload the system. Your owner’s manual will have the exact hitch class you need.

Once you have the right hitch, don’t just connect and go. Double-check everything. Inspect the hitch connection point for wear and tear. Make sure the safety chains are securely fastened with cross-chains to prevent them from dragging. Ensure all electrical connections are secure, including lights and brakes. Finally, check the tire pressure on both your RV and tow vehicle. Uneven pressure can affect handling and lead to blowouts.

Weight Distribution: Packing for a Balanced Ride

Packing your RV might seem straightforward, but proper weight distribution is essential for safe towing. Refer to your RV’s owner’s manual for weight limits and recommended loading procedures. Improper weight distribution can cause trailer sway, which feels like the RV is fishtailing behind you. This not only makes towing difficult but can also be dangerous.

Here’s the key: strive for a balanced load, with heavier items positioned towards the front of the RV. This helps maintain proper tongue weight, which is the downward pressure exerted by the hitch on the tow vehicle. The manual will specify the ideal tongue weight range.

Packing from front to back also keeps the center of gravity low. Think about a seesaw: the lower the center of gravity, the more stable it is. The same principle applies to your RV. A low center of gravity enhances handling and stability while towing.

Don’t forget to secure your cargo! Loose items become dangerous projectiles when you’re on the road. Use straps, tie-downs, and bungee cords to secure everything inside the RV, including cabinets and drawers.

Pre-Departure Safety Checks: A Few Minutes Can Save the Day

Before you hit the road, take a few minutes to perform essential safety checks. These might seem tedious, but they can prevent a roadside breakdown and ensure everyone’s safety.

While Andersen Hitches are designed to improve weight distribution and stability, it’s still important to perform these checks:

  • Brakes: Both your RV and tow vehicle’s brakes are paramount. Test them thoroughly, performing a full brake application at low speeds in a safe, controlled environment. If your RV has a breakaway system, ensure it’s functional according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A breakaway system is a safety mechanism that automatically applies the RV’s brakes if it becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle.
  • Lights: Next, check all the RV’s lights, including turn signals, brake lights, and running lights. Malfunctioning lights can lead to accidents, so ensure they’re all working properly.
  • Mirrors: Finally, adjust your towing mirrors. Standard car mirrors won’t provide adequate visibility while towing an RV. Properly adjusted towing mirrors eliminate blind spots and allow you to see what’s behind and beside your RV. Remember, blind spots are especially dangerous when towing, so having good visibility is crucial.

Hitting the Road: RV Towing Tips for a Smooth Ride with Andersen Hitches

The open road beckons, but don’t rush into it. Here are some tips for a smooth and safe towing experience:

  • Maintain Slower Speeds: Maintain a slower speed than you typically would, especially on curves and inclines. Towing an RV adds weight and length to your vehicle, affecting handling and braking. Slower speeds allow for more control and increased stopping distance.
  • Increase Following Distance: Increase your following distance from other vehicles. The extra weight of your RV means it will take longer to stop.
  • Be Wind Aware: Be aware of wind gusts. RVs have a high profile, making them susceptible to wind. Anticipate wind gusts and be prepared to adjust your steering accordingly. Sudden wind gusts can cause the RV to sway, so maintaining control is essential.
  • Take Frequent Breaks: Take frequent breaks. This allows you to check the RV and tow vehicle for any issues like overheating or uneven tire wear. It’s also a good opportunity to stretch your legs and stay alert behind the wheel. While you’re at it, use your breaks as an opportunity to recheck your towing mirrors and blind spots.
  • Smooth Operator: Avoid jerky movements while steering or braking. Our Hitches helps with stability, but gradual maneuvers are still important for a smooth ride and to prevent trailer sway.
  • Respect the Size: Remember, you’re driving a larger vehicle now. Take wider turns, be mindful of overhead clearances (especially with low bridges), and don’t attempt maneuvers you wouldn’t attempt in a car, like squeezing into tight spaces.

Safe Towing Sets the Stage for Adventure

By following these tips, you can avoid common RV towing mistakes and ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure. Andersen Hitches are a valuable tool for weight distribution, but remember, they are not a replacement for safe towing practices.

Contact Us Today

Do you have any questions about RV towing or using any Hitches? Our team of experts is here to help! Contact us today at Andersen Hitches.